Best kit in terms of value for 2 teams?

So for the next VEX Season (2015-2016), I’m starting two teams, with about 5 kids each.

I have 2 Cortexes, about 8 motors, and a fair bit of metal, gears, sprockets, and screws but I know I’ll need a lot more for two teams.

I’m logistically planning now and am wondering what kits on VEX give me the most bang for my buck. I intend for these 2 teams to be competitive in the state, and I want to put the kids in as good a position as possible materials wise.

Would just purchasing the $999.99 Super kit be the best, or would I be better suited to purchasing the Mechatronics or Programming Kits?

I may be wrong, but if I’m not mistaken, the only difference between the Super Kit and the Mechatronics/Programming Kits is that the Super Kit comes with both the Mechatronics Add-on Kit and the Programming Add-On Kit. If you already have 2 Cortexes, it might be a better value to buy, for example, both the Mechatronics Add-On Kit and Programming Add-On Kit (total ~$500), then buy 2 Structure Booster Kits (~$360), then maybe buy a couple motors, batteries, and various other components. You could even do what we did (this was our first year as well) and just buy a ton of generalized kits to start and order individual parts as needed.

EDIT: Also, hey there, NOVA1!

You seem to have the expensive parts of the kits so I am wondering if they are the value you want. You may want to look at a robot this year and

You have two cortexes and I assume two joysticks. So let me go through the rest of the kit and you can decide.

The super kits all come with steel frame rails that are shorter than 17.5" so that loses some of the value for you as well. The wheels are not the grippy type either but you do get some big omnis. So you will end up buying some wheels and metal anyway.

This was the first game I can remember using a claw as much. So depending upon the game next year, a claw may be used or it could be extra items on a bull if you know what I mean. That’s a wait and see.

Kits come with low strength gears primarily too. But has some chain in there so that helps a bit. Luckily sprockets can now be ordered in specific sizes.

New teams don’t always utilize the sensors in the kits so you may be over-purchasing there too.

And the final element - no aluminum. So count on purchasing them separately.

The new keys are expensive items and that brings value back to the kits.

it is really hard to say what is the best all the time. it really just depends on what your kids want to build. if your kids have not done vex much before, this would probably be a great choice to get ideas rolling and to get them used to programming and vex parts. once the teams have a more solid ideas thought up, sketched up and partially prototyped up, I would say would be the time to get a few more of those specific parts for that build. just getting this kit with the parts you have will not be enough for 2 teams and one season if you want to do good in states and other challenges.

double check that this has the programming software you need (I didn’t see it) and a reliable computer. I would recommend easyc unless you have someone on your team who is specifically interested in programming and has some background knowledge about it. then I would get robot c which has more potential.

good luck with the two teams.

Of my two Cortexes, I had one joystick as the other was just for my own personal projects. I do have a lot of other metal and what not that I loaned to some of these kids, who used it this year for building at their school team. They want to go private and are reclaiming the stuff I loaned them.

I know when I initially bought the stuff I had started with the clawbot kit and bought 2 booster kits. I should still have a good amount of metal, but if all of my years of robotics has told me, I’ll always be missing something. Aluminium I will probably purchase. More motors is also a big thing I’ll be purchasing.

The kids I’ll be coaching aren’t new to robotics, (all 10 I’ve mentored in VEX IQ, some I checked in and helped out when I could on their VEX team).

Most things in terms of sensors I’ll stick with Encoders early on, maybe a potentiometer or gyroscope. They were more adept at the coding aspects than I thought in RobotC.

I think I have one random VEXNet 2.0 key, and I’ll probably end up getting a 7 more, to have a complete set of 8.

Thanks for all the advice.

As others have stated, you have the expensive parts. I would buy some additional motors and then wait until the game come out. Have the kids design and just buy what you need. There does not seem to be a whole lot of savings in the kits if you already have the cortex.

I might have missed it - but which age group?

Regardless, I would put a different spin on this. You have 10 kids two kits. Does not give you the flexibility for three scenarios:

  • backup critical systems if joystick/cortex fail
  • demonstration/prototype system - nice to have for programming and other rapid prototypes without having to tear down existing competition robot
  • split up of teams - kids a social critters. With five on a team, you might run into the “too many cooks” and personality clashes. Having a third option to diffuse such situations is good.

Our school’s robotics program has been scaling in the two years. The metal is a commodity - but the critical pieces of cortex and game controller are key in your flexibility.

Super kit is over kill - mechatronic classroom is a nice set. As others have mentioned:

  • motors!
  • long metal kits (AL) -

Knowing what to get that is game specific will have to wait until the new game is announced for 2015-2016 in April.

These kids are going to be 6th and 7th graders when I start the team as soon as the game is released.

In the 2 years I’ve spent mentoring this group, I don’t think I’ve found anyone with as much cohesiveness as these guys. And that’s over my 8 years of doing VEX.

I do need to purchase the 2nd joystick, as I only have one. I fear the event where either of my Cortexes fail. I also need to purchase the VEXNet keys. And with about 7 motors in commission for the 6th graders who do VEX, I need to purchase a lot more motors, upwards of 15.

I could get 1 or 2 booster kits and that would solve a lot. And then maybe some aluminum kits.

We won’t start building primarily until the game is released, but my experience has led me to believe that having practice building other subsystems and getting more building and programming experience will yield better results. There’s always something to be done. There’s always a need for metal, gears, wheels, etc.

In addition to everything else, make sure you have plenty of batteries and chargers. I suggest having at least 2X the batteries needed for the bots so at competitions the team is always using fresh batteries. This goes for the 7.2v robot batteries as well as the AAA batteries for the controllers. The AAAs and chargers for them can be purchased other places and you can get better batteries for less money.

When the new kits first came out we did some analysis of the cost. IIRC we found that for $1000 (super kit) you get about $1500 in parts if ordered separately.

Clawbot dual control kit is good value IMHO. The chassis and wheels are not that useful in the long term but for $500 you get some good parts.

cortex
joystick
2 VEXnet keys
4 motors
2 MC29
Claw
battery
charger

These parts alone would be $630 if bought individually. Even if you consider that a vexnet bundle (cortex, joystick and keys) can be bought for $400 the above would be a $550 value. With the clawbot you get some good parts with wheels, gears and the chassis thrown in for free.

You might also want to look at what I did with the “open source robot”
https://vexforum.com/showpost.php?p=330260&postcount=1

Just finished our third season for 6030, and season two for 6030J and 6030B- you can never have too many motors or motor controllers. We thought were were set with 12 each- 10 on every robot and 2 extras. I think there is maybe 1 extra motor left… Also, we had a CPU breakdown from J, but we got the thing used, so you could be ok on a backup if its a relatively new CPU. I strongly recommend omniwheels and extra steel and gear/ sprocket kits. as a leisure or future item: power expander- you can run a robot more efficiently longer (kind of requires an extra charger and 2 backup batteries though)

Summary:
Just get more metal and more green parts- and definitely get some extra motors.

I entirely forgot about this. I actually just remembered that when I bought all my own personal stuff that I loaned to my 6th graders, that I initially bought the dual control kit and added more metal by buying booster kits.

I will need a ton of motors and batteries now that I think about it.