FTC tools and hardware

I need to put together a buying list for a new rookie FTC team. So far the only things we have are the KOP (with REV), and a large classroom with cabinets and large tables to build in. (The classroom will be used by only us and will be locked when we’re not there. :+1:)

I need to know what else we will need for the season. (Tools, hardware, carts, ect.) Are there any lists or there with details/ links? (I’m doing the Admin, not a builder myself so I need specifics, and where to buy them.) I would love to find a list that is ranked from must have to if you’ve got money to blow.

I would also love to get a practice field but I don’t know where to buy one, or build one. I’ve watched matches online, but haven’t been up close to a field in person yet so I have little concept of “interlocking mats” are they like this? Or do they have a different texture? And do most teams buy or build their field?

Thanks for any help.

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For the competition field, which is also used for official events:

For the upcoming season’s field elements and game pieces:


Relevant recent thread:

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Don’t forget to get a cart for the robot (preferably with room for tools).

We made some carts a few years back but in general you’ll want something that can fit an 18" cube and has ledges so the robot doesn’t roll of the top (ask me how I know).

Our carts have a tool drawer at the bottom and the robot fits in the side (which is spec’d as an 18" sizing cube) for transportation.

I’ve seen teams use something like this before from Harbor Freight.

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Are robot carts a common thing in FTC? Never been to an in person competition yet (FTC is still rather new in Ontario, and COVID made everything online/virtual). However the scale is the same as VRC, and back when I competed in that program (albeit, 10 or so years ago), everyone just carried their relatively small machines around. Don’t ever recall seeing entire carts being wheeled over to the playing area.

It’s definitely regional; I’ve never seen one I can remember in South Carolina. But it’s not like anyone would catch blowback for it either. I expect it would be one of those things where one team has one and then five others have one the next season.

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I’m pretty sure every team in Indiana uses a cart for robot transport from the pit area to the field. Maybe Indiana is odd due schools generally having multiple gyms (competition fields and pits are usually separated). Most of the out of state events I’ve been to, teams have had carts that double as crates for transportation to the event.

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Thanks for the link. I did see that one, but I don’t think organizing will be too big a problem for us. It’s more of what to put in those organizers I’m looking for.

I figure Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, measuring tape, but I don’t know what hardware is used. What size bolts should I have on hand? Should I get a Jigsaw, bandsaw, Hacksaw? Or all of the above? Do I need a rivet gun? Hand? Electric? Pneumatic? What about Rivnuts? Drill press? Extra battery? Extra controllers? What should I have on hand for prototyping? Should I have spare aluminum? Sheets? Tubes? Extrusion? Are there brand names I should avoid? Tools I won’t use? Ones I can’t be without?

I have a long lead time between when I order something and when it will come in so I want to make sure I have items I need on hand. But I have no idea what I really need, or what the difference is between some of these things. I know much of this is subjective, but I’m really looking for some kind of direction to go in just to start off. I need to have a list done for our sponsor soon. (Wouldn’t want to lose out :grin:)

I have been thinking about this as well. Thanks for the pics. That’s helpful. I haven’t been able to find many pictures of carts from FTC all I seem to find is from FRC. Right now I have an old AV cart from the school. (The kind the TV would sit on) it seems to be an appropriate size, but I’ll have to figure out a way to put drawers for tools on it. I like that it has a plug strip I can use if I need to. (Though not sure I’ll ever need to)

Given you’re in Michigan, my assumption would be that this is a middle school program. With that, and that you’ve already invested somewhat in REV equipment, here’s what I’d say in order of importance:

  • Field, either half or full-- you can do a home version of the perimeter, but absolutely buy the official tiles and the actual game elements
  • Some type of small straight cut saw (cut off saw, horizontal bandsaw, whatever)
  • A drill (cordless or otherwise), with common sizes of bits (for REV, this would be 2.5mm (for tapping), 1/8" (clearance), 9mm (bushing), 12mm (bearing) (via a step bit)) and spiral flute taps (hand tapping sucks, and being able to add threads to things is really nice if you do any amount of custom, if you don’t want to do anything custom don’t bother with this)
  • A robot cart, as mentioned-- really does not need to be fancy, makes life so much easier at events
  • Some sort of 3D printer

Personally, I don’t consider nearly as much of the full custom stuff we do in FRC to be necessary in FTC. If you’re interested in making sure you build up specific skills that are useful for an FRC team, I would buy equipment and supplies with that in mind. I mentor an FTC team that is a pure FTC team-- we are an alternative to FRC, not feeding a specific team, so read the following and preceding advice is with that perspective.

In terms of actual robot parts, I’d consider a full complement of those to be 8 UltraPlanetary gearboxes, and some amount of the REV 90 degree gearboxes, and whatever the appropriate servos are. I’d generally recommend purchasing servos from GoBilda– they have a much broader selection than REV does in terms of speed, power, size, and turns. I wouldn’t necessarily pre-stock these unless you have a ton of money lying around-- they do add up fast.

Right now I’m pretty sure control hubs and expansion hubs simply are not available, but when they are, I would try very hard to make sure you have at least two of each, as spares or for testing.

I am a big fan of the Wera hex keys that REV sells a la carte on their site. They simply do not get lost or confused in the same way that plain black ones do. We have a few of each size, though the smallest one doesn’t really work with REV’s shaft collars due to the geometry.

While you’ve invested in REV equipment, I would generally not recommend focusing on their extrusion system with your robot. They have a considerable amount of hole-pattern based things that are frankly easier to design and play with.

The driver hub is simply better than any phone setup. If you don’t have one, get one. It eliminates many of the issues with USB splitters that exist with phones.

In terms of materials, I’m a big fan of the basics-- for superstructure, that can largely be stuff from REV’s structure page, but we’re partial to the L-beams and sometimes the flat beams.

With REV stuff, you’ll use a lot of their hex head screws with extrusion, but I prefer socket or button head wherever possible personally. For some reference, this is what our summer restock/gap filling looks like for hardware and some core materials (9205 Summer Buy 2022 - Public - Google Sheets).

We focus a lot on using 3D printing and laser cut metal from SendCutSend so our priorities may be different from yours, but at this point I’m a fan of the way we build robots (which honestly hasn’t always been the case).

In terms of other tools-- I’d recommend metric rulers and tape measures-- REV and Gobilda stuff are all natively metric, and committing to just designing and building the robot in metric will make your life much easier.

Personally we hardly use rivets in FTC, but if we did they would largely be 1/8" (compatible with M3 holes), and I would get a Milwaukee riveter.

100% get extra batteries (and charger)-- they last longer than in FRC relative to match length but they’re just as important to robot performance.

I would recommend having an extra set of controllers. They aren’t terribly expensive, and they can be quite abused. One big thing for controller longevity-- don’t wrap the cord around the controller, wrap it off the controller and loop it. With the logitech controllers especially, the cable connection to the controller is weak and can cause all sorts of annoying problems.

Best of luck!


Fair—I defer to the FTC-specific wisdom of @cadandcookies for that part—but I have lived on enough robot teams to know that good organization goes unnoticed, while bad organization also goes unnoticed because your whole team was busy spending half the meeting looking for the drill bits and fussing at each other because they can’t find the drill bits and urrrggggghhhh drill bittttttts.

The teams that have good organization either set out with that explicit intention or they had a season so incredibly disastrous that they got angry enough to fix it. Save the heartburn and plan ahead. :wink:


Yes we are. And we are feeding a specific FRC team. Thanks for the distinction. That’s actually the reason we decided to go with REV. Our FRC team uses it quite a bit so we thought it would be good to start then getting used to metric early. (We plan on driving conversion into their brains, but metric tape measures and stuff is a great idea. Especially for middle schoolers)

Do you know if this is something that came with this year’s KOP? If not do you know where I can get one?

Since we got the REV kit do we go to REV to get these? Do we have to have the same ones? Are there advantages of one over the other?

This is great. I would have totally wrapped around the controller and not even thought about it. Thanks.

Apologies I missed some links:

Drivers Hub
Battery Charger

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I TOTALLY agree. I didn’t mean to imply organization wasn’t hugely important. More that I actually have that part covered. We already plan to organize just like our FRC team so students will know where to find something no matter which build room they’re in. :rofl:

Thanks for the links!

Also, do you think any of the build kits are useful?

We don’t use most of them but I’m a fan of their mecanum kit, especially for new teams. My understanding is that they might be releasing a new one using the 90 degree gearboxes, which would be really solid, but also likely more expensive. In general the REV mecanum wheels are very good, and I would recommend running mecanum for any FTC team at this point. We’ve also found good use for the hinge kit from time to time. I would say they could be a good idea to build up stuff quickly in your situation considering you have purchasing issues. From that perspective the sensor pack and cable pack would probably be the big ones to me. If you like chain the chain one might be a good call. We don’t really use their belts so I can’t speak to that-- we prefer to print custom pulleys and order from VBeltGuys.

Another general piece of advice would be that we’ve found we largely prefer building with REV’s bearings, metal gussets/brackets, and such as opposed to the plastic gussets and bushings. Again though, our priority is focusing on custom laser cut and 3D printed parts as opposed to lots of extrusion, so your mileage may vary if you want to be going down another path.

Another thing I’d consider essential is a USB WiFi dongle for whatever computer you’re using for programming-- it will allow your students to google for things on the internet while being connected to the robot to do blocks/onbot/android studio programming, which is extremely useful.

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Another supplier to check out is Studica. They have some great channel choices that fit 14 mm bearings for very stiff drive trains and they sell quite a bit of Tetris product from Pitsco too.

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