Teams with CNC how do you fill in BOM

While it is still fresh in your minds I wanted to ask teams that have access to CNC equipment as to how it is listed on the BOM. I’m looking into finding a CNC sponsor or at least a CNC capable machine shop to help with next years build. I know if the school owns a CNC and you build the part yourself you only have to list the raw material costs. I assume if a team sends work out to a machine shop to build parts the cost has to be included in the BOM, but if you have a sponsor with CNC equipment, do you have to list fair market value of the cost of the CNC time? Or just the raw material?



Raw Material only, if the shop is a sponsor. It’s all in the Cost Accounting rules.


If the shop is a sponsor of the team, raw material cost is the only thing on the BOM.
If the shop is not a sponsor of the team, materials+labor goes on the BOM, regardless of what the shop actually charges you (i.e., if they aren’t a sponsor but donate the time, you get to find the labor cost and add that in).

The blue boxes in section 4.3.5 describe how to account for the labor and material.

Of course, the rules may change by next year.

Thank you for the reply… I guess that is what is confusing me… if a shop donates time doesn’t that make them a sponsor? I KNOW it is written to imply there is a difference but what differentiates a sponsor from a donor? Doesn’t the team simply have to declare the shop a sponsor? As long as the shop doesn’t ask for payment in return for the service, doesn’t that make them a legitimate sponsor?
My real issue is how hard should I push for sponsorship with commitment from an employee of the machine shop. If I really push it with a specific group I have in mind, I risk having a one time deal vs a possible longer term if I let next year just be a “get acquainted” year…Still I am anxious as the number of “man hours” in a 6 week build is significantly more with the advantage of CNC. Anyway, it’s a tricky situation so I just want to understand the value added and what is allowed (at least at this snapshot) by FIRST.


Steve, I haven’t seen anyone ask anything like that this year, but I seem to recall similar questions being asked in past Q&As. The answer was exactly as you wrote, if the team calls a sponsor then they are one.

Obligatory “past rules != present rules” blah, blah, blah.

The difference although a small one is this. A shop that donates time is the same as a person who hands a check to the team during fundraising but takes nothing in return. A sponsor is one that has specific continuing ties to the team through mentorship and donations.

Right… that is what I thought. I mean I intend to be reasonable with the interpretation but from my reading the definition is flexible.

Hey Al, I see what you are saying and normally I wouldn’t call someone who simply donated money an active sponsor… still if a company gives you a check they normally would want to see their name on the robot as a sponsor. This is why I asked the question. I can read the rules but I learn more by finding out what is normal and customary from people with experience. What would be most telling is if FIRST has ever specifically told someone they could NOT list a company as a sponsor. I suspect that has never happened though so it seems to me that this is a matter of Gracious Professionalism as there are a whole host of interpretations.

Again thanks


Use your own judgement in this but I wouldn’t make the assumption that someone or a company that simply gave you money is NOT a sponsor.

You should try to nurture these relationships and do demos for them and invite them to events and other activities BUT if a company gives you $5000
They are a SPONSOR in my mind…no matter what.

That $$ figure can be any amount lower that you wish. Our team has probably 200 “sponsors” of different levels… we interact with all of them by sending them a picture and letter at the end of the season and inviting them to our competitions and parties during the season.

We have several different sponsorship levels from <250 to >4000
The all get different “benefits” from sponsoring us… the big ones get their name on the robot… smaller ones on the banner and smaller still get names on the back of our practice shirt.

All of them (from $5.00 to $5000) get acknowledgment from us at the end of the season that describes what we did with a big thank you and a personal note from one of the team members.

This is how you sustain by the way…

IMHO ANY company that donates work to the team… welding, machining, powder coating, etc etc is a sponsor…

If you have to PAY for that work…ie get welding done by a welder and pay him for the work… THEN it may not be a sponsor…depending on the discount you are given

Our team ALWAYS interacts with any shop that helps us out… we provide detailed drawings and often we visit the company and take a tour.

Take advantage of all of these things… your team and your community will be stronger for it.

good luck!!!

You simply say, “Thank you for your donation. May we list you as a sponsor on our [robot/shirts/website]?”

Our situation is a little different then most other teams. We acquired our own HURCO and treat it on the BOM just like you would a screw driver or drill, leave it off because it is just a tool.

Note the blue box below the rule:

Recognizing supporting companies as sponsors of, and members in, the team is encouraged - even if the involvement of the sponsor is solely through the donation of fabrication labor.

The way I read this, FIRST is explicitly encouraging you to count the donating shop as a sponsor. Even if all they do is donate a few hours of labor (or write you a check), you should include them on your sponsor banner/shirts/sign/website/etc, and invite them to the regional and other team events.