Tools to Build a World Championship Robot
A Visit to Our Workshop
Although most rookie teams will not need more than just the basic set of tools to build a very competitive robot, several first and second year teams have asked us to share the tools that we use to build our robot, so we decided to share our workshop and the tools that we use to build our robot with you.
Plan on Building Out the Tools Over Many Seasons
Before we jump in, we just want to note that we built out our workshop over many years, and it might be worthwhile for other teams to think about how they develop their workshop over several seasons. Some teams may have access to the workshop of a former team, and these teams should try to utilize these resources as much as possible. You may also want to be on the look out for sponsors who might be willing to provide you with the tools for your workshop. For example, we got our 3D printer from 3-D Systems when they were sponsoring FIRST teams a couple years ago.
Also, it’s important that you train all the team members in the proper techniques required to use the various tools safely and efficiently. During the first year for our team members, each team member goes through a six-week training workshop over the summer where they learn how to use the tools to manufacture some basic parts out of aluminum and polycarbonate.
Some of the more complex programmable tools such as the 3-D printer and the CNC milling machine are used by a select set of team members who know to use them well. Also, as part of our training and development plan for the team, each team member learns how to use some new tools or new features of familiar tools each season.
A Tour of Our Workshop
Here is a quick video tour of our workshop.
Tools in Our Workshop
If you are interested in finding out more about the tools that we have shown in the video, you can click on any of the links below to get to the tools on Amazon.com and other online stores. These links don’t necessarily link to the products that we have in our workshop, so they should be used only as a reference, but the linked products are very similar to our tools. You may find tools in each category that are cheaper and meet your budget.
Drill Press and Saws
Metal & Polycarbonate Benders
- Metal Bender – 12 inch Pan and Box Brake
- Polycarbonate Heater (used to heat polycarbonate so that it will bend easily)
This blog & video is not intended to cover the proper and safe use of these tools. Please ensure that you take proper precautions to operate the machinery safely using safety equipment, such as safety glasses and earmuffs, to protect yourself. Safety should always be your number one priority!
Feedback is welcome!
We hope this blog gave you a good introduction to the tools that we use in our workshop to build out a world-class robot, and that you can apply these concepts to your own workshop. We are eager to hear back from you on tools that you use or are considering using that are not on the list above.