The New FTC Kits.

Hey guys,

I inquired about the kits and the email said that the kits would be shipped around the end of august, I was wondering if either anyone has heard that, or if anyone has a kit…:eek:

Did the message specify any particular year? :slight_smile:

PS: Take a look at this message in a Chief Delphi thread - http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=763321&postcount=10

Oh, that would make sense. The email simply stated the last week of August, but i guess it’s been postponed a week further…

We have been waiting also. We keep going back and forth if we want to do Vex, FTC or both this year. With the new Vex kit, the curriculum and the low registration fee, we are doing that for sure. Plus we really like the game. We will still try to see if we can find the funding to try FTC also since it is so expensive and if we like the game, but if the kits are not available soon it will kind of make our decision for us.

Same here. Our middle school teams will NOT move up to FTC…cost is too high. My high school team will continue with VEX but will organize one FTC team…if we get the kit. The Virginia Tournament in set for first weekend in December…we will just about be on the same build time line as FRC…if we get the kit!! What about extra FTC parts and stuff…anyone know how :confused:that is going to work?

Mavrick
FTC 33
VEX 53

Maverick

One hint to you… This might sound a bit confrontational; but hear me out. You don’t have to let what the schools system is doing constrain what you personally will/won’t or can/can’t do when it comes to robotics teams. A school is NOT required.

It is very easy for a small handful of students and their parents to create and register a team that is 1000% independent of any school.

My suggestion is that you certainly continue to learn and grow by actively participating in a school-based robotics program; but if you want to do more, just grab a mouse and click on the right registration web page links.

2 out of last year’s 3 Virginia FTC Champions were not school teams!

Just think of it like the baseball, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, etc leagues that exist outside of schools and very nicely complement the hand-picked teams that are in the schools. Both types of sports leagues are thriving in most communities. It’s not an either/or choice.

I hope this helps you chart a good path.

Blake

True, Just, pointing out MiniRobotics is a personal team. :D.

Most teams are school teams because they are already sponsored, or just strait from an FRC team. But a second option is plausible.

Also, about the kits, I would think to much of it, the kits are only $450. And grants are available for new teams. That’s less than the VEX classroom kits. :D.

Uh…they will be shipped really soon. And, even if you did have the kits, the game isn’t released until mid-September. :D. So, there’s not much of point of having the kits “now”. :D.

While you do have a point (I was on one such non-school FLL team for two years back in the day), why “reinvent the wheel” (e.g. switch to new kits) if the school already bought [potentially] thousands of dollars of robotics kits?

With many of us in FIRST or VRC or any other STEM program pushing to get some kind of new or increased STEM funding in school systems, I don’t think the number crunchers and powers-that-be in school districts would be very happy if they made a sizable investment in one robotics platform just to have the people who were pushing the hardest for that investment to get cold feet and switch to a new platform, or to disavow themselves from the school and leave their investment without anyone really using it.

It’s stuff like that which could possibly be a major setback to any future pushes for new robotics teams or STEM funding.

EDIT: The above statement can apply to any robotics platform. If a school invests thousands of dollars in Vex kits or NXT kits or FRC or BattleBotsIQ or BotBall or BEST, they should stick with their investment unless it becomes unfeasible (whether because of financial, time, resource, or support reasons) to stick with that platform, or unless they want to expand to another platform. Making sure STEM stays on the better side of the people who can approve or deny funding for STEM in schools is more important than constantly switching platforms to get the latest features.

And in no means does the above post mean to detract from any of the non-school affiliated teams. As pointed out above, they can have many advantages if the school has cold feet about officially supporting STEM, or if the school doesn’t provide a very friendly “atmosphere” for STEM (like not giving them much funding, work space, equipment, faculty-support, etc). :wink:

Remember, one key suggestion I made was to stay involved with the school program.

Otherwise, good job pointing out that diluting a community’s talent pool too soon might be detrimental to putting down deep roots.

My hunch, based on the OP was that the school-based robotics community there had grown to the point where having a few baby birds leave the nest would be a good thing and would not be harmful.

Spread out to grow once the nest gets too crowded. Before then, don’t divide scarce resources.

Blake

The kits are $450 this year for some, but perhaps not all, buyers because of the grants that I know about.

Are you referring to additional grants? The list price of the kit is, and has been, $900. Cross your fingers that FIRST can find additional grant money next year.

On the newsletter and during ordering, I think new teams have the option for submitting and recieving a grant for the kits, which cover about half the price. I think that FIRST will continue to provide teams with the kits for the future. Plus, the $900, for any teams who do that to pay that, is only intial, I doubt that FIRST will make us purchase the new kit year after year.

You are thinking just a bit too narrowly - For the competition to thrive and grow, the community needs find a way to keep the barriers to entry low.

This year the first N new teams do have the options you mention, but not an infinite number of new teams, and not forever.

In a related vein, I know that I am very picky about cutting and bending metal when my Vex students build their bots; but there is some waste that occurs every season; and that has to be replaced yearly. Many teams have a habit of doing more cutting and bending than mine does. We also try to buy spare parts and new parts each season.

So, yeah, you might not need to upgrade your software more than once every couple of years, and your Mindstorms CPU, the big drive motors, and some other parts are likely to have multi-year lives; but I didn’t notice any discounts or grants for buying new/extra wheels, gears, metal, etc. each year.

After scanning the Pitsco prices, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Keeping barriers to entry low is crucial. Low entry-level kit prices and low fees for local tournaments (regardless of whether “teams” are registered with any big organization or not) have been important in my neck of the woods.

Blake

I see what you mean, it’s a good point.

But I doubt that the cost of supporting a FTC team will be the same from year to year. Obviously it’s bound to fluxuate but in my opinion, I think the this first year, and the first year for all teams, is going to be the most expensive.