When is a COTS part no longer COTS

I may be misinterpreting what you’re saying, but if you modify the wheels by drilling the holes out in year 1, you don’t get to use them at all in year 2, even if you modify them a 2nd time. They became a fabricated part as soon as you drilled them to 5/32 in year one and are not eligible to be reused in any state in year two.

9 Likes

Disagree… in year 2 the wheels begin in a state that is neither raw material nor fabricated component. They’re equivalent to a bar of material that has been cut roughly to length, but not to final size.

I don’t think you’d find a single inspector in all of FIRST that would agree with your interpretation. The wheel is already in its final form. Changing the size of a hole doesn’t make a difference.

4 Likes

But in that instance, your hole was made to advance the part towards its final form, No? You Drilling this hole has a functional purpose.

2 Likes

Hmm. I could definitely be wrong about this, and I’ll certainly think it through before presenting it to an inspector.

Can we drill a new offset hole pattern in year 2?

The blue box tells us that certain advancements towards the final form are ok. Where is the line?

From what I can tell, the line is drawn between “the advancements towards the final form is for non- robot purposes, ex: cutting down a sheet of plywood, aluminum, or square tubing to fit in your truck” and “the advancements towards the final form is for robot purposes, ex: cutting a piece of square tubing to the length you need on your robot, drilling a hole larger to fit a screw, cutting a shaft to the length you need”.

I think the purpose of this specific rule is that they don’t want to inconvenience you because you can’t fit something in a truck to move it, or you can’t get something through a door. R15 (as stated a little while ago) clearly states that

“Please note that this means that FABRICATED ITEMS from ROBOTS entered in
previous FIRST competitions may not be used on ROBOTS in the 2019 FIRST Robotics
Competition”

1 Like

R15 very clearly covers this situation and says you cannot do what you are proposing.

The blue box you’ve linked is also very obviously to allow teams to cut raw stock down to a smaller size without turning it into a fabricated part.

I’m really not sure where you see the grey area.

2 Likes

Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate you setting me straight. I don’t know if you saw my followup question above. Can we drill a new offset hole pattern in year 2, and abandon the original pattern?

I don’t think so. When you drilled the original holes in the previous season, since it was purposeful and functionally necessary, it became a fabricated item. Because of this, R15 kicks in.

Edit: When you drill the holes, as long as it has a functional purpose specifically for use on the robot, it then counts as fabricated. My understanding is that essentially, the rule you stated turns any COTS part that was modified to serve a functional purpose specifically for use on the robot into a fabricated item. Then, R15 rules that you can’t use any fabricated item in future years.

2 Likes

Thanks again. Do you mind stating your qualifications @Cole_Nagata?

This is the first time in my FRC experience that I’ve heard that there’s a “purposeful and functionally necessary” test to determine if features added prior to kickoff will make the part illegal for competition, even if these features go unused on the current-season robot. Let’s explore that test.

Certainly you agree that if a hole is placed by mistake into raw stock prior to kickoff, and during the season that raw stock is consumed to form final robot parts, then the part containing the random hole is not illegal. This is because the hole was never intended to purposely advance the part towards some function, it is a meaningless unused feature. The feature passes the test-- we agree.

However, we do benefit from the nonzero weight savings afforded by the hole. As the diameter of the hole is increased, at what point does this weight savings become consequential when reasoning the legality of the part? What if there is not a single small hole but a line of large holes in the raw material? If my team attempted to re-use a bar that had a complex lightening pattern machined into it prior to the season, clearly this would be illegal.

Wading further into the weeds:

A 10" length of pneumatic tubing is purposefully cut from a 1,000 foot reel for use on our 2019 robot, immediately (in 1 step) advancing the simple part to its final design. By rule, this tubing cannot be modified in any way other than cutting to length. In the 2020 season, a new 8" piece is cut from the middle of the 10" part, such that the cuts created in 2019 are cut away. Does last year’s purposeful and functionally-necessary effort, which was an incremental contribution to the fabrication process for the current year’s part, make the new part illegal under R15?

4 Likes

In the case of the wheel, it’s very cut-and-dried. I mean, in the blue box it even specifically mentions that drilling holes out for a screw makes an item non-COTS. So any new holes or drilled-out holes would immediately make the wheel non-COTS.

While I don’t see how this really matters, I’m a high school senior.

yes, the tubing is now a fabricated part, and subject to R15

@Cole_Nagata’s ruling seems in contradiction of the blue box on page 59 of the robot rules (less than half a page above R1). While cutting the tubing to 10" may have advanced it towards the final form on the 2019 ROBOT, it does nothing to advance it towards its final form on the 2020 ROBOT (assuming the 2020 rule is equivalent).

Likewise, I would argue in agreement with @Nate_Laverdure’s initial understanding regarding boring out COTS holes. Let’s assume the wheels were purchased in fall 2017, then drilled out to 5/32" during the 2018 build season. During the 2019 build season, the same COTS holes are again drilled out to 3/16". If the wheel in pure COTS form were drilled to 3/16", would it be any less work, or would the results be functionally (or even detectably) different? No. Therefore, the 5/32" drilling done a year before did not advance the part towards its form on the 2019 ROBOT. Of course, if NEW holes had been drilled in 2018, more work would be required to turn a COTS wheel into the 2019 form, because that hole would have to be measured, punched, and then drilled.

7 Likes

R15 states that you cannot use fabricated items from the previous year, and by definition, it became a fabricated item when you cut it the year before. once you drill out that piece, it becomes a fabricated part. even if it may not functionally advance the part this year, it did last year, making it a fabricated part from last year.

also, I have no idea what you are referring to when you say page 57, which is in the game rules:human section. could you please clarify?

4 Likes

I’d appreciate hearing opinions on the following hypotheticals:

  1. In 2017 my team builds an elevator. We cut COTS aluminum 1"x2" to length, turning it into a FABRICATED piece. In 2018 we reuse these FABRICATED pieces in a new elevator, such that the function is the same and very few additional modifications are needed. Legal or illegal?

  2. In 2017 my team builds an elevator. We cut COTS aluminum 1"x2" to length, turning it into a FABRICATED piece. In 2018 we reuse these FABRICATED pieces in a new elevator, but have to drill entirely new mounting holes and cut them to a new length such that the function is the same but no modifications are shared between years. Legal or illegal?

  3. In 2017 my team builds an elevator. We cut COTS aluminum 1"x2" to length, turning it into a FABRICATED piece. In 2018 we reuse those FABRICATED pieces to create a WCD. No features, other than the COTS 1"x2" are shared between years. Legal or illegal?

1b, 2b, 3b. Same as above, but the aluminum 1"x2" was used on a practice robot.

1c, 2c, 3c. Same as above, but the aluminum 1"x2" was used on an offseason project.

1d, 2d, 3d. Same as above, but the aluminum 1"x2" was used by a different team, and donated to my team before the season started.

2 Likes

I’ve split this discussion off from the thread about attaching treads to wheels.

8 Likes

Thank you.

1 Like

I’ll try to answer this to the best of my ability, and from the way I see the rules:

1: Illegal, R15 states that you cannot reuse fabricated parts.
1b: Legal, your practice bot isn’t entered into competitions, and therefore doesn’t truly have to be subject to every single rule
1c: Legal, same situation as above.
1d: Illegal, R15 still applies, no matter who did it. As long as they modified it to advance their original purpose, it is deemed a fabricated part in the 2017 season.

2, 2b, 2c, 2d : modifying the part doesn’t change the fact that it was fabricated last year to advance the original purpose, deeming it a fabricated part in the 2017 season. Therefore, the same answers to all the 1’s apply to the 2’s.

3, 3b, 3c, 3d : both modifying the part and changing its purpose doesn’t change the fact that it was fabricated last year to advance the original purpose, deeming it a fabricated part in the 2017 season. Therefore, the same answers to all the 1’s apply to the 3’s.

I think he meant a part that was on the previous years practice robot is then trying to be used on the current years comp robot, which means 1b and 1c would be illegal (as well as 2b, 2c, 3b, and 3c).

I don’t see how any of his examples could be considered legal.

This is a great example if how dumb the current rules surrounding this are and how this should probably be deregulated some/completely.

5 Likes

Thank you for the clarification.
I agree. I can kinda see why this rule was created, however it seems to have created a larger problem than what it was trying to solve.

1 Like