View Full Version : Couple of Rookie Team questions

12-23-2009, 09:03 PM
Hello! Team 3145 - TeraViks - is a Rookie Team and we have a question I can't find the answer to anywhere else: Are tools included with our kit of parts? If not, what is recommended as a minimum set?

I am not part of the high school or a teacher, so I do not have access to the tools in the shop. This means we'll need to purchase or acquire thru donations the tools we need.

Thanks for the help! We're excited for the season's challenge to begin!


Coach Brian

Chris is me
12-23-2009, 09:07 PM
The KOP doesn't include tools.

12-23-2009, 09:08 PM
Welcome to CD and FIRST.

Unfortunately tools are not included in the Kit of parts (a.k.a KOP). I would recommend most basic hand tools i.e wrenches, screw drivers, pliers, wire strippers. As far as power tools, you may get by with a band saw and drill press. Anyone want to add?

12-23-2009, 09:18 PM
I suggest reading this thread here (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77973&highlight=Rookie+tool+list).

12-23-2009, 09:20 PM
Welcome to CD and FIRST.

Unfortunately tools are not included in the Kit of parts (a.k.a KOP). I would recommend most basic hand tools i.e wrenches, screw drivers, pliers, wire strippers. As far as power tools, you may get by with a band saw and drill press. Anyone want to add?

To add to the above...
Safety Glasses
Metal Files
Chain Break Tool
hand drill
crimping tool

12-23-2009, 09:28 PM
No tools are included. You will probably also need a considerable amount of other materials as well, as the kit gives you the basics for a chassis and control system, but very little in terms of the components that you will need to accomplish most of the tasks necessary to score most of the points available.

Our workshop is very limited (basement of the convent next to the school) and most of our tools have been donated or accumulated over the years. We seem to use the following tools most often:
Cordless drills (need to be powerful because we drill a lot of holes through a lot of aluminum - I personally like the DeWalt 18V - found some for $99 on Black Friday)
Wrenches or ratchet sets
Screw drivers (unless using the drills for this)
Dremel (we use it all of the time to trim off excess material without having to take parts off the robot)
Band saw for aluminum (for robot) and wood (for prototypes). We have a separate bandsaw that can cut steel (for the axles)
Power saw to cut our decking for the robot
Drill press (for more precision, when necessary)
Calipers (electronic), measuring tapes, right angles
Wire cutters, wire stripper, wire connector, soldering iron
Crimping tool
Vise grips
Rubber mallet
Metal punch (for marking your drill holes)

I find that we also use a lot of basic hardware - 8/32 and 10/32 machine screws with nuts and lock washers, 1/4" bolts in various lengths with nuts and lock washers.

I am sure that there is more, but this is a quick list off the top of my head

Ted Weisse
12-23-2009, 09:45 PM
Section 3 of the manual found here (http://usfirst.org/uploadedFiles/Community/FRC/Game_and_Season__Info/2010_Assets/03_At%20the%20Events.pdf).

Last page is a recommended list generated by FIRST.

Includes the items already listed plus a couple of others.

Good luck this season and welcome to FIRST.

12-24-2009, 07:51 AM
If you get into a pinch on funding, I'd suggest this short list:

Safety glasses. Some teams require the kids to bring their own; I might recommend this at least to the big-headed members of the team. (I had to find a pair that wouldn't squeeze into my head; the cheapest pair at Northern Tool did the job. They stay in my car.)

Hex keys. Assuming you'll be using a frame provided in the Kit of Parts (you don't have to, but it's been a good starting point) and assuming it's the AndyMark C-Base (http://andymark.biz/am-0205.html) like it was last year, you'll want a set or two to assemble it. I prefer the type that has several sizes fold out like a big pocket knife, lest you inevitably lose the one you're going to need most. Get one metric, one standard--you'll find both in the KoP.

A good wrench set. You'll be tightening a fair amount of nuts on the kit frame and elsewhere. Be prepared.

Good cutting utensils. Ideally, you'll be able to find someone with a band saw to aid in getting those nice, straight cuts. (Or even better, a portaband that takes that functionality handheld. They're amazing.) But failing that, a good hacksaw with proper operation can get acceptable results for many cases.

A file. That hacksaw will produce sharp edges. The inspectors don't like sharp edges. (Trust me, I know from entirely too many experiences on both sides of that issue.)

A rivet tool. For holding together thinner items, rivets are amazing. You'll see a lot of them in robots these days, since they're light, dirt cheap, and strong for the above. 1618 used them (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/32937) for joining the angle aluminum superstructure this year and had absolutely zero problems. The year before that, we riveted together our entire frame (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/30214) (the old IFI Kitbot (http://www.ifirobotics.com/kitbot.shtml) that wasn't included in 2009) with 1/4" rivets using a Marson Big Daddy (http://www.mcmaster.com/#90239a510/=52ji6u) riveter. Again, zero trouble all year. If you don't need to do 1/4" rivets, though, you'll find much success with the hand riveter you can find at Lowe's. (But go ahead and bookmark McMaster-Carr regardless.)

Knowledge. You've already found CD; while it gets to be like drinking from a firehose during the season, it's probably the single best resource going. Also go ahead and bookmark AndyMark (http://www.andymark.biz), McMaster-Carr (http://www.mcmaster.com) (or MSC (http://www1.mscdirect.com/cgi/nnsrhm), or Grainger (http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/start.shtml) if there's an overriding preference, but I prefer McMaster), and the directions to the nearest hardware store. Go ahead and pre-shop it; know the locations of nuts and bolts, angle aluminum, and PVC pipe (you (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/21906) can (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/30824) do (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/18951) a (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/16233) lot (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/27386) with (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/13949) it (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/27194)). (Oh, and some drywall screws to hold that PVC together; there's a reason 1618's 2008 robot was known as Speedy Debris...)

Another route you may want to consider is sheetmetal. It's what 2815 did for its rookie robot (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/32938), and the result was a ridiculously solid robot. It's harder to improvise, but if you can nail down the concept (we went through a couple of prototypes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jskowski/3191970356/in/set-72157612317725881/)), CAD it up, and send it to a waterjet shop, you'll find it shouldn't run more than a couple hundred dollars if you even have to pay for the use of the machine. (We cut ours in a machine shop at USC, so we just bought the metal; you may be able to wheel and deal use of one as well.) Many teams swear by this method of fabrication (148 even posted the CAD files of their 2008 (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/papers/2277) and 2009 (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/papers/2280) robots, the former of which won the Championship), but you'll have to figure out if that's within your reach for 2010.

Best of luck!

Ed Law
12-24-2009, 07:59 AM

Welcome to FIRST and CD. I am the coach of a rookie team from last year. We had no tools at all when we first started. I have an Excel spreadsheet that I can email if you would PM me with your email address. The spreadsheet is normally on our website to help all rookie teams how to get started but our website is down right now. The spreadsheet has the name of the place I got things from, item number and price. It includes all items we bought up to December 31, 2008. I will update it to show what is essential that we use a lot, what is recommended that will be helpful to you but not absolutely essential if you have a tight budget and the rest was a waste of money. Keep in mind that veteran teams own a lot of tools that are not necessary for a rookie teams. Our robot last year was very simple so it was easy to build.

Good luck to your first season. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.

12-24-2009, 09:12 AM
Athough it is still being updated and edited <sigh> there is some good stuff here in the FRC Mentor Resources Library.

Also let your Regional Director or Assistant RD know of your needs. They are there to help. http://webdev.usfirst.org/regionalcontact.aspx

Dick Linn
12-26-2009, 11:03 AM
A few thoughts:

Open & box wrenches: We mostly used the smaller ones, ˝ inch and under. For occasional use, the $15-$20 Harbor Freight combination sets are adequate.

Hex wrenches: I prefer the individual ones as long as there’s a box/holder. The best set I have is actually an inexpensive “Task Force” 30 piece set I got at Lowe’s. They don’t seem to have that anymore (at least not on-line) but they do have a 25-piece set by Kobalt for $9.

If you happen to buy anything from Harbor Freight, take advantage of their 20% off coupons, which have been appearing regularly in Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazine recently. The 20% is on top of any current sale price.

Files: Despite having many good files, one of the best I found for routine use on aluminum was a super-cheap, rather coarse 6” flat file that cost about $1. at Northern Tool or HF, I forget which. It didn’t seem to clog no matter what.

Screwdrivers: Good quality screwdrivers are a pleasure to use. Avoid the really cheap sets.

Hacksaw: A good quality, high-tension hacksaw and a variety of good bi-metal blades is worthwhile. If you can afford a generic 4” x 6” band saw, that would be great. On sale and with a coupon, they are often available for around $160. or so.

Check garage sales, Craigslist and flea markets for various hand tools. Not long ago I got a Gerber multi-tool (pliers) that was virtually unused for $4. Found some brand new old stock FELCO (Swiss) pruning shears for $10. These retail for about $60. I have a huge hammer collection and typically give anywhere from $1-$5 each, depending on size and quality.

Post a note at school or make an announcement at a PTA meeting. A lot of people have a few extra tools laying around.

Dick Linn
12-28-2009, 08:54 AM
One more thing - ratcheting terminal crimpers. Even the cheap ones are better than nothing:


12-28-2009, 11:40 AM
Also, to get access to more tools, try to make a connection with a local automotive, welding, or machine shop who might want to help your team.

They may allow access to their equipment, or may offer to make parts on their equipment for your team.

Dick Linn
12-28-2009, 12:03 PM
In Team 975's rookie year, a local machine shop turned down some shafts for free. A metal place donated a 10 foot piece of 3/4" square aluminum tube for nothing. The local Northern Tool store gave us a discount (10% ?) and a free corded drill. Later on, we connected with the local community college and had some sprockets turned down to save weight. It never hurts to ask around.