Your SINGLE Favorite Purchase of 2024 (2023-2024 Season)?

I’m going to start a new annual series for teams to choose and discuss their SINGLE favorite purchase of the year related to robotics. This can be a single tool, machine, part, etc. You can include anything that made your life easier or was valuable to you.

If you absolutely can’t narrow down to ONE item, you can categorize by:

  1. Favorite tool/machine/part/mechanism (robot/pit related)
  2. Favorite creature comfort item (bleacher seats, shoes, organizer)

Please be sure to add a purchase link if available, and add a review of pros and cons.

I’ll start!

My personal single favorite purchase of the season was this DeWalt 20v compatible cordless hot glue gun

Pros: cordless, works with our existing batteries, fast heat up time, has a silicone cover on the tip to avoid burning hands and/or wires in tight spaces

Cons: didn’t have an auto shut off, only switch controlled

Highly recommend folks pick up one of these (or any similar Amazon brand). I was skeptical how well it would work with our DeWalt brand name batteries, but so far it has been an awesome addition to our tools.

I’d love to see what people recommend others get!

19 Likes

My favorite was a GameSir G7 se for me to drive with. Night and day difference between the logitech f310 we were using before. I was able to make the bot move at a crawl pace and still control it perfectly.

6 Likes

I must say that the molex locking connectors that we had this year were quite nice and I liked them a lot. I was told by returning electrical members that our old crimper was extremely hard to use and the new molex crimper and housings, at least to me, were really nice and easy to use. The locking connectors were also really nice, as we didn’t need any of the clips to hold the connections together. However, we did not make the full switch this year and suffered because of it, since we forgot to secure the molex to non-molex connections with zip ties and they came undone twice at worlds. You also have to have a system for crimping them as it does matter which side the yellow and green wires are on. But, I think that overall they were extremely useful and nice to have, and great for wire management (my new favorite thing). Definitely will be super useful next year when we make the full switch.

Krakens were nice too ofc, and we didn’t have driving problems with vortices either. Both motors worked really well for us on robot.

6 Likes

my personal favorite were pit fans! having some nice cool air and circulation helped a lot, especially at houston (although, the temperatures inside the GRB were pretty nice and cool). these are a must have in my opinion.

more tool related items, it has to be the dewalt rivet gun. makes riveting things so so much easier and faster and consistent.

9 Likes

Gulikit KK3 Controller. So much better than any controller we’ve had before in terms of drift, customization, etc. Only slight downside was that it likes to go to sleep at inopportune times

2 Likes
  1. Krakens (:goat:)
    image

  2. Maroon Allbirds (:capricorn:)

20 Likes

Technically not a purchase because it was FIRST Choice, but I am now team Molex, and the crimper improved our reliability with those types of connectors drastically. Highly recommend.

9 Likes

Bambu Labs X1E, we loved it so much we went out and got 4 more (But you can substitute and bambu labs printer)

12 Likes

Dewalt and Milwaukee electric rivet guns. Gamechangers.

23 Likes

We bit the bullet and bought a super pit road case, it’s a breath of fresh air when it comes to packing and unloading for comps. The only regret is we didn’t buy a second one, but that’s for the next round of fundraising.

Second place is the Milwaukee rivet gun, my god what a difference it makes.

5 Likes

THIS Big ol CNC router we used to cut pretty much everything for our bot and many parts for neighboring teams.

4 Likes


This guy is sooooo nice for tread swaps and just speeds up assembly for other things too.

(Linus Tech Tips ratcheting screwdriver)

Pros:
Awesome grip, holds 12 bits, great ratchet, great customer support

Cons:
Expensive and nearly everyone helping with assembly will want one

23 Likes
  1. Favorite tool/machine/part/mechanism (robot/pit related)
    https://a.co/d/0QKFZk7
    Solder Seal connectors - Way faster and easier than trying to solder and then properly heat shrink CAN wires. 22AWG ones took only a couple seconds under a heatgun to properly melt and solder together. Preferred if we needed to make a permanent connection and didnt want to deal with wagos coming loose at awful times.

10AWG ones worked, but took significantly longer to heat up properly. It was easy to melt the insulation before getting the solder to full wet out if you tried to go too fast.

  1. Favorite creature comfort item (bleacher seats, shoes, organizer)
    https://a.co/d/1zY12Jk
    Collapsible stools - I saw 987 had a bunch of these hanging off their robot cart at SVR. We bought them after that and they’ve been great to just keep around the pit or with the robot cart. We had camp chair before but they’re just a lot bulkier and arent as quick to set up(which just means we almost never used them).
4 Likes

100% the VEVOR Pneumatic Tapping Machine

24 Likes

Mainly quality of life upgrades that weren’t the espresso machine.

Drawers for the pit from Global Industrial. Perfect fit for our setup.

WB606958BK

WB606957BK

Pit lighting that we mounted so they are permanent and fold in for transport. We ended up diffusing them with this product so they were less harsh on the eyes.

13 Likes

DeWalt 20V LED Worklight
https://a.co/d/6xOkcni

Just perfect for all those moments where you need more light on robot internals while in the pit. Just bright enough, just large enough, and a lights a wide enough area.

3 Likes

Okay, I’m going to cheat a bit here because we got this last season but lost it until this season: a good soldering station
https://www.amazon.com/X-Tronic-3020-XTS-Digital-Display-Soldering/dp/B01DGZFSNE

I have no idea of this is the best, but we have a Hako and a bunch of other ones that we just burn through too quickly and don’t really function. This is the best one I have used while on the team, and it’s actually lasted! I would have preferred it to come apart a bit easier and a replaceable iron, but used properly ots great

7 Likes
  1. As a person who makes bumpers (6 bumpers so far in 2024 :neutral_face: more likely coming for the offseason bots) the Battery-powered Milwaukee Staple Gun had a very positive impact on my quality of life

  2. AIR FORCE 1 LXX ‘MARS YARD’

25 Likes
  1. The Peak Designs Capture Clip changed my workflow for media in a huge way this season. It allowed me to go hands free with a camera securely, and carry two bodies at worlds and other events so I could have a greater range of options. Recommend if camera straps seem too loose and floppy for running around.

  2. Doc Marten’s 1460 8 eye boots

9 Likes

Highly agree with these!

Not already mentioned - organizing containers with removable bins like these from home depot. It makes re-arranging screws so much easier, and we designed and printed extra bins for some of the smaller screws.

image

5 Likes