Not bagging entire robot? (Rule Change)

Okay so what my team is thinking is our whole robot is about 65lbs and we are probably going to push it to the very last second to get this done so their will be no time for powder coat. What we were thinking is with the recent rule change of being able to bring 45lbs of parts we could just bag our 20lbs drive base and then powder coat all of the other parts in the two weeks we have before our regional. Thoughts? Comments?

If everything that is fabricated/assembled weighs less than the allowance, you’re free to do it. You can get creative here by removing any parts that are (unmodified) COTS and putting them back on at the event. I’d be careful about getting into the situation where you spend all day Thursday assembling the robot, though.

I remember getting some nasty looks in 2009 when the entire upper half of our robot was within the allowance that year, and we were waiting to walk in with what looked like an entire robot :slight_smile:

(Usual caveats apply, re-check rulebook and Q&A for any items you intend to withhold)

Okay so we are a rookie team and I see COTS everywhere and I have looked into the rule book and can’t figure out what the heck it is. Would you elaborate a little bit to enlighten the rookie :]

I think a lot of teams will be doing this. Just make sure you can put together your robot extremely quickly. It looks like you guys are only attending 1 regional and you don’t want to spend the first 5 hours of Thursday putting your robot back in the same condition it used to be, then waiting for inspection. Inspection at the start of a regional is usually faster because everyone is still working to get their robots legal, so more inspectors will be free. If you have a robot that you just need to unbag then inspect, you’ll be able to get a lot more practice match time in.

You said you will need to push it to the very last second to get your robot completed which doesn’t sound like you have much time for practice. That Practice time could be a lot more valuable than the powder coat.

just my $.02

COTS is another way of saying off the shelf parts. For example, gearboxes, motors, pretty much anything you could buy. However, if you modify the part at all, it is no longer considered COTS. This could be as simple as putting a pinion gear on a motor.

Commercial Off-The-Shelf.

COTS means Commercial Off The Shelf, as in parts that you buy and put on your robot without any modification. This could include motors, pnumatic components, gearboxes (assuming you didn’t change them at all) and other pre-fabricated systems or components.

From FRC Game Manual Glossary

COTS: a “Commercial, Off-The-Shelf” COMPONENT or MECHANISM, in its unaltered, unmodified state. A COTS item must be a standard (i.e. not custom order) part commonly available from the VENDOR, available from a non-Team source, and available to all Teams for purchase.

Example 1: A Team orders two (2) ROBOT grippers from RoboHands Corp. and 
receives both items. They put one in their storeroom and plan to use it later.
 Into the other, they drill “lightening holes” to reduce weight. The first 
gripper is still classified as a COTS item, but the second gripper is now a 
FABRICATED ITEM, as it has been modified.

Example 2: A Team obtains openly available blueprints of a drive component 
commonly available from Wheels-R-Us Inc. and has local machine shop “We-Make-It, 
Inc.” manufacture a copy of the part for them. The produced part is NOT a COTS 
item, because it is not commonly carried as part of the standard stock of 
We-Make-It, Inc.

Example 3: A Team obtains openly available design drawings from a professional 
publication during the pre-season, and uses them to fabricate a gearbox for 
their ROBOT during the build period following Kickoff. The design drawings would 
be considered a COTS item, and may be used as “raw material” to fabricate the 
gearbox. The finished gearbox itself would be a FABRICATED ITEM, and not
 a COTS item.

Generally available software modules obtained from open sources (e.g. 
professional publications, commonly used FRC community-accessible web resources,
 industry source code repositories, etc.) that are not specifically affiliated 
with individual FRC Teams are considered COTS items.

When I say push it to the last second that is including what we are hoping to be a lot of drive practice so all of next week (we should have the bot done this weekend). We are also attending a practice event not this Sunday but next Sunday. I am not exactly worried about time taking to put the robot back together because it should not take a while the thing we are trying to avoid is having to re-wire the thing.

Let me remind everyone of the wording of R18:

At an Event, Teams may have access to a static set of FABRICATED ITEMS that shall not exceed 30 lbs to be used to repair and/or upgrade their ROBOT. Items made at an Event do not count towards this weight limit.

(Per the blog, 30 is now 45, but that has not been reflected in a team update yet, so the rule I copied still says 30. I expect this will be rectified in the next team update)

To me, this implies that an actual robot is bagged and brought in. Combine that with R1:

Each registered FRC team may enter only one (1) ROBOT into the 2014 FRC.

These two would seem to imply that, while you can bring in plenty of fabricated parts, you can’t bring in a whole robot outside of the bag. And for that, I would use the “impartial observer” rule - if your grandmother was standing there looking at it and says “what a nice robot you built!” then it’s a robot.

There was a similar issue a few years ago (2010) when it was bumped up to 65 lbs - some teams simply didn’t bag anything because their entire robot was under 65 lbs. We really don’t want to see teams walking in with a robot unbagged and some fabricated parts they want to attach to the robot bagged.

I would say: skip the powder coating. Bag a complete, intact, working robot. Show up Thursday, unbag it, and play every practice match you can, including standing in whenever you can. Pretty paint is nice, but a reliable working robot with lots of practice time is way nicer.

Why would you use this when there is a clear definition provided in the manual?

“ROBOT: an electromechanical assembly built by an FRC Team to perform specific tasks when competing in AERIAL ASSIST. It includes all of the basic systems required to be an active participant in the game: power, communications, control, mobility, and actuation. The implementation must obviously follow a design approach intended to play AERIAL ASSIST (e.g. a box of unassembled parts placed on the FIELD or a ROBOT designed to play a different game would not satisfy this definition).”

While grandmothers are pretty cool, I would be hesitant in letting them determine what is and is not a robot. :rolleyes:

I think you are going to see a lot of that. It is in the rules and, honestly, I see nothing wrong with it. During “snowmagedon” we bagged wheels and drive motors. Everything else was brought it. I remember a team just bagged a frame for Rebound Rumble. They added the COTS and other parts Thursday and had it running just after lunch.

Wait, aren’t wheels and drive motors both COTS… (note he is referring to when he was on 2106 on this one)

We had some interesting wheels that year that were not COTS. They were integrated into the motors. They were one unit and put them in the box together.

With the proliferation of VEX and AndyMark robot components, I wish they would change this rule. For most teams the only non-COTS parts are their frame and structures of their robot. A well rehearsed team could quite feasibly bring their entire robot to a competition unbagged and assemble it at the venue quite easily.

People seem to be missing an important piece of information here: you can bring 45 pounds of stuff in now, but that 45 pounds includes any ASSEMBLIES. The example of a motor with a pinion is an ASSEMBLY. That goes against your 45 pounds. So does your assembled super shifter, or your pretty piece of wood that is already cut out. In fact, the argument that a piece of aluminum that is cut to a specific length is a FABRICATED ITEM and would count is pretty valid too.

Let’s be fair here. There has been lots of snow, but remember that, at one time, we had to SHIP the robots in crates.:rolleyes:

If something is assembled from a kit of COTS items, it is a fabricated item and counts toward the withholding allowance. [Q257]

What COTS basically says is that you may not tamper with any off-the-shelf parts or it will become a fabricated part. This is typically used for the electronics because they don’t want you to be messing with your cRIO or other robot parts!
I don’t think COTS is preventing you from doing this. However, the inspectors have the ability to deem your part as dangerous if it holds back many pounds of force and can make you disable or remove that part, so be careful!

And, how the heck did you get the robot to weigh about 65 pounds? Do you just drive around and push the balls around? I think our drivetrain weighs 20-30 pounds by itself. With the electronics, we are already looking at another 10-20 pounds, making it 40-50 pounds right there. Then, you have your mechanisms. Typically, that will take up the rest of the weight!

Your 2 for 3. Because you can buy a Super Shifter already assembled, it doesn’t count towards the 45 as long as you haven’t attached anything to it (ie a sprocket or a robot).