In Q&A 1149, Grant wrote the following:
"If a Team was willing to take the time to drill out every screw used on their Robot, I would be surprised that they found the task of documenting / explaining that effort to be more time consuming or challenging. This is why, if an inspector sees a set of perfectly consistent precision-machined hollow screws, they are probably going to assume the screws were purchased, not hand-made."
I want to ask a few follow up questions. The GDC has historically not answered broad hypotheticals, so I have written out 3 specific cases that we can hopefully use to establish the broader inspection principles. So, I'm sorry to do this, but here are 3 annoyingly borderline specific cases:
- Suppose an inspector notices drilled out screws on a robot. Should the inspector compare the screws and look for for minor variances? If no variances are found, and the team does not have an engineering notebook, should the inspector assume the screws are illegal?
- Many other legal parts can be modified such that they are basically indistinguishable from illegal off-the-shelf parts. For example, a legal washer could be machined to closely resemble an illegal off-the-shelf C clip. A legal spacer could also be lathed to closely resemble an illegal off-the-shelf spacer with a smaller diameter. Does the principle established for drilled screws apply to C clips and small spacers and other similar parts as well?
- Suppose an inspector notices only one drilled screw, small spacer, C clip, or similar part on a robot (meaning they have nothing to compare it to.) How should the inspector determine if the part is legal?
Maybe this is overstepping, but I'd like to suggest for the ruling to err on the side of tolerance. Inspectors and competitors both prefer less punitive inspection rules.
In any case, thank you for your time!