We’re probably going to have at least one more subteam, so I have to go through the headache of what to buy them. Here is my Robotmesh quote .pdf for that to get people started with what I think the bare minimum competitive team needs. Obviously you can prefer nylocks, or star screws, but this is a general idea. I went low on bearing flats because our team already has enough. A new team would want more.
You should also get rubber bands and zip ties, but we order those outside of VEX suppliers.
Highly recommend looking at this . We bought one over the summer, and I am amazed at how much of it was in like new condition. Some of the steel was cut, but most of the steel just went into our (rarely touched) steel bin. But almost all the sensors were still new in box, along with about half of the kit contents. The only thing it didn’t come with that I thought it would have come with was a programming cable. Came with an A-A, but not the $50 one.
Robotmesh gives free shipping. As for kits, the “dual control starter kit” is a pretty good value, even if you don’t use all the parts, unless you absolutely won’t use steel structure.
Steel is cheaper and stronger, but heavier than aluminum. Aluminum is almost, but not quite, as strong (the thickness is greater to make up for the lower tensile strength), much lighter, and much more expensive. Our Virus teams typically use steel for the drive base for some weight and stability, and aluminum for moving parts. We have a rule that teams can’t chop up our aluminum until they provide a working prototype or CAD of their design. Uncut pieces can be used as needed. It helps save some cost.
@kmmohn mostly made points that I agree with, but I would recommend an all-aluminum robot, unless cost is prohibitive. I use very small amounts of steel for parts that will have very high strain, which has only been necessary last season for the part that held my standoffs to the claw mechanism (the aluminum kept bending).
@Atlantis : If money is no object, the go with aluminum. But each year we have 4-6 MS/HS teams and 1-2 VEX-U teams (along with 9 IQ teams) and raise all our own funds, so we work to keep costs down. Older kids get to use more aluminum, MS teams use more steel (especially depending on whether they’ll be chopping it up into little pieces) until they prove out their designs. We also encourage them to make cuts at 5-hole increments whenever possible.