setting up a new club: the process and the materials needed?

Hey chief delphine how you going today. I was wandering if some people could help me. I need some people to explain to me the process and the materials needed to set up a new frc club.
(Future head of the frc team: Crazy cows(switzerland))

See if any of this helps:

I would talk to FRC team 4481 Team Rembrants who also is based on the European Continent (I believe in the Netherlands). They will probably be best able to help you with European specific challenges (travel, ordering parts, etc.).

As far as in general, you will likely need money to register the team, buy parts for the robot, help with travel costs and much more. Team budgets vary, with the lower end running off of about $10000 - $15000 American, and an average team probably spending ~$25000 per year. I’m guessing because of being in Europe, you’ll need to strive for a bit more than the lower end to be able to compete at all, so finding sources of revenue for the team through sponsoring companies, support of the schools in the area or diligent fundraising will be important.

Second, is mentors. Almost all sustainable teams have at least a handful of technical and non-technical mentors. While every team structures the interaction between mentors and students differently, most teams will agree that having the guidance and leadership of mentors is invaluable. You can maybe reach out to technical companies to see if any of them have volunteer programs and could send mentors over. Our team has personally recruited mentors from the parents of our students. I’m sure others have plenty of ideas for this.

Third, and most important, is students. Do you have a school or community group from which you can get students? How do you plan on advertising to them and ensuring that people actually show up?

BTW, this is the contact page on the rembrants website. I don’t want to speak for them, but, if I remember correctly, they are the ones that want to get an FRC regional in Europe soon, so they would likely be willing to help you out.

With thanks to Team Combustion (1912), the three essential ingredients of the team are:

  • Students
  • Mentors
  • Sponsors

Sponsors - provide resources. These include not only money, but can include equipment, expertise, mentor references, build space, travel/food/business expenses, and more. One thing to remember is that it’s a lot easier to market to a sponsor if you refer to yourself as a team (focusing on going to competitions and exposure of advertising to the rest of the world) than a club (which implies that you stay in your own room and do your own thing). Some sponsors may also provide access to unique outreach and recruiting possibilities.

Mentors - provide guidance and (especially the first few years) leadership. Some teams get by with a single hyperactive mentor, but most teams hope to have a mentor for every three to five student team members; this spreads the load, reduces mentor burnout, and provides more time for small group or even one-on-one student development. Don’t forget that you need business-side mentors (finance, marketing, logistics) as well as technical mentors (programming, wiring, pneumatics, mechanical).

Students - The whole point of the team. Focus on recruiting students who are passionate - they’ll continue the recruiting process with just a few nudges. To begin, you will probably want to accept everyone who applies. Make it clear from the get-go that team membership is a privilege - that people who break the rules and distract from team activities can and will be released. Once you achieve a bit of success (and do some flashy outreach), you will find that you have more students interested than you can work with (this happened our fourth year). When this happens, front-load the “drudgery” parts of doing robotics so that you keep the ones who really WANT to be there.

There are also likely some interesting legal aspects to work through - if your team does not have a sponsoring organization (e.g. a high school or service club), you will want to establish one. In the US, this would be a not-for-profit corporation; I don’t know what the appropriate Dutch analog is. This organization needs to provide a contact point, open bank and vendor accounts, pay registration fees, arrange transportation and housing, and perhaps secure some liability insurance for both build and travel. This is really not something that should be done in an individual’s name.

On a side note there are 2 FRC teams in England.

One of them is:

Would this be a team in England, or Switzerland?

I have some advice to offer about the money and business side of a FRC team.

I would recommend getting companies to sponsor you and to apply for as many grants as you can to ensure that you can buy all of the things necessary. Beware that after about 2 or 3 years, the grants that you can apply for go down quite a lot, so it is best to gather a solid group of sponsors before the grants run out. Any company can sponsor a robotics teams whether they provide food for long build days, tools and equipment to build the robot or money in general. Don’t limit yourself in asking just for money. It would also be a nice gesture to send a letter or an email to the company to thank them for sponsoring your team. The company will be more likely to sponsor you in the future and it maintains contact with the company.

I would also make up a general budget of how much money you take in and spend and to keep track of it and to document it. This will help you in the future so you can show the evolution of your your team’s financial aspects and how much you spend as your team grows.

I also would make some type of a Business Plan just to use as a guideline of where you want your team to be. You can also keep track of your team’s stats such as student and mentor participation as well financial stuff. This will also benefit you in the future when you want to look back at this kind of stuff to chart the overall growth of the whole team.

One last thing to recommend is to try and come up with a team image. Things like team colors, a logo, official document templates will all help your team keep a consistent and professional image.

My apologies that this is so long but there is quite a bit to talk about. If you want, I’ll be able to send you some examples of the things I talked about so you can look at them in greater detail.

Good luck from team #862, Lightning Robotics!

The ideal facility would be about 20 meters square with a five meter ceiling. One-quarter would have a machine shop, one-quarter meeting and designing and programming and light build space, and the other half would be the practice field. We manage with a rather large science classroom (about a quarter that size) that we have to turn back into a classroom after each build session, and about a dozen spaces worth of parking lot. Make sure you have enough power and lighting, and wash facilities.

Tools: a chop saw or band saw and a bench press are essential, as well as wrenches, pliers, clamps, hammers, screwdrivers, wire strippers and crimpers, pencils/sharpies, and hand drills/screwdrivers. A grinder, reciprocating saw, sander, jig saw, and computers better than the classmate provided to rookie teams are on the first follow-up tool lists. You will need admin computer(s) for team organization, and researching/ordering parts as well as programming/design workstations.

Remember that in addition to building a robot (most startup teams use aluminum extrusion or a building system like Versaframe), you will need to build a practice field. Get a roll of carpet, lumber, plywood, and tools necessary to fabricate your practice field, too.

Organization - shelves, toolboxes, shop vac, broom, dustpan, trash can, dry-erase boards and/or bulletin boards, work benches, desks, a small filing cabinet.

Stock and hardware - you may want to start light if you’re on a typical introductory budget, but eventually you’ll want to build up metal stock, gearboxes, motors, fasteners, sensors, pneumatic cylinders and other components, rolls of wire, electrical connectors of various sizes, motor controllers, cable ties, pipe clamps, and more.

First year’s budget: registration and travel are mandatory and the easiest numbers to calculate. A bare-bones budget above these would be roughly equal to the registration cost (another $5000US); strive to get to about three or four times this amount within a very few years. A bigger budget not only means better robots, but more capability for outreach and inspiration, which is really the point of FIRST.

Switzerland but in English

Thanks guys this has been really helpful

I grew up internationally and I love international representation from outside of North America, Israel, Australia and Brazil have created some very well established international teams. This is going to be quite costly, but the international community is extremely supportive.

Estimating the budget here (All USD):
Event Registration $6000

Tools and Materials: $4000-$6000
Being international, shipping times & prices do not work in your favor, you’ll want to buy as much ahead of kickoff as possible, source your Aluminum and Hardware locally, and buy a good variety of materials from Andymark and Vexpro ahead of time. You are limited to $4,000 in actual parts on your competition robot.

Travel: $20,000-$40,000
Its probably most cost effective to go to the Israeli regional if you can get your visa’s in order.

Just make sure you talk to FIRST HQ to give them a heads up and make sure all of your bases are covered with Visas and Customs. I have contact info if needed.

Don’t call yourselves a Club. Call yourselves a Team. Sponsors will look at the two very differently in most cases and calling yourselves a Team will make finding money and building recognition in the community easier.