I was just wondering which teams are going where, First tech challenge or innovation first for next year. I guess I can start off by saying neither because I will probably be busy in school next year (senior this year)

Its way too early to decide. I discussed this issue on CD

I agree, it is way too early. Most likely, we will do both because FTC looks good from what I’ve seen so far, but we still have all of the vex stuff laying around, so why not put a quick bot together and see how we do.

Until i get to see the entire new FTC platform, I’m not going to make any assumptions. I’m keeping my options open for now.

I’m a senior so I’ll be a mentor next year but i know my team will continue with FTC and probably do a little with VEX since we have some stuff already

As with mister_T I am also a senior so I guess next year I will be with any team that I can find to help out. As to what our school’s teams will do, well we don’t know yet.

ill most likely be doing FTC and then vex as a hobby…considering i like FTC but i have $1K worth of vex so…

also unless they have a vex competition in ontario (preferably in the GTA) then i cant really do any Vex competitions

This was the big talk at PA FTC and I agree it is to early to decide. My initial thoughts is to do both, if I can afford it. This will be the big factor in the decision. I have already invested a lot of time and money into Vex and will not get rid of it. I think Vex is a great product for the cost and flexibility and should not be pushed aside already, especially with the new controllers coming out.

Discussion revolved around starting a Vex League in the Philly area. I have scrimmaged with two other teams on a Saturday and we had a great time and the only cost were the robots and the field which can get reused. This is where teams need to band together rather than to just wait for the FTC tournaments.

The new platform looks intriguing. I am concerned about the projected base cost of $1000. What will that include? How much will replacements cost? What extras will be available? Can we reuse parts? Will there be custom fabrication? Will they be able to get tournaments to run? Tournament coordinators have invested money and time into Vex and to be told two years later you have to buy new stuff. How long will FIRST use this new kit? FIRST will have to answer several questions before I commit to FTC. As the saying goes “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”

where did you hear about a projected base cost of 1K? I think that’s affordable for most teams

Starting a local league is easy.

Yes - It really is easy.

Build a dirt-cheap field out of PVC, corrugated plastic or peg board, and zip-ties.

Make the field elements in school workshops or a neighbor’s garage.

Find a school classroom, parking lot or unused strip mall warehouse for the location.

Invite (by telephone call) every team within a 2-hour drive. Charge them next to nothing.

Use a stopwatch, the honor system, and turning transmitters on/off to separate autonomous operation from operator controlled. Use one person from the participants to be the referee.

If 6-8 robots from 4-6 teams show up, you have a local league.

Schedule a match for every month or two and you have an entire school year of fun.

It is just exactly that easy and can be done on a budget of less than $500. Given one month’s notice, anyone reading this should be able to create a local tournament that adheres to all the important rules of competition on-the-field.

Get your aunt, uncle, cousin or neighbor to be a judge and you can start giving out pats-on-the-back for performance off the field.

BasicXMan - Don’t wait for a tournament to come to you - Create a tournament. Ken - You too.


The 1k projected starter kit cost was posted on chiefdelphi. I think most experienced and top-middle tier teams spend a great deal more than that on VEX, so that cost isn’t too big of a deal. What concerns me is the add-ons and extra parts. I really don’t want to see FTC become open with its parts like FRC. If this occurs, it becomes the teams with the best fundraising and best machining that wins the competition.

Just look at the difference between FRC robots. Compare a top-tier high budget FRC robot like 1114, 25, 968, etc… with a team that has just enough funding for registeration to one event. One robot looks like its made by professional engineers (even though in most cases this is not the case), and the other looks like a bunch of parts thrown together.

Fred I don’t think that you are making an apples on apples comparison.

Let’s speculate that the for $1000 of the FTC equipment, you get the equivalent of $600 worth of the Vex (Starter+extras) equipment.

This is completely a wild guess. The $1000 of FTC stuff might be roughly equal to only $200 of Vex parts, or it might be roughly equal to $1500 of Vex parts - The point of this message isn’t getting that ratio corrrect.

Now, let’s suppose you are a robotics team that typically spends $500 on new parts each new season (to replace whatever wore out or was broken/cut last season (you might spend thousands more on travel and entry fees).

Well, first you have to spend your $1000 to buy an FTC basic Kit. Then you have to spend some large amount more to buy this season’s extra parts.

So… your budget of a few thousand dollars for travel, registration and new parts just got hit with perhaps $1000 to $1500 in extra expenses for new parts that you don’t have in your budgets.

The question is not whether you have a large (or small) total budget. The question is “Do you have even more money to spend on buying both new “starter” kits and additional parts?” That **extra **money is not just sitting around waiting to be spent.


Blake, I agree that $1000 for a starter kit is a big cost for newer or less funded teams. This cost will essentially weed out teams with 2-3 kids who aren’t associated with a school and are just doing this has a hobby. Also, some schools will definitely have a problem with a team suddenly pouring thousands of dollars into a new kit. I don’t like it any more than you do, and expect FIRST will make a detailed explaination of exactly why they replaced VEX with their “better” kit.

However, it is possible in a team for the kids to foot the bill for transportation. That is what a lot of teams, including mine, does. The area I live in is relatively wealthy, and I believe if kids have to pay their own way to go to Atlanta, they will appreciate it more, as well as take it more seriously.

This leaves around $2000 (for registeration, kit, and extra parts) to be fundraised. Although this is not at all a small number, it is still possible after an entire summer of fundraising. I’m assuming FIRST will make some type of guarentee that the parts will be used for at least 5 years. This means teams with less funding can accumulate parts and eventually have a very high-budget robot.

Yes, once you get over the initial hump, it’s not bad. We’ve never had trouble with getting teams to come from everywhere and nowhere – if you host it, they will come.

One advantage of Vex that we’re seeing is in the Bridge Battle description; anyone is welcome to use the game free of charge. No $275 registration fee means that our team can send out as many bots as we have parts for (2, hopefully 3 next year). That means 3 times as many students can get their hands on a bot.

I have been assured by a Vex rep that they will create at least one, possibly 2 new games every year. If they have a World Championship every year (similar to this year’s event in Northridge, CA), it is possible that some of the regional events may be able to advance a team to the Championship. If not, you still have plenty of chances for students to participate locally.

Hey look on the bright side, if there is a new ftc platform and teams are forced to move to the other kit it will open a large cheap parts market for non ftc competitors.

As in a cheap parts market i am referring to “ebay”.

If teams need money and they have a lot of vex stuff they could just sell it on ebay and get half of the money or more that they need.

I don’t compete and i will stick with vex because i don’t make die hard robots, unless the ftc kit includes a lot of parts which in that case i may purchase that.

I would like to see some more information about this post, is it 100% OFFICAL that ftc is moving to this because it could impact how many parts i could buy.

It is 100% official that the FTC will NOT be using the VEX Robotics Kit in it’s future years.

rf - This CD thread New FTC Platform - VEX - Chief Delphi leads you to this blog [http://firsttechchallenge.blogspot.com/ which is accurate and straight from the horse’s mouth.

In the absence of a complete and total disaster overtaking the roll-out of the new FTC “kit”; FTC will not be using Vex parts, except for allowing some Vex parts to be used to supplement the “new” ones. The new ones will be the foundation future FTC machines are built upon.

Blake](http://firsttechchallenge.blogspot.com/ which is accurate and straight from the horse’s mouth.)

Alright, so its offical.

I just need to wait and find out exactly what they are going to include in this new kit.

If it is a good amount of parts i will move to this kit and sell my entire vex kit on ebay.

The idea of aluminum gears and stronger motors is very nice as the design possibilities start to meet real world applications instead of having the limitations that the vex kit has (Limitations being plastic gears ect…).

Sry for the double post

I just hope that they increase the power supply of this robot kit i want a power pack that is like 1 or 2 9cell laptop battery’s that way this thing will have enough power to operate at full power for hours.

The vex kit uses a small battery pack but i would like to see something the equivalent of 24AA battery’s or more.

Robofreak, there are always limitations in any system you design. That is part of engineering… you can’t have it all. For every limitation you remove, you often introduce at least one more somewhere else. Talk to the users after they use the new FTC system for a while, and they will list off a wish list of items they would like improved to remove limtations to their designs. Talk to FRC teams and they will list off limitations with the FRC hardware.

Unfortunately for some of the FTC teams out there, budget constraints fall under that list of limitations that may become a factor.

With that said, I understand what you are getting at, but the new FTC platform will not be perfect either.