So my engineering program is starting a FTC team this year , but we are trying to figure out how much it is going to cost and if whats in the kits is enough to build a competitive robot. If someone could give us an estimate on what their team spent on parts outside of the kit that would be awesome thanks!
I’ve seen competitive robots with just the kit. However, what my teams spent on parts when I was in HS was around 1-2k If I remember correctly. It really depends on your strategy and creativity to work with what you have.
We do VEX and we expect to spend $1500 per really competitive robot.
Since they are new team two things to remember:
Think before cutting. You can do a lot of prototype work without cutting. We encourage sketches, drawings, CAD, cardboard mockups, using parts that are too long and working things out BEFORE cutting the metal. Cut smart - you need a 4" length do you cut it off the end of a 18" part or off a 5" part? Remember to save the smaller pieces, little brackets are always needed.
Motors are fragile. How much torque does a motor produce? How much torque does your design need? Once again a little design and math will save you many dollars in burned motors.
We easily spent $3000 - $4000 per robot in extra parts. We spent an awful lot on motors, encoders, servos, sensors, and prototype boards - much more than on the tetrix metal peices, and that won’t change this year. In addition, the raw material for one lift alone (non-tetrix peices) was $675.37, and that was the third one we built.
However, this year they have changed the rules and it will potentially get much more expensive. You have unlimited parts - if you make them out of raw metal. If you have all the appropriate metal working tools, cutters, brakes, welding gear, grinders, lathes, ovens, it’s not going to be a problem and you won’t have the same start-up costs.
Get the base kit and the resource kit and save the rest of your money to order parts later as your design firms up.
In order to compete at a tournament, you will need extra batteries, tetrix and NXT, extra motors, encoders, servos, etc. But you can build a robot with just the two base kits.
Depends on the challenge as to how much the robots will cost. Last year, big heavy bots with high lifts were important. The year before, fast little defensive bots were the key and those could be built out of the base plus resource kit.
Chances are it will be much more expensive this year.
The metal in the Tetrix kit is overkill, it is much to thick and the dimensions are too big. This limits the amount of stuff you can fit in the starting box. If the wall thickness was halved and the channel reduced to .75 * .75 or something like that it would be easier to work with. The work around is to make your own parts out of aluminum stock/sheet and plastic sheet (polycarbonate and ABS are both very good materials). If you can get a sponsor to donate these materials, the cost could be fairly low. Also, Matrix parts seem to be more reasonably sized, but only time will tell.
TL;DR: look for sponsors willing to donate spare materials and the added cost could be reduced or eliminated.
$3-$4k per robot?
I spent $7500 extra to build two FRC robots this year, including two new small Crio’s and a new drivers station computer, granted there are probably $2000 in electronics and mechanical parts that were reused of past robots.
I tough FTC was supposed to be cheaper.
I added FTC 3 years ago to our program at a startup cost of no more than $2500. Since then, we’ve been perfectly fine budgeting $1000-$1500 to refresh parts and register. Remember, you can reuse parts from year to year and FTC also has a decent allowance of raw material parts you can use to build the robot.
We started small (had to) with only the base kit and grew slowly spending on average about $650 each year for parts that the team ordered based on that year’s challenge and their design. Now about to start our 4th year - we are in good shape.
If your budget can take it this would be a good beginning:
2nd DC motor controller
Two more DC motors
Four DC motor leads with in-line breaker (saves motors)
2 or 3 more servos
more Screws and nuts
Then buy parts as you need them and as you can afford.
Will these parts build a competitive robot? Don’t know. But I think working to do more with less is what this is kind of activity is all about, isn’t it? Necessity is the mother of invention and all that. Don’t have 5 servos? Fine, do it with the three you have, somehow. It is awesome to watch the creativity fly!
I like your saying at the end of your post - “Don’t tell me it won’t work… MAKE IT WORK!”
This is a “your mileage may vary” conversation. The 2 teams that won the 2012 world championship, 357 and 4997, built their robots on a much smaller budgets.
One of the teams at the world championship representing New Mexico only used the Kit…and in fact used every single Tetrix and LEGO part offered in the kit, except one piece of aluminum. That piece was displayed in their pit, on a pillow, with a light shining on it.