Starting an FTC team

In our Boy Scout troop, troop 528, we wish to find better information about registration for ftc than is on

How do you start a team?
What do we have to buy as a team?
Is there a minimum amount of people required to have a team?
How do we register, and what is the event for Florida?
Also, how much money is this gona cost us in all?

Welcome! FIRST tech Challenge is a great program! I would recommend contacting your local Florida FIRST Tech Challenge Affilaite Partner, Michael Coleman (michael DOT coleman AT flfirst DOT org ). He can help you get started, explain the game and the details for joining. Team registration begins in May!

Well, i’ll try and answer as many questions as possible.

To start a team, you decide to start a team, signup, pay, and bam, ur an FTC team.

Right now FTC is going through a platform change. This year we built on the VEX robotics system but next year, we will be building on another kit, slightly better and more expensive.

There isn’t a minimum, but there a 10 people maximum.

You would register at and then you have to separately register for your regional/event. You local regional can be found at this link: . Note: you may have to travel. Teams come from all over and sometimes teams go to multiple regionals. You may also want to think about attending the Georgia Regional.

OK, so the first fee is roughly $300. Signing up for the regional is roughly $100. The new kits next year will be roughly $1000. Then teams always need to order spare parts and extra add-ons to the kits to make them better. So, assume you spend at least $500 on additional parts. So you’re looking at roughly $2000, give or take. Fund raising is a huge part of FIRST. This can include local sponsors and some teams do fundraising activities.

Hope this helped. FTC is truly great. It allows for kids/teens to build a great robot, without having the hassle of the huge FRC robot, and without the financial responsibilties of FRC. FTC has amazing games that challenge teams’ thought power.

NOTE: Most teams have team shirts. Which will also cost you.

some useful links besides FIRST’s website


This year, the team registration fee was $275. The registration fee for regional events varies widely – here in Washington it was free, so do not count on that $100. I’d be willing to bet a small PWM cable that the basic kit cost will be less than $1,000. FIRST hasn’t named a price, but I have heard from people at FIRST who know about these things that the target minimum price for the first year is “about $1,000,” but this was in the context of total price, not for just the hardware kit. I do agree that you should expect to spend about $1,500 for one first-year team, if our experience with the VEX version of FTC is any indication. We’ve spent about $4,500 over two years on parts and registration fees, and we now have enough Vex parts to field four complete competition robots.

If you have specific questions, please ask. I think an FTC team for a Boy Scout Troop, or even a Venturing Crew, is a great idea. It costs about the same per participant as going to summer camp, and it’s way cheaper than Philmont! Actually, I generally find that a year of FTC, without travel expenses, costs about the same as a season of Little League, and is much cheaper than youth hockey or football.

Mr. Coleman is the person in charge of FTC in Florida. Just PM me and I can get you his info. He is full of information and helpful tips.

On the FTC blog we thought they were saying it might be $1,000. But you’re saying that wouldn’t include registration into the program or into an event? How can that be? The teams we have spoken to in our area have told us they’ve been competing in FTC using Vex for between $500 and $1000 total, which is what we’ve been trying to budget to start teams next year.
It sounds on here like starting 1 single FTC team will cost $1500-2000. That just seems crazy, the reason we were doing FTC is because we didn’t want to need to fundraise and get sponsors like we did in FRC, which made us have to quit.
If it sounds like Vex is still going to have events in many areas, it seems like that would be a better, cheaper and more proven option for a new school starting like ours. What are we missing that I can’t see, we’ve only got a few days to decide? We have about $2,000 and really wanted to have 2 or 3 teams for the class next year, but it sounds here like we can barely do 1 FTC team for that amount.

You cannot compete in FTC even in the Vex program for $500: Registration: $275, software $100, one parts kit (most teams buy two): $210, battery pack $50. The absolute minimum is $635. Adding some more batteries, the second kit most teams buy, and another transmitter the total comes to about $1,000. You can build a Vex FTC robot for $600, but I doubt it would ever win an event. Our competition robots all use between $140 and $200 just for motors and servos. Add tank tracks – add money. Buy a bigger chassis kit – more money. Omni wheels cost either $20 or $25 for a pair.

I don’t see why you would think it would take $2000 to build a single FTC robot with the new system. I can tell you that FIRST thinks you can buy a competitive kit with registration for $1,000 or so. That’s pretty close to the current amount teams really spend. We tend to spend pretty freely on our team, so I said $1,500 as an upper end. I really have no ACTUAL facts, except that a senior manager at FIRST said their target is $1k. I don’t think we’ll learn much more until we get to Atlanta.

Teams I talked to in California said they’ve entered competitive bots with under $500 in Vex parts, so I’m sure it can be done even if others are spending more. Rick is right about the reg fee, it has been $275, so at least while Vex was part of FTC you really couldn’t do it for less than $700 - $800. But the Vex announcements in the Vex forum sound like the new events will be much cheaper, and if that’s the case, then schools may be able to build and enter robots for $500-600 each. I hope so, that would help us start more teams and build more robots. Our school had to decide, and we’re going with Vex next year since we know it’s good and it’s cheaper. has lots of good information on it also, so you might want to check that out.

I wish FIRST would give more details about what exact parts are in the kit and what the prices will be. I also wish Vex would give more information about the virtual or online competition they announced. If it’s free or cheap and has cool competitions, that could be really big too, but it’s hard to tell with the little they mentioned about it.

This being a Boy Scout troop, that won’t be too much of a problem. The “Class B” (troop T-shirts that some troops use) would work. Or even the full uniform, minus neckerchief (safety reasons).

So team shirts can be pretty easy for them.

If you look at this thread from 2006 ( and scroll down to Skimoose’s post, he outlines what the costs were for the average team two years ago. I think much of it still holds true; I tell people that they can expect to spend between $1500 and $2000 to launch a team. Competitions range from free to $300, depending on how much sponsorship the event planners can get. My event here in CT was $300 last year and $225 this year; I think the MA event was also $225.

We started a new FTC team this past fall. We went into it thinking we needed around $500 based on what we read on the website. We ended up spending close to $2,000. What we didn’t know until later was that you need to purchase 2 kits if you want to have 2 controllers. You need 2 of a lot of things. At our competition, we spoke to a couple of veteran teams that stated they purchased a lot of stuff on ebay a lot cheaper. We will try that next year. I am sure you CAN do it for $500, but you would only have one controller, not 2 and you would have to build on the small chasis rather than a larger one. We were pretty consientious with our spending, but it was very close to $2,000 by the time all was said and done. We also wasted some money on over night shipping as the competition grew closer. Then we found out we were allowed to use equivalent parts and we could have gotten some stuff at the local hardware store. LOL Live and learn! :slight_smile:

You can do a fundraiser through Innovation First and sell hexbugs. They are microcomputer bugs that react to sound and touch. They sell for $10. The team makes $5 - 5.50 profit depending on how many you order. They sell pretty easy! This really helped us earn the additional money needed. Visit for more information.

We ared a jr. high team, and really enjoyed this competition. I wish FIRST would have this as their official jr. high program.

If you are starting a team in 2008, don’t go overboard on buying materials as it will be the last year they are using VEX. There will be a new platform after Dec. 2008.

The new platform is being released right now on the blog, will debut in Atlanta in two weeks, and will be the platform used for the new season. Team registration is expected to open in May 2008, the new platform kits start shipping out in August, with the game release in September, and competitions running from November 2008 through February 2009.

Thank you for your responses, we will take this into consideration t see if we wil start a team next year.

Yeah. It mostly will come down to basic costs which will be definetly around $1000-$1500. Then after that it is mainly extra parts. I don’t know how much stuff is in the kits. But, my team was working out of roughly five vex kits, and we still had to order roughly $600 of additional VEX parts.

Thank you once again!

if you need any help make sure to signup and post on FTC Lab, we hope to get many members