WITH HOLDING

so I had a robot inspector tell me that ALL identical replacement parts fall under your 30lbs with holding allowance is this a new rule? i have never came across this before

Unless it is COTS it must be included in your 30 lbs. I do remember identical replacement parts at one point were not included in this, but that has not been the case for at least the last 2 years.

Anything that is fabricated (even a gearbox that you assembled) counts to your 30lbs.

Review R14 and R17 - if it isn’t COTS and it isn’t bagged, it should be included in your WITHHOLDING ALLOWANCE.

(emphasis mine)

This has been stated before, and I do not agree with that interpretation. If you buy a gearbox, and it arrives in the un-assembled state, and you assemble it according to the directions, it is still a COTS item. If you count assemble as a “modification”, then you can’t use any gearboxes from a previous years’ robot, as it was fabricated prior to the season. I know some teams buy shifting transmissions (expensive) and use them for several years. I believe this is within the spirit of the rules.

If you are going to point out that you could disassemble and then re-assemble the gearbox to make it legal, then I have to say that is just dumb. I don’t believe that the GDC wants teams to perform mindless tasks that have no benefit to the kids.

Suppose I bought the gearbox, then paid a third party to assmeble it. Is it then COTS by your definition? It is certainly something that is available to any team, so it meets that definition. Again, I don’t believe that the GDC wants teams to go through such meaningless activities.

If your interpretation was correct, then I would expect to see a business pop up that offers assembled gearboxes for sale so teams could bring them to an event. Someone could set up a website, allow teams to order, say, a versaplanetary from him, he could then order it from Vex, assemble it, and ship it to the team as a COTS item, for a markup. Again, I don’t think that is what FIRST wants.

If an item is bought in an un-assembled state, and subsequently assembled to the directions (so it ends up in the state intended by the manufacturer), then it is still COTS.

A Team was 17# overweight. I went to their pit, and suggested they remove as many COTS parts as they could. That included a CIM and gear box. I didn’t stick around to see what they did with the CIM and gear box after they removed it.

I don’t believe that the GDC wants teams to perform mindless tasks that have no benefit to the kids.

There is some benefit for kids to learn how to assemble gear boxes.

Q452 seems to agree with you.

To be honest, I’m not really sure it does. puts on lawyer hat. The GDC specifically said to restore it to its intended COTS state. They did not specify whether a gearbox assembled from a kit is a COTS part. The person answering the question may not necessarily know that VersaPlanetary gearboxes come as a kit/disassembled. They aren’t necessarily a technical minded person and it’s not their job to keep track of how suppliers package their parts. I would absolutely love if assembled gearboxes were considered a COTS part (assuming they are sold as kits), but it would be a great candidate for a Q&A question to ask them directly. Understandably people don’t want to because as long as the GDC hasn’t specifically ruled against it, people are fine living in the grey area.

Looking at the definitions of COTS, COMPONENT, MECHANISM, an FABRICATED ITEM. Its a little confusing because the definition of MECHANISM references COTS, and vice versa.

COMPONENT – any part in its most basic configuration, which cannot be disassembled without damaging or destroying the part or altering its fundamental function.

Yes, you can disassemble without damaging the gearbox, but you can’t do so without altering its fundamental function-- transmitting power from an input shaft to an output shaft and changing the RPM & torque. So an assembled gear box is a COMPONENT.

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. Items that are no longer commercially available but are functionally equivalent to the original condition as delivered from the VENDOR are considered COTS and may be used.

Note: “A COTS item must be a standard … part …” (Note singular PART). If the individual gear box pieces are each a COTS part, then each gear, standoff, screw, plate, grease pack, etc. must be commonly available from the vendor, individually. This argues for assembled gear box being COTS.

MECHANISM – a COTS or custom assembly of COMPONENTS that provide specific functionality on the ROBOT. A MECHANISM can be disassembled (and then reassembled) into individual COMPONENTS without damage to the parts.

I read the first clause as "A COTS assembly or custom assembly of COMPONENTS. The gear box is a COTS assembly at worst (if you don’t believe its a single COMPONENT) and not custom, assuming it is assembled per vendor instructions. We said above that the gear box is a COMPONENT, so it is not a MECHANISM because it is not an assembly of components.

FABRICATED ITEMS – any COMPONENT or MECHANISM that has been altered, built, cast, constructed, concocted, created, cut, heat treated, machined, manufactured, modified, painted, produced, surface coated, or conjured partially or completely into the final form in which it will be used on the ROBOT.

There are lots of verbs here, including ‘conjured’ but one conspicuously missing verb is ‘assembled’ even though assembly and disassembly was used in defining COMPONENT and MECHANISM. When you buy a bookcase at IKEA, do you then ‘build’ it, or ‘assemble’ it? Would you say, “Hey, look at this IKEA book case I built” Or would you say “Look at this bookcase I bought (and assembled)”

Some teams build their own gear boxes, but we don’t use that description for teams that use a kit gear box.

Having said all that, I’ve never used this argument in the past, and our team specifically disassembled a gear box and brought it to our regional as a spare due to our 30lbs exhausted. I’ve just now looked at these terms more closely and noticed some of these nuances.

I have no idea if I’m right, though.

Darn right! Our robot this year uses 8 gearboxes. Most were purchased before kickoff day. All were assembled during build season. If we had assembled them prior to kickoff day, we could have completed our robot earlier, providing us with a significant competitive advantage.

So you are saying that we are competing against teams who are assembling their sub-components prior to kickoff day? If you truly believe they are not breaking the rules, please supply the numbers of these teams. If we play against them at our upcoming events we’ll let the robot inspectors decide if they are playing legally or not.

What the GDC committee wants is for everyone to be playing by the same set of rules. Whether you (or me for that matter) think the rules are “dumb”, or simply inconvenient, doesn’t allow you or me to just not follow the ones we don’t like.

Our team’s most precious resource during build season is time. It takes time to assemble things. The rules are written so that assembly of everything you didn’t purchase pre-assembled must take place after kickoff day. Our team’s strategy to get to an assembled drive train is to prepurchase all our COTS parts before kickoff day. Extending your argument beyond just gearboxes, if we were to decide to use an Andymark 2016 KOP chassis on our next year’s robot, we could buy one ahead of time, assemble it, and save a ton of build time after kickoff. After all, the kit includes a full chassis, wheels and gearboxes. So, on kickoff day 2016 we slap on some CIMs, and we’ve got our working drivetrain good to go. THIS is kind of thing the GDC doesn’t want to see happening.

This is a little bit of a rabbit hole. You disassemble a banebox or vex planetary gear box, grease it, put it back together, Is it no longer COTs item? Attach a cots motor to it. That makes it an assembly? What if the same assembly is available for purchase (COTS)? While most inspectors will pass small violations (pinion pressed on a motor) obviously there is a limit IE assembling a COTs chassis is for beyond this.

This is an area I wish the GDC would clarify in future years.

I don’t think it’s far beyond. After all, AndyMark could sell a pre-assembled kit chassis and just charge a bit more for shipping.

My 2 cents is that I don’t care if a team pre-assembles a kit chassis before build season because I think the kit chassis is a disadvantage anyway.

I’ve never hassled a team for having a pre-assembled gear box before. Teams that have come in overweight I’ve often had take off motors and/or gear boxes (including separating the motor and gear box) in order to make weight with everything else. The time a team invests in making weight for their withholding is a good lesson for them moving forward (while instituting a “time penalty” to make things fair with respect to everyone else at the event), and it’s rare I see the same team make the mistake two seasons in a row.

That said, when it comes to my own team, I don’t let them just use an old gearbox that was assembled in a previous season as-is. They need to take the gearbox apart, clean it up (old grease isn’t necessarily a good thing, it can get full of contaminants and other stuff!), check to make sure none of the gears are worn down significantly, and then finally re-grease and re-assemble. There’s a lot a student can learn about how a gearbox works doing this that they otherwise wouldn’t see!

Of course not. You purchased a gearbox. (COTS) You purchased grease. (COTS) You expended time and effort to assemble the grease to the gearbox. That makes it a non-COTS assembly.

Of course it does.

AndyMarks sells am-0914, a gearmotor which is the assembly of their motor am-2161 and their gearbox am-0939. You can purchase the motor and gearbox separately, assemble them, and have an am-0914 gearmotor, which is a single COTS item on your BOM. Banebots sells PG60 gearboxes assembled, but ungreased. They also sell RS550 motors, which you can assemble to the PG60 gearbox. They do NOT sell a COTS gearmotor that is the assembly of the two. So, if you buy these seperately, and assemble them, you have not created a COTS item, you have created a non-COTS assembly of three (including grease) COTS items.

The rules make no such distinction.

We wouldn’t need to wait for future years if someone would submit a question to QA. (I can’t do this myself.)

Believe me, I will be delighted if pre-assembly of COTS kits becomes legal. You can bet we will leverage this to the max, if it becomes legal. What troubles me is that it sounds like some teams have already decided the rule isn’t to their liking and have chosen to sidestep it.

If I ordered a heathkit shortwave radio, and assembled it per the manufacturers instructions, could I return the fully assembled radio to heathkit and expect a refund? Of course not. I have changed the kit from the state it was in when I purchased it. Could I purchase a VEXpro gearbox, assemble it, use it for a year, then return it? Of course not. It’s no longer in the COTS state. Could I purchase a VEXpro gearbox as a spare, and return it to VEX, unassembled, after competition season ended, if I didn’t need it? That wouldn’t be kind to VEX, but if I returned it in its COTS state, they would probably accept the return.

Except you assemble the chassis as delivered, it will not meet the transport size constraints. Once you cut the rails, not even the most generous interpretation can call it COTs. Sizing constraints is one of things the GDC does play with year to year. :]

Yes that is why I call it a small violation. Falls under the intention of the rule rather than lawyering the letter of the rule. I can see the logic of both ways.

…We wouldn’t need to wait for future years if someone would submit a question to QA. (I can’t do this myself.)

Best not to ask questions to the GDC you really don’t want an answer to. :] Q&A would only apply to this years game anyway. It is a mute question for my team. The only gear box it would apply to for us is a nano tuffbox that comes assembled.

…If I ordered a heathkit shortwave radio, and assembled it per the manufacturers instructions,

They still make those? I guess it would be a custom circuit. You are showing your age. :slight_smile:

What is the definition of a “non-COTS assembly” according the the 2015 game manual. I don’t see it in there.

You should see my bench…I have a couple of HP power supplies…yes HP, not Agilent…er…Keysight. :rolleyes: Also, having a scope older than I am should be worth something.

You are correct. However, the definition of COTS is quite clearly defined. I think we may reasonable infer that a “non-COTS assembly” is an assembly which doesn’t qualify as COTS.

Section 4.1: “Many rules in this section reference Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) items. A COTS item must be a standard (i.e. not custom order) part commonly available from a VENDOR for all Teams for purchase. To be a COTS item, the COMPONENT or MECHANISM must be in an unaltered, unmodified state.”

The key words in the definition being UNALTERED and UNMODIFIED.

From the 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. Items that are no longer commercially available but are functionally equivalent to the original condition as delivered from the VENDOR are considered COTS and may be used.”

Probably a better wording would be “fabricated” assembly. When you put to COTs items together or modify a COTs item (assembly), they become “fabricated” rather than COTs

Applying simple logic: anything that does not meet the definition of “COTS” is “NON-COTS