Let me put another $0.02 into this.
We’re another team that had an elevator on the drawing board. Unfortunately our CAD team is a bit thin this year, and experience in CAD (more specifically mechanical engineering) is also a bit thin. Regardless, our CAD leader came up with a number of plausible multi-stage elevator designs, but under review each one showed some not insignificant flaws. He iterated the designs and we were probably within a week or maybe two (too long, but that’s another discussion) of fixing and going to build with it.
Then this came along. It demonstrates a number of solutions to problems we were having in our design. It’s relatively simple, and fairly easily modifiable.
We won’t be buying the kit (but huge thanks) as we’re going to be modifying it heavily for our game (elevator+climber+…) but it’s given us a great reference to work with in our design.
So, will this COTS part end up on our robot? Not exactly. Did it advance our capabilities? Yep. Did/will our students learn something by using it? Absolutely. Will they still be inspired? Yes.
Maybe next year if we need an elevator again, we’ll have more knowledge to design our own without a COTS element to take ideas from.