[FTC]: Mentoring FTC

A handful of students from my team have decided to start mentoring a couple of FTC teams in our school district. We can only help out once a week for a couple hours due to our own meetings. Since they buy pre made parts and their control systems are different, I’m not sure there is much we can help with. There are roughly 30 students that are separated into two teams and only 5-10 of FRC students that are willing to help.
Does anyone have any advice in helping out with FTC?

While there are superficial differences of what parts are used and the control systems, the general principles of strategic design and mechanism design are very transferable from FRC to FTC. Having those students practice skills relevant to FRC by teaching FTC students can help those students develop their own skills.

My other piece of advice would be that 5-10 FRC students is more than enough to impact an FTC team greatly, either for better or worse. Make sure any students interested are “going in right”-- that is, that they realize they’re still learning too. I would also advise against flooding a team with student mentors, and to make sure a team still has an adult mentor or two committed to it-- students tend to be learning and making a higher proportion of mistakes along the way, and student life can get in the way of a commitment to a team.

Best of luck to you and your team working with FTC teams! I think you’ll find it a highly interesting and rewarding experience.

Few things to note; one is that parts do not have to be pre-made. Tetrix/Matrix/Actobotics are a great starting point but as you get to higher levels on competition you’ll see more and more fabricated parts. Second is that Java is the programming language used by FTC this year, Java can also be used by a FRC team, I would encourage your students to learn/teach Java. Third, with the new control system you can incorporate many sensors that would be used on a FRC robot, into a FTC robot. Finally, Solidworks, PTC and Autodesk sponsor FTC just like they do with FRC, both programs have parts that can (and should be) cadded. Ideally, both teams would document these processes for judges to see at events.