The FRC Part Exchange

Has your team ever looked to buy a part, only to find that it out of stock? Maybe it was pneumatic wheels in 2016, or VersaPlanetaries, like, every year? Maybe your event is tomorrow, and you need a gear yesterday. Maybe you’re tight on cash, and looking for a blue PDB for a summer project. Or maybe your workshop is cluttered, and you’re looking for someone to give your spare energy chain to.

The FRC Part Exchange was created for such eventualities. The FRC Part Exchange is a craigslist-esque site that connects teams who need parts with teams that have parts. How you connect (FedEx, at an event, or a short drive) and how you pay (cash, other parts, or a smile from Woodie) is up to the teams.

Here’s the link. Please post any feedback you have.

I will tell you, my team in particular has a lot of stuff and not very much space to keep it in. This will certainly make the job of offloading some of it easier.

Now I notice you attached a handy dandy little powerpoint to the getting started page. I don’t know if it’s on my end or yours, but it doesn’t come down correctly. All the images are broken.

Also, it says only one account per team is required, but is more than one allowed?

TBH I had forgotten about the powerpoint entirely since we tried a soft release last year. I’ll probably have to update it quite a bit actually. Thanks for pointing that out.

The account is THE team account. Your team number is your username. In theory the lead mentor or other responsible person controls it exclusively.

Why just allow team accounts only? You could have team accounts and private accounts that are distinct for each other. There are a lot of individuals out there in FRC who use FRC parts for non FRC projects and it would be useful to have a service specifically frc based where teams can list stuff for sale in an eBay buy it now fashion in addition to what the service already is. This would allow individuals to get their hands on parts that they need to complete their personal summer projects or whatever. I know a lot of teams with stacks of old motor controllers and I know some individuals who could definitely use some motor controllers.

We didn’t really consider this during development, but you’re totally right. Because of how the site works internally, it isn’t a quick fix to add accounts not connected with teams, but I’ll add it to the list.

An ecommerce thing is a far greater undertaking than what we’re willing to commit to with this site right now, though I can see the appeal of that route.

After playing around with this for a few minutes, I have additional feedback.

Creating/Editing an account

  1. The zip code field does not like leading zeros. Without it, I appear to be located in Sydney, Australia.

  2. The dashboard, with Your Open Requests, All Open Requests, and Parts You Requested seems confusing. If the only difference between the first two is that it automatically fills in your team number in the search field, that strikes me as unnecessary. Also, having two similarly named options that do different things (open vs filled requests) is counter-intuitive. Something easier would be the ability to see all requests with a field for whether or not they are open.

  3. Options for a more detailed address should be included. If you want to figure out where my team is badly enough, there are already ways you can do that. Why not cut out some hassle?

Viewing/Filling Requests

  1. The Title field when you submit a request is shown as Description when you view it. Likewise, the true description is not shown until you click on it.

  2. I don’t know what it looks like for other requests besides my own, but I would think there would be a more obvious “Fill this request” option than simply clicking on the team number.

I think this is a good thing you did. It just needs some tuning up before it’s fully ready.

At the risk of being branded a Luddite, let me say that I don’t get it. Do you anticipate having accounts from a significant number of teams with no regular CD posters? If not, I don’t see how this is as good as (much less better) than posting a new CD thread asking for something.

While we have sent FRC items to other teams (as recently as yesterday), the only items I can think of that we would want to actively unload are throttle motors; fat chance moving these on a part exchange.

If I’m missing something, please enlighten me!

I have wanted to make a site with some of this functionality for a while. I always thought the best way to do it would be to pair it with an FRC-geared inventory tracking system. This would motivate teams to upload their entire shop’s stock as it provides them with a tangible benefit (being able to track quantities and locations of all their parts for their own use) beyond just proactively looking to get rid of things. I think most teams have a huge amount/percentage of their stuff that falls in the category of “we don’t exactly want to go out of our way to get rid of this, but if somebody came asking for it, we’d have no problem giving it away or loaning it.” Teams could privately upload all their parts for their own use, and selectively flag what parts they’re willing to give away, sell, or loan out, generating public listings for those items.

Nick - I sent you a PM. Let me know what you think.

That’s definitely a criticism that I anticipated. I see this site as a dedicated location for those requests. A place for everything and everything in its place, as it were. Whether it’s necessary to split this off into a new site, I will let Google Analytics tell me.

To be useful, this site definitely needs widespread adoption. A subset of CD teams isn’t enough. Rookie teams, teams out of the US where shipping is tough, etc. More marketing is required.

Another driver of the creation of this site was the ability to track what parts you’ve given away and get a summary, in theory to hand off to judges and be able to say “Look how gracious we are!” I’m far more tentative about focusing on that feature now, because I’ve come to learn over the four years since I originally started building this site, that that isn’t how GP works.

We’ve been giving this site halfhearted attempts at a launch for three years. I figured that it’s now or never, and we’ll see what the final fate is after this season.

Thank you for releasing this site live. We’re a rookie team that’s been spending a limited budget to acquire items new that veteran teams must have extras of lying around from previous years, for instance a spare Robot Signal Light. We are glad to find FRC Part Exchange.

Has this been getting used? I keep getting emails once a week saying we’ve exchanged 0 items. It would be nice to raise that.

My team has; not necessarily sure about other teams. We placed a request on there in late October, and it’s still open.

Welcome!!! Since you’re down under you should come say hi to 3132! :]

I’ve seen what happens when a New Englander goes down there. I’m not sure the world is ready for that again.

Speak of the devil.

Hmmm, wonder if anyone is interested in the 1.5 million throttle motors we have accumulated through the years…:rolleyes:

I’ve been noticing a large uptick in the amount of posts about looking for parts, especially this late in build season as supplier issues come to a head. This is a reminder that the site exists!

I’ve recently pushed an update to the site that includes a few new features and bugfixes addressing some of the issues people have brought up in this thread, plus instant notifications for part requests in your region, and a slick new image upload dialog.

(Also, if you requested an old-style PDB and your team number displays as 0, please contact me. I want to fix that.)