Where to Build
To build a robot, you are going to need a few things in a facility:
• A bathroom for long evenings
• Access to the building after school hours and potentially on weekends, hopefully heated
• A place to make a minor mess. Aluminum shavings, saw dust, noise.
• A place to drive your robot around when it is built.
• A place to store your robot and tools while you are away
• Access to the internet
Basic hygiene facilities available after hours and on weekends are very important.
As for building the robot, you will attempt to cleanup your minor mess, but don’t plan on removing aluminum shavings from carpet without some effort. A hard floor often times works better. You will also be making a great deal of noise from time to time, especially if you use a power miter saw to cut aluminum. Many teams setup the saws outside for cutting quantities.
The field that your robot operates on is usually about 56′ x 28′ in size. Think basketball court sized. Very very few teams have access to an area this size, so we tend to trying things out in cafeterias, hallways, or perhaps a clear area in a large classroom or shop. Most teams will build examples of important field elements, and fake the rest.
You will also need a safe place to store your robot, parts, and tools while you are away. The robot roughly 3’x3’x 5′ tall (depending on your design). The kit of parts comes as two large plastic tough boxes (3’x1.5’x1′). The tools are suitcase sized. Some robots are stored in lab space, a lockable store room in a shop, or left in someones personal basement.
Access to the internet is important as most of the documentation for the contest is stored online.
Ok, you might be asking yourself, what about the huge shop with milling machines, lathes, welding equipment, and the rest. Well, if you have access to those resources, use them! We know that many schools don’t have that equipment anymore, so it isn’t necessarily required. Having access to such tools does expand your possibilities. Finding someone outside of your school who can mill or machine a part for you on occasion is a huge help, but not a pre-requisite to getting your FIRST team started.
Part of engineering is working with the resources you have available and budget for. It creates great opportunities for creative thinking and resource management.
Examples of places to build your robot:
• High school shop
• High school physics lab
• High school theatre scene shop
• Parents garage
• Local machine shop
• Church basement
• Local company that can loan you space
Your FRC experience will be intense. Your students experience will be intense. You are going to permanently change the directions of some lives by doing this, and changing them in a most positive way. Thank you for participating. Please contact us if you are feeling overwhelmed. We can help.
You will have many more questions than we can put into a single document. Thats fine. We have lots of answers, and will be happy to answer them in an interactive way. PLEASE be sure we have a way to contact you. The following will allow you to send the FRC State Partner an email to get things started. If you are registered on this website, you should see our full contact information.