Our team has used aluminum extrusions for the past two years, ever since FIRST has opened up the additional hardware rule for extrusions.
We’ve also used the special fasteners that go with these extrusions. A company based out of Texas, called IPS (formerly Item Products) has given our team a good discount both years.
Let me tell you that these extrusions and fasteners are really cool to use on a FIRST robot. They let you change things during debug… adjustments are easy.
IPS uses a “t-slot” extrusion system. Small Parts sold a few choices to FIRST teams last year, a similar product from Bosch. Other companies like 80/20, ParFrame, Item MB, and others make similar good products.
The hard thing about the “t-slot” extrusion/fastener system is that it is kinda hard to get use to at first. If you are not familiar with the system, you don’t know what fasteners to order, and you don’t know what extrusions, fasteners, or bracketing will work for your FIRST robot.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with this t-slot stuff for about 10 years now, and I’m pretty use to it.
Let me cut to the chase…
IPS can provide FIRST teams with 2 things this year:
- a discount. They are offering 40% price reduction on their extrusion products, and 50% price reduction on their fasteners and hardware (brackets, etc.) to FIRST teams.
- two “kits”. I’ve speced out a “big kit” and a “small kit”.
… a “big kit” is about what we used last year. It was enough to build two robots (although we didn’t) and to do some proto-typing and changing. It would cost around $1,000.
… a “small kit” would be the bare bones for one robot. The small kit would cost around $350-375.
Since these kits would be set up, your team could just call up IPS and order one of the two kits(and/or other stuff also), and they would deliver within 5 working days.
I can go into the details about what parts are in each kit in another post.
Would any of your teams be interested in this offer from IPS: Industrial Profile Systems?
I have no stake in this… IPS is offering us the same deal as everyone else. I’m just trying to pass along information that may help out your team.
(Andy edit: see note below for information about electrical connectors from Anderson Power Products)