A nice problem to have..

Hello everyone, this is my first thread that I have started and hope all does well…

Our school prin. informed us today that we have 4000 to use on equipment for Project Lead the Way/ FIRST robotics… (let me assure you that we are not a district with much money, we are urban (Albany, NY) and 10 million of our budget is going to charter schools this year.

Only a few problems, anything we order has to be over 1000…We have no room for anything we run FIRST and PLTW in 2 rooms that are very cramped to say the least.

I was wondering is anyone had any ideas of things that would be valuable to a program that I haven’t already thought of…

Any ideas welcomed

You may want to go for some fun machining tools, such as a mill or lathe.

If your space is too limited for that, you can always go for some nice shiny new computers for CAD. You could always go for some shiny team laptops.

A VEX kit HEHEHEHE. No seriously, having a computer in the lab is always nice. Doesn’t have to be good. Extra tools. A MASSIVE mcmaster order. Promo items. If you are getting nonannualized giveaways that aren’t perishable, its always good to get a ton of those. If you need tools, or grease for machines, or if you need machiens. Safety goggles should deifnatley go up there. Maybe some of those foldable tables for meals or general needing to put stuff up. Those crate systems can be useful for storing a lot of stuff in a small amount of space. As soon as i press submit i’ll think about a million more but thats right now. Oh and snackage…well thats more for during build season but still…

An LCD projector (and screen) for meetings and demos, would be nice. I know we would get one if we had the cash :slight_smile:

I agree! if, as 114ManualLabor suggested, you have limited space, you could get handy things like cordless drills, allen wrenches to replace the ones everone loses, a sawsall(believe me, very handy after you weigh the robot for the first time, :wink: ) and duct tape. Lootts of duct tape. :smiley:

yay duct tape, And don’t forget zip ties. :wink:

I would HIGHLY reccomend 1 really good laptop for comp use on scouting and all. Then a realy good pc to run CAD on and get that robot up in inventor and make it look pretty.

I’d recommend a booth setup similar to 103’s. Something like that would be invaluable for presentations at sponsors or anywhere else.

103’s booth in the background

Can’t go wrong with a SmartBoard. Very nice for DE and all the other PLTW courses - plus, would work great with robotics design, strategizing, planning, and scouting.

I agree with the LCD Projector and screen. But going along the fun machining tools path (hey, I’m a machinist at heart :p) We just bought a laser cutter for use in our PLTW program. Very fun tool to use, but it would take up most, if not all of your budget.

Thanks for all the input, so far we have narrowed a few ideas down

  1. DVD camcorder
  2. Lathe
  3. Injection Molder
  4. Cordless tool set

Lathe all the way.

One thing to note is that you lose alot of your ability to edit video with a DVD camcorder; the image is already compressed to an MPEG-4, typically, as opposed to the uncompressed AVIs on miniDV cams.

We just bought a miniDV camcorder today, actually; nice camera, $608 w/shipping.

Another thing that is nice to have is a carbide drill bit set in 1/64" increments from 1/16-1/2". If you already have one, get another. Also, get a good tool chest with lots of drawers for organizing stuff. Get a Dremel tool- use as mill, sawzall, grinder, nail trimmer, etc.

A decent lathe can do an awful lot of work, if you know how to use it. Assuming you already have a drill press, that is. Maybe a shopsmith (drill, lathe, mill) would be a good choice.

A cordless tool set underwhelms me, they are handy to carry but kind of anemic in power. You will rarely be working where there’s no AC power, and the same tools with a cord will go for a LOT less.

An injection molder? Plastic is cool, but not always robust enough for FIRST, and you still have to make the molds…

A good digital camcorder can be had for under $600, as Dillon noted.

Good luck, and

I don’t know about all of the options for those cordless tool sets, but if you can find a good drill and flashlight combo (or even just a good drill and a good flashlight), you’ll find it surprisingly handy for fieldside repairs. (YMMV, but the area where the teams were queued at UCF during the finals was pretty dark compared with the field. A flashlight would’ve been awesome for that.)

If you don’t mind buying chinese goods - you get get a minimill, small lathe, and multiple other tools for $1000 from www.homier.com.

7.99 Cordless Drill anyone?

Also - I recommend getting a lathe - if your interested in buying from a more well known manafacturer.

What!?! No Segways!!! It’s really cool that your school was able to provide some funds to your team! We just got an answer back from our school when we asked them to give us a food allowance for our regional…DENIED!

I’d stock up on lexan, sheet metal, extruded Al, and other stock material. You can never have too much of that stuff and I don’t think there will be a year when you won’t use it if you have it.

Why not talk with your neighboring teams? If the school administration will allow it you can make several massive orders but do it on the behalf of many teams. Then each team takes the portion of the order that belongs to them and gives you back the money for their percentage (along with a percentage of shipping). Everybody wins. You now have the freedom to make several smaller purchases in given areas and the money that comes back you will be able to spend in whatever increments you wish (and perhaps at later times as well). The teams you partner up with will also benefit because you bought in bulk and bulk is cheaper. Organizing all of that would be a great service if you can pull it off…what a load off the minds of rookie teams. Personally doing FedEx-related choreography is the bane of my existence.

I don’t know I just think this set of restrictions (if I understand them right) could be a great opportunity to set up something really wonderful for everybody.