I wonder if FIRST might consider doing a choice of kitbots across the major vendors, eventually?
Or a tiered kitbot structure.
Get AM kitbot or $XXX AM voucher
Get REV kitbot or $XXX REV voucher
Get VEX kitbot or $XXX VEX voucher
Where the voucher cost is proportional to the relative prices of the kitbot.
SDS kitbot when?
I doubt it for multiple reasons.
#1 the logistics of dealing with shipping the correct number of each kit to each kickoff location.
#2 the AM kit is partially donated by other suppliers, namely Novaris donating the sheet metal and Gates donating the belts. How would FIRST support those other kits through donations equitably.
There is where equity gets thrown out the window and a real difficulty arises. For those that don’t want the kit many will likely choose based on the relative voucher values. It also means that FIRST would have a hard time budgeting as well as justifying giving team A a kit that cost FIRST $X, team B a kit that costs them $Y and team C a kit that costs them $Z.
Now we need to base the registration cost on the KOP the team selects. When you choose kit B there is a $X additional charge while kit C has a $Y additional charge. Or you get a flat rate voucher that you have to pick the vendor that you can use it at.
Do we really expect FIRST to have a website that can accommodate that and for Rookie teams to be able to make a properly informed decision as to which is the best kit for them and their unique situation?
Wild idea: ship the kit directly to teams in advance. We’ve already eliminated bag day; let them assemble the chassis early.
Ostensibly, the same way they sourced the donations for the original kitbot?
RT25 isn’t a standard belt size, so it would have to be chain (more expensive). Ditto with machined aluminum tube. I don’t think it’s impossible, to be clear, but it might be hard to fit in this ecosystem. Versa chassis is slightly easier to adapt.
I still want to see this stuff take a side impact too.
Where does the money come from to ship the kits individually to teams? Right now FedEx donates the LTL shipping to kickoff locations but if you want ship to home it is a charge to the team, which can be expensive. There is a reason that the AK team’s kit gets shipped to a PNW kickoff and then I ship it via Air Freight for pickup at the Anchorage airport, it saves them a significant amount of money.
Then there is the assemble chassis early thing. Are we telling teams the game earlier then? If you don’t know what the game is there is a possibility that the configuration you would want to use once you know what the game and field is.
But with different materials used how do you maintain equity? Novaris provides sheet metal ready for stamping into chassis pieces for the AM14U line. The REV kit uses extrusion so the needs would be different and will the company that does the extrusion be willing to loose their margin on the raw material and deal with the logistics of that donated material? How do you balance the different requirements of the different kits so we aren’t back at the point where there are upcharges based on the chosen kit?
Way more work for FIRST, that I don’t think they would want to deal with.
Given the cost of admission to the competition, I don’t feel like this should be a blocking concern. I’ve made this point in a number of threads before, but I think it is irresponsible that FIRST’s growth strategy for FRC involves teams that can barely afford to pay the entrance fee in the first place.
If you’re worried about that, don’t cut the framing members to length until you’re certain about the game task.
What kind of work does FIRST want to deal with, though?
R104 is not an evergreen rule. The robot sizing rules can (and likely will) be different for some games. What does a team do if they cut it down and then find out they could have built larger, or that their specific dimensions are illegal that year?
Don’t cut it down early. This doesn’t seem like a problem.
Then what’s the point of shipping it early? If we can’t cut it to size, then we can’t assemble it, so receiving it before kickoff is pointless.
You can assemble a kitbot without cutting the frame down, and then disassemble it and cut it later if you want. Or, if you are a confident team or a team with extra resources, you can cut it to size and use it.
What is the harm in shipping it early? I’ve never understood why it has to be distributed on kickoff. It seems like a self-imposed restriction that makes everything harder.
The harm is the poor rookie team that doesn’t know better and does something to it before kickoff, then finds their modifications make it unusable for the game. Now they have to shell out more money to fix that issue instead of spending on stuff they would actually need if we just gave them the kit at the same time we gave them the rules that impact it.
And I’ll add… if it matters that much to you to have a kit early, then go buy it yourself ahead of time and opt for the voucher instead. Remember, you can do as much modifications as you want, so long as the changes can be done with hand tools in an hour…
This goes back to my objection to FIRST’s overall growth strategy for FRC in general. This should not be an issue in the first place. The fact that it is an issue points to a critical unsustainability in program structure.
Except it’s not an issue right now! It’s only an issue if they make changes you’re calling for here… which might be why they haven’t made those changes.
Sure, it’s not an issue now - but it’s a single failure point for our hypothetical low-resource-rookie-team in a competition littered with hundreds of them. I don’t think this is the make-or-break point for rookie experience.
Any chance a mod could merge the recent conversation about changes to the KOP to a new thread? A fun conversation to have, but we’ve kinda drifted away from the topic of REV’s awesome new product launch here.
I mean, FIRST already sends an exact number of AM kitbots to each Kickoff. I imagine it wouldn’t be too much of an ask to get REV and Vex to load their kits onto a truck in the DFW area headed for Manchester once they have the numbers in.
Yes, that is a pretty big ask.
As the local volunteer who runs a small Kickoff, PLEASE NO different additional SKUs to keep track of and verify that each team has received the right number of.
Your wish is my command
I’m sure that REV and VEX would love to sell kits to FIRST and ship them wherever FIRST instructed.
It is before those kits get put on trucks and after they arrive at their initial destination that the work load increases.
While that choice of kits would likely be welcome by many teams as well as the companies that would be selling the kits to FIRST I just don’t see a direct benefit to FIRST and thus no compelling reason for FIRST to do what needs to be done to make it happen.