New team help needed

We are about to start a new VRC team. Neither the kids or coaches have any experience with Vex. Most have done FLL before.

Could you please let me know the cost involved.

Are we too late to start on this year’s competition?

What do I as a coach need to order?

How big is the game mat fully installed on the floor?


Cost: you’re going to have to dump at least a few thousand dollars if you want to create a competitive robot.

Timing: no you are not too late.

Things to order: v5 kit. Dont get lecagy. Use aluminum.

Game mat: 12 ft by 12 ft if I remember.


We get about 3000 dollars a year in funding from sponsors, but we already have most of our materials from previous years so I don’t know how much it would be for getting everything.
You would be starting a bit late but it’s not too late to join in.
You should probably order some v5 kits and give your students the ability to create parts lists of stuff they need for their robot periodically.
The field is 12’ by 12’ in size.


VRC is pretty expensive. I’d say around $5000 for general parts and then about $2000 per team. It depends on the amount of teams you have. As a first year team your costs will be the highest until you end up with a stockpile of parts.

I don’t know what region you’re in but it probably won’t matter. Plunging into VRC will help your students learn skills the hard way before it matters. The first year is pretty hard but better to start sooner than later.

As a coach you should order a competition starter kit as well as a pack of each aluminum kit. If you have a bandsaw or cutting device then 35 longs are economical, otherwise you’ll have to deal with precut sizes. Another important thing to purchase is extra batteries and motors, as well as gearing cartridges.
Note: Vex’s drivers kind of suck. Hex kind of sucks. I’d encourage you to pick up some t15 Wiha precision drivers, a t15 T handle driver, and a ratcheting wrench in addition to the drivers and tools vex provides. They’re available on Andymark.
Note 1: vexrobotics / robotmesh / idesign are Vex authorized resellers. Robosource has some pretty great prices on things like spacers, screws, and additional competition products such as socket head motor screws. (They just released color coded torx drive screws, if you want to jump on that.)
Aside from the above I would purchase some wire stock, smart connectors, and a v5 crimper.

As for the size of the field it can be contained in about a 14x14 space comfortably. If you don’t have sufficient space then a half field or even a quarter field would work.


Thanks for the information.

We are a single team with 5 eight graders. I’d like this to be a fun and learning experience for the kids. Even completing only a couple of challenges would be great with a basic robot.

As we are self funded, what do I need to order to accomplish this and how much would it approximately cost?

I think what was mentioned earlier was a “competitive” robot. Please let me know the cost of a simple basic robot to complete 1 or 2 challenges.

By self funded do you mean the kids fees pay for the team or school funding pays for it?

The kid’s parents pay for the team. Nothing from the school.

For a low-budget start, get a V5 competition starter kit. Next, register with robotevents. Finally, join the VEX world coaches association on Facebook for a community all about running robotics programs. For your second team and beyond, get competition Superkits.


Great, thanks. How much would this starter kit, registration and the competition mat etc. cost? is $900. Registration is $150, and there will be additional fees, up to $100 for events. You won’t be buying a field on your budget (it’s not just a mat like Lego league).

1 Like

You could get just normal mats as opposed to an actual field and perimeter and stuff

1 Like

How would the team be able to program and test without the mat and it’s components?

I checked online and the mat and it’s components costs $500. Is this correct?

So $900 starter kit + $500 field and components + $150 registration and + $100 events = approx $1650

Is this enough for the kids to compete. (I also don’t want to embarrass them.) Thanks much.

I would give it a yes to being competition worthy

We started a private team from scratch. However, most of us had vex experience so we were able to keep the price of the parts under $1200, and we paid the $150 registration. Many tournament entrance fees in our region are free if we bring a volunteer so that is nice.

We didnt get field components, but honestly you can purchase the game elements, field components, and some cheap tiles from third party sources. You don’t need a whole field if you cannot afford it. We don’t have a field so we drew some scale drawings on paper to size our robot around and will practice on our school’s field later.

You definitely need to get all 8 V5 motors since the competition starter kit comes with only 4. Along with the motors, you’ll need additional cables. The V5 motors are around 35 each and additional gear cartridges are 10(we got 2 100rpm cartridges)

Also, you’ll need a cutting tool to cut the aluminum, we use a 5$ hacksaw from walmart that works really well and one of the kids had titanium bolt cutters that make curring axles and small pieces easier.


This does not include the mat or field perimeter - it only includes the season-specific components. You also need these:

This brings a new field to a total of US$1529.94 plus tax.

Not sure if we can afford the perimeter kit. Can the kids complete some challenges with the $500 field kit and the $900 starter robot minus the perimeter kit?

Do we need the extra 4 motors and cables, although this looks like will be only about $200 more.

Yes, most teams out there use 4 motor drives, so only using 4 motors puts you at a huge disadvantage

Ok, I think we can afford another $200 for the additional 4 motors but another 1K for the perimeter kit is outrageous. Can we manage without it and just use the basic $500 field kit?

Yes, you can buy foam tiles from somewhere else. Perimeters arent needed, or you could build your own for cheap out of wood.
All you really need is the towers and cubes.
Also buy one spare motor so if one of your motors suddenly dies(it happens), you arent stuck with one motor down.

1 Like

Are we not buying 4 + 4 motors already? Is this a different motor? Please pardon my ignorance.

Also, is the coding in C, C++ or Java? From what I read it appears to be in RobotC but can be programmed in other languages.

I was thinking of getting the team started with the programming until the kit arrives.