New Team What to buy??

Im sure its been asked 100 times here but its so hard to search through all the threads.

Im starting a team with Middle school kids. They have competed in the FLL up till now.

Looking at buying our first kit.

IS this the one we want?

VEX Classroom Lab Kit with Cortex
P/N: 276-1163

With EasyC software

and then what else would help the first year. We are on budget so Lets start with the basic needs befor wants. :confused:

Well, if you team is going to be competing in next years VRC’s game, I would buy that kit, easyC, and then wait until the new game is released, come up with designs and just buy the items you need for that specific design.

My team first bought the old pic kits because we started out in 2008. But I would say to buy maybe 2 or 3 kits then buy easyC. Then lastly think through if you’re up to it, my mentors and I have had a lot of stress from VEX. Then lastly wait until May or June to start building for the next scenario for next years game.

Yes we are joining the VRC… I know next years game will be annouced at the worlds in April. What I was really asking was what basic starting kit and thanks for answering. I know there are new game pieces each year and will will buy more as we design.

Thanks for the advice. I won’t be buying 2-3 kits there isnt enough money. But with a new team of 4-5 kids one should be fine to start plus any expansion kits.

We have been part of the FIRST until now. Tell me what stress have you been through?? What would you tell a new coach/mentor and team.

Hmmm, get ready to spend a lot of time on your robot. Our team has spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours getting our robot to where it is now. Keep them motivated! Last year, our team couldn’t have made it worlds as a first year team, and the first team in our state if our coach didn’t believe in the team.

I think the classroom kit should be fine until the unveiling of next year’s competition. You should probably get them working on the kit as soon as it comes so that they will have some experience before starting the next season. Make sure to get their creative juices going. Let them brainstorm for a week or 2 and draw out a vague sketch on how their idea will work before actually building. Oh and make sure to show them some youtube videos so that they will learn from past robots, which is incredibly good. Maybe you should encourage them to copy a robot for some practice. Oh and make sure they don’t get too frustrated if they have to take apart their robot over and over again due to some mistake.

Some tips:

  1. Make sure your robot will fit in an 18" box no matter what, so you can save yourselves from panicking at the competition
  2. it’s best to start out simple for a 1st year team
  3. Make sure to use delring bearings for axles so that they don’t bend.
  4. Don’t cut metal. You will be reusing the same metal for years to come
  5. Watch some tutorials on how to program or build or read the building manual online for more experience.

Edit: Here is the inventor’s guide:’s_Guide and here is a good page to read before your first competition: [


The kids aren’t new to robot comps, just to vex. They understand ups and downs of competition and building.

As a coach who works daily with robotics and competed in many competitions when I was younger. I get the stess lol.

One thing I look forward to VEX is the open season and the chance to compete at more then one tournament each year. The kids have watched a lot of videos and done research. I get messages all the time from them right now wanting to show me something new. Can’t wait to get the team back and start the new league

Please keep posting tips and info

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I use these kind on parts on my robot which I am taking to worlds-
Buy 4’ Omni-Directional wheels its easier to drive with.
Buy an aluminum kit for your structure of the robot.
4 high strength motors. (393 motors)
And the classroom kit.
Software easy C for cortex
Advanced Sensor Kit
Power Expander
Start with this. If you need more parts order them later like pneumatic which is fun to have on the robot and saves motors!.. Good luck:D

There was lots of stress mainly because since the start of the team there have been numerous incidents in my team that seemed impossible to happen to a team actually happened. 1. In Gateway we accidentally dropped the gate on our robot during practice. Nothing got damaged though. :slight_smile:

The robot part of this will really be the main part. Since I got to being in VEX since 6th grade, I got hooked. I have been drafting ideas in my notebook. So VEX can and will sort of be like a lifestyle to some people.

If your on a really tight budget, I’d suggest:
Classroom lab kit with programming software. I like ROBOTC, but it’s really just personal preference…
1 package (two total) 4-inch omni’s. These are indespensable as front wheels. Get two packages (4 total) for more flexibility (i.e. omni-drive)
HS Sprocket Kit. This is probably the most-used item we have on our team…
393-style (high-strength) motors. I can’t believe I ever competed without them… these things are awesome!
C-Channel: This should be used for the skeleton of your robot. Purchase either aluminum or steel… Our team has used steel for the past two years, only delving into aluminum recently. Get in 17.5-inch lengths, and cut down to size as opposed to buying 12.5-inch lengths.
Non-slip mat: Don’t have to buy this from vex–common in lots of hardware stores. This is pretty good for all kinds of stuff.
Batteries: You’ll need at least 2 total, maybe 3 for an average size robot for a single tournament.

Sensors: (Only get if you’re thinking about doing autonomous programming. If you guys did FLL, I’d think you might want to try it.)
Encoders: Counting rotations (These are built-in to the NXT motors, but not the VEX motors).
Limit switches/bumpers: Limit switches can break, have backups. These are pretty good for basic stuff.


first thing id buy is some good old fashioned C channel!!!

I’ve been searching for about an hour for a thread from several months ago where we were discussing startup costs, I think it was Rick TYler who started it but anyway, I give up, cannot find it. I had posted this list as a possible startup purchase, we had a target of $1500 but most posters felt it was hard to design a competition robot for that amount. This is an alternative to the classroom kit route, I’m not saying it’s a better way but is interesting as an alternative, at the time I based this on the cost for last years round-up robot. There are certain items you really have to invest in, VEXnet, motors, batteries, programming software, it’s $800 before you even start adding any structure or wheels. Again, this is just for a different perspective. If anyone can find the original thread it may be interesting to post a link.

Part Number     Description                 Quantity    Unit Price  Extended Price
276-1694        VEXnet system bundle            1       399.99      399.99
276-1891        Partner joystick                1       29.99       29.99
276-1602        coiled handset canle            1       6.99        6.99
                RobotC                          1       75          75.00
276-2186        Programming cable               1       49.99       49.99

276-1696        AAA NiMH batteries 6 pack       2       12.99       25.98
276-1622        AAA battery charger             1       24.99       24.99

276-1491        7.2v 3000mAh                    2       29.99       59.98
276-1445        Smart charger                   1       19.99       19.99

276-2271        Power expander                  1       49.99       49.99

276-1667        269 motor + controller 29       6       19.99       119.94
276-2177        393 motor + controller 29       4       28.99       115.96

275-1410        Long Aluminium structure kit    1       99.99       99.99
275-1117        Advanced metal kit              1       69.99       69.99
275-1136        C-Channel 1x2x1x35              2       17.99       35.98
275-1138        C-Channel 1x5x1x25              2       17.99       35.98
275-1141        Bar 1x25 (8 pack)               2       12.99       25.98

276-2185        4" omniwheel                    2       24.99       49.98
276-2250        High strength gear kit          2       29.99       59.98
276-2169        Gear Kit                        2       12.99       25.98
275-1179        Advanced sensor                 1       99.99       99.99

276-2011        Drive shaft 2" & 3"             4       5.49        21.96
276-1149        Drive shaft 12"                 1       8.96        8.96
276-2010        Shaft collar                    3       10.49       31.47
276-1843        Shaft couplers                  4       4.99        19.96
276-2016        Pillow block pack               1       7.99        7.99
276-1209        Bearing flat                    4       4.99        19.96
275-1066        spacer variety                  4       4.95        19.80
275-1169        Screw 6-32 0.5"                 2       4.95        9.90
275-1004        Screw 8-32 0.5"                 4       7.49        29.96
275-1008        Screw 8.32 1"                   1       9.99        9.99
275-1027        Nut 8-32 Nylock                 2       3.99        7.98
275-1014        Standoff 0.5                    4       2.95        11.80
275-1015        Standoff 0.75                   2       3.95        7.90
275-1017        Standoff 1.5                    2       7.95        15.90
275-1019        Standoff 2.5                    4       5.95        23.80
275-1000        Coupler 0.5                     2       2.95        5.90
275-0125        11"tie wraps                    1       5.99        5.99


Using the Advanced Search, I located:
How much did you spend for that robot?

Still looking for something additional…

My long answer to that question is this guide: A Clueless Coach’s Companion to VRC.

Nice New coach hand out. Thanks for the info.

Doing research with VEX it seems there is alot of info out there but it can be old stuff. Like PIC and CORTEX stuff. But think I’m getting it now and can’t wait to start next season