“Any parts which are identical to legal VEX parts are permitted. For the purposes of this rule, products which are identical in all ways except for color are permissible. It is up to inspectors to determine whether a component is “identical” to an official VEX component.”
However, this clause has been removed in latest Tipping Point game manual. I’m wondering if I should start firing an official Q&A already. Does that mean any parts that robosource.net sells are no longer legal, such as colored screws, etc, or even 3rd party rubber bands.
I suspect too many people believed that their 3D printed sprockets and gears from PLA or other inexpensive filament were “identical” in fit, form, and function, (ignoring material and mechanical properties) to injection molded sprockets and gears, for example, that RECF simply removed the rule causing the question, in favor of allowing identical parts within the subsections that are applicable, for example “any commercially available screw…” in the fasteners rule.
If the SMC part numbers match, then they are completely identical. Many of our organizations pneumatics came from my previous employer, never had a question or concern.
The VEX pneumatics kits actually are not unreasonably priced. VEX is a pass-thru and doesn’t up more than a reasonable amount. In the past, robot mesh.com was selling individual parts, but I don’t know if they still are, or can sell these non-VEX parts outside their service area.
sure, they are undeniably identical to the official vex components, and therefore should be legal for use. But without the clause “Any parts which are identical to legal VEX parts are permitted. For the purposes of this rule, products which are identical in all ways except for color are permissible. It is up to inspectors to determine whether a component is “identical” to an official VEX component.” in the manual, are they technically allowed? I’m sure this is just an unintended consequence of removing this clause, and that gdc still means for it to be legal to do so, but as the manual currently stands I’m not sure it is.
My gut says “yes” under G3 – pneumatics purchased from SMC with the same SKUs aren’t just “identical” to pneumatics purchased from VEX for some particular definition of that word, they’re literally the same parts, just routed through different warehouses on the trip from the factory to your robot. Same question would also apply to buying Alliance #64 non-latex rubber bands in bulk from Amazon instead of from VEX (the cost difference there is much greater, around 15x, because VEX only sells the bands in small quantities), and my gut says yes there too under the same logic.
But I agree it’s not 100% clear under the current rules – something to ask on the Q&A when it opens.
In IQ, this has never required a ruling in the first place – there’s always been a rule that explicitly allows using third-party rubber bands in legal sizes. That rule is not present in the new IQ manual, thus I definitely think a Q&A is warranted to determine if the same rubber bands purchased from non-VEX sources are legal for use. More discussion of that here:
In VRC, we have a variation on the same problem – notwithstanding questions about whether different rubber band materials are OK (that question has gotten different answers in different previous seasons’ Q&As), using identical rubber bands hasn’t needed a Q&A ruling, it’s always been OK under R6d, the “identical to VEX parts” clause. Again, that rule is missing from version 0.1 of the Tipping Point manual, so it makes sense to get a ruling on the Q&A as to whether (a) that omission was intentional, and (b) if it was, if purchasing the same parts from non-VEX retailers is OK.
I definitely agree that those questions have clear common-sense answers – I can’t see a performance/equity reason why teams shouldn’t be allowed to purchase the same rubber bands from Amazon, or the same pneumatics from SMC – but given that in both IQ and VRC the long-standing rules that explicitly legalized these things are no longer present, I think getting some clarification from the Q&A is warranted.