Assembly trchniques for roboteers with smaller / weaker fingers

I’ve got some smaller roboteers on a few teams and they struggle getting pins / corner parts in. (We have pliers, so they can get the pins out). They are fourth graders, but look like 3rd graders.

I’ve done some things like getting the pin started in the beam and then flipping it over so they can push on the beam, not just the pin. Other is to have long needle nose and a small hammer that they can hold and tap pins. Some parts like axles they can manage.

I’m looking for a collection of ideas that I can try with them.


Warming the collars by holding them in their hand for 10 secs does help a bit.

So it was the second build day (team is building Stretch). I picked up a pair of the small long nose needle nose pliers, a small flat blade screwdriver and a 5oz mini hammer from Harbor Freight. (Total outlay with my 20% off was < $10.

By putting the pin in the pliers they can position the pin over the hole and can now press down with multiple fingers on the jaws of the pliers.

For things that get multiple pins into a single piece changing the build order some allowed them to tap (gently) a multiple pin unit into place. Warming the collars in hands works, but holding them and blowing into the fist works a little better.

Also having a bigger roboteer start pins and have the smaller fingers push them into the final placement also works.

Using the screwdriver as a wedge and then tapping it with the hammer let them take some tough pieces apart. So this one team has become the goto team for disassembling parts for other teams.

Thanks for everyone that responded (here or via messages).