Essential Parts for a new team.

Hello CD!
I was hoping for some advice on some of the essential parts for a rookie team. We have a little bit to throw around and I was hoping for some advice.

I was thinking the basic electronics for a practice bot; (robotRio, PDB< RSL…) Maybe some tools and parts? I’m a little lost.

Thanks for your help!

This is such a weird reason to use a throwaway account.

That said, it depends on what sort of tool access you have, what sort of raw materials you’ll have, etc. I suggest searching through the threads; this has been asked multiple times and I don’t think the answer changes too much year to year.

Something you will find really useful if you don’t already have one is a soldering iron that’s of decent quality. preferably one with swap able tips and an adjustable temp will be able to all of the soldering for your robot. Skip the really cheap $5 ones you can find as they will just be a pain to you. A quick search on amazing yields this which looks quite good and is only around $20

Also something you may want to get is a 3rd hand for soldering, having one available to me to hold small wires while soldering has been incredibly useful.

Having a bunch of c-clamps and or a few one handed bar clamps may also be useful. This is one case where a Harbor Freight product is reasonable. I’ve used Harbor Freight c-clamps and I haven’t ever had problems with them, plus they are like $4 a piece so i’d recommend getting a few, you never know when you have to hold something down.

What’s your budget? What tools and equipment do you already have access to? What kind of support do you have from your sponsor, if any? What is the skill level of your students?

A new team can require significantly less than a veteran team depending on what they already have in terms of equipment and support.

Hi there! I understand you’re on a rookie team. My team, 5847, just started up last year. There’s definitely some hardship on the road ahead, but allow me to give you some advice.

   Most of all, I think establishing your name and who you are is most important. Deciding a team shirt day at school is an easy start, but another easy idea is at our school, we have daily announcements. In these announcements, teachers are able to submit announcements that are read to all 2,200 students of ours. We usually drop in how we did at past competition, and where the team is off to next. A slightly more difficult idea is community outreach, which will become essential for your team. Reserving a booth for your team at local events is a great way to do this, and it doesn't even require a robot. Our team was at a local farmer's market where we has a booth and showed kids how much better water is on hot days over pop and juice to prevent dehydration, and it just played a role in us winning the UL industrial safety award.

    Another important part of being a rookie team is learning how to FIRST. By this, I mean how you are as a team and how competitions are. My biggest advice is practice Gracious Professionalism at its finest. It's truly an amazing concept, there's really nothing like it and it just makes the robotics atmosphere so much better. Being in the rookie spot, we know your robot won't be perfect, so ask for help! Our amazing friends at 2338 helped us so much last year, it was amazing. Part of the Gracious Professionalism spirit is providing the help others need, even as simple lending tools at competition to as far as helping build your team up. Another part of being FIRST is getting along with the crowd. When you walk through the doors of competition or even any FIRST event for that matter, everybody accepts who everybody is. Don't be afraid to dress up head to toe in team spirit or dance like crazy, that's what this is all about! 

    As far as your question on electronics goes, I'm sorry but I'm definitely not the most tech savvy. However, I suggest at your next competition that you make as many friends as possible from other teams, and get their emails or phone numbers so you can't talk to them quickly and easily whenever you need them. As crazy as it may be, they might just become some of your best friends.

     I really wish you guys luck. Being a FIRST team comes with all sorts of challenge, but stick with it as long as you can. The reward of these programs is so amazing, and the experiences can't really be matched by any other sport you participate in. And just remember, if your scoring mechanism on the robot stops working efficiently, PLAY DEFENSE!

I’d swap those around - make sure you have enough stuff to do your prototyping and build your robot, both in terms of parts and tools. This would obviously exclude those custom pieces you have to order based on each game, though you’d want to reserve some money for that. Once you’ve reached that point, look at what went well and what went poorly this year and try to shore up your weaknesses while preserving your strengths. For many teams, they need more programming and/or driver time, so dropping over $1,000 on a second control system so you can do a second robot is a great next step. The second robot may take many forms depending on your team size, skills, and resources. This could range from a practice-capable wooden prototype to an identical second robot, with lots of side tracks like a programmer’s test platform.

I just want to say that my number one piece of advice as someone who just started a rookie team is to make use of nearby teams. Don’t just get a little help from one at the beginning of the year; really use them as a resource. If I were you instead of rushing out and buying parts, I would see if a local team would let your team help out with and see their bot in the offseason. I know my team would let you.

Also, it’s also probably not the best idea to use a throwaway, for the same reason as above: you want other FRC people to know who you are so that they can help.