What is the best building material

My team has used simple 1 inch aluminum extrusion for the past 2 years. Are there any other materials that we should consider?

For… what?

Just general robot frame building. I see lots of teams using different stuff and I was just trying to find which ones people use and why.

I dont think that you can say that any specitic material is the “best” as it really depends on your team’s resources and what you can work with best.

As far as what we use, this is a list off of the top of my head:

2"x1" and 1"x"1 Versaframe
1/8" and 1/4" aluminum stock
1/8" and 1/4" polycarbonate stock
1/2" HDPE
1/2" Thunderhex

The reasoning for this material choice comes down to the manual and CNC machines we have in house as well as what our sponsors have available. Your mileage will vary depending in your team’s specific resources.


Most teams will use aluminum of varying dimensions and thicknesses. However, this year polycarb seems to be a big hit.

There are many, many ways to design and build a robot frame. There really is no “best” material, in the sense that there are many different variables which affect design choices, including stiffness, strength, price, density, ease of machining, chemical stability, accessibility, and so on.

While you’re most likely to see aluminum on a robot, this is not the be-all, end-all. I’ve seen robots constructed with nontrivial quantities of plywood, plastics (of many distinct and unique flavors), composites, and on and on and on.

Realistically, selection of material is a critical part of the design process and generally requires a weighing of tradeoffs, as opposed to simply picking a “best” or “worst.” There might be a best material for an extremely specific application, but that doesn’t generalize well, even to a design-space as compact as FRC.

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It’s hard to argue against pre-stressed concrete.


90% of our robot is made from 1/16" 5052 aluminum sheet cut on our router

The other 10% is 1/16" Aluminum tube of sorts (2x1, 1x1)

I think one of the best building materials for friendships is kindness


The best building materials are the materials you have.

Well, have and can manipulate.

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And the best materials might change with the robot design concept, which changes with the game. We generally stick to aluminum, wood, and plastic, but the proportions change. This year, plastic and wood are big, last year, aluminum was the main component.

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