Most underrated/undervalued tools

I thought it might be fun to see what people in FRC think the most underrated/ undervalued tools for FRC use are.

Personally, I am going with the vinyl cutter. Basically a giant plotter with a blade, it can make adhesive backed stickers that are useful for everything from sponsor logos on your robot to decals for team property, etc.

I am curious to see what you all think are the most undervalued and/or underrated tools in FRC. Post them below!

I’m going with the portable vacuum. Way too many teams get chips, shavings, and swarf in their electrical system because they neglect to get a vacuum in place while cutting or drilling metal on the robot.

A close second would be the file. It always surprises me how many teams wait until their robot is being inspected to learn how files should be used. :rolleyes:

From personal experience any mechanical pickup tool is amazing.

Vice grips. They can hold together parts while machining, clamp to a small part so you don’t have to be close to the machine, stop vibrations on some parts while milling, hold some sketchy prototype parts onto a previous robot, and much more. To me, they are the duct tape of robot building.

Cognitive thinking.

Drill Press vises.

Hammer ::ouch::


Dark Soul Chain Tool, or a pneumatic riveter.


Also javadocs.

Plasma cutter

wouldnt have our bot without it

I second the motion.


And PPE of all types.

Brains allow you to use the tools (properly). PPE–properly used–helps if something goes wrong!

Are you sick of crooked cuts in your pneumatic tubing leading to pesky leaks?

There are so many connections! It could take hours to find that last one!

<Gray video>
“There has to be a better way!”
</Gray video>

Well, look no further! Introducing the TC-12 pneumatic tubing cutter! It cuts all of your pneumatic tubing clean and square so you never have to worry about pneumatic leaks again!

A good pair of diagonal cutters. I also agree with Knufire about the Dark Soul.

An especially strong magnet, for that screw that fell into the chassis rail…

Hemostats for retrieving small parts and holding while soldering, etc.

CNC Mills are overrated. There are very few teams out there that can take advantage of the complex parts that they can make. Most of FRC can be done with manual tools or at most with some sort of CNC 2D machines.

I think that I absolutely have to agree with this statement that the brain is undervalued, no one ever thinks about it (though we think with it). That, and PPE, which is great all around. A lot of people just don’t think about their safety glasses, their gloves, their hearing protection, etc., but where would we be, as humans, without these innovations? It wouldn’t be a very safe world, and I can safely say that with confidence.

Take a look at the mechanical grabber tool. :stuck_out_tongue: