Being prepared for competition is essential to any successful team, and that preparation comes from many aspects of FRC. This week our team wants to look into what supplies, kits, and common tools we need.
Common supplies we go through are angle, box (1x1 & 2x1), and sheet aluminum, nuts, and bolts.
We know there are always some tools that are cheap and we never seem to have enough of such as hex keys.
The golden questions:
If your team’s stockpile was empty, what supplies would you get before season and how much of it?
What are the best quality common tools to get and how many of those would you get?
Parts: I would add wheels and gearboxes and shafts to the suggestions above - enough stuff to build a drive train and some fairly standard intakes/launchers, or at least prototype them.
**Tools: **Depends on the size of your build team. 3946 usually has about around 20, including controls and programming.
Wrenches: Two or three combination sets, a socket set and a few adjustable wrenches of various sizes
Allen: skip the keys, get T-handles or at least screwdriver handle units with a stand/rack to store them. They’re a lot easier to find, and a bit harder to lose.
Riveter: You didn’t mention this, but if you use rivets, have a riveter that people can use for a while without getting hand cramps. On a modest budget, you may still be able to afford a two-handed riveter; Harbor Freight’s is only $20, and has lasts several years even under team use. Rather good ones are available for under $50.
Hammer and Mallet: different things, both highly useful. Note that a ball peen hammer is much more useful for shaping robot parts than a claw hammer. You may not need expensive ones, but do get tools with well-secured heads!
Bits and Blades and Batteries: I’m assuming you already have cutting and/or grinding tools (saws, drills, dremel, grinder, etc). Start the season with fresh blades, and enough spares to get you pretty much through the season. If they are battery operated, make sure you have enough batteries and chargers to stay ahead of most build days.
I have yet to be convinced that the Astro 1423 is not the correct answer. Very smooth, very durable, the cup holds spent mandrels, and at $27 it’s insanely affordable. The last two teams I’ve been on both bought them and were highly satisfied.
Some teams swear by drill-powered or air-powered rivet tools, which are fine and a separate discussion.
If you are looking to do a lot of riveting on your team, I’d recommend getting this pneumatic riveter for $40 from Harbor Freight:
Don’t use this as your only riveter (there are a few situations where manual riveters can get closer to inside corner), but if you have dozens or hundreds of rivets on your robot, a pneumatic riveter makes life way easier. The only drawback is this version will only handle up to 3/16" rivets, so if you want to use 1/4" rivets, you’ll need to get its bigger sibling:
1x1", 2x1" aluminum tubing
Versaframe Gussets of multiple varieties
Vex Pro Versaplanetary Ring Gear stages, planetary gear sets (2-4 of each), and 2-4 of the 1/2" HEX base stages. (these go out of stock in season a lot)
Versaplantary Encoders (2-3)
Sprockets - I always need some assortment of 12-15 tooth sprockets for 25 and 35 chain most years.
Locking Shaft Collars
New drill bits
New saw blades
New safety glasses