This is a video produced by FRC team 573 that gives some more info.
Now that you’re a little bit more aware of what FIRST Robotics Competition is, you may be interested in starting a team. This page will give you a brief overview of what it takes to start a team., what supplies you need, and how to get started. If you’re interested in starting a team, you should also check out the FIRST Robotics Competition Team Starter Guide.
If you are directly affiliated with a school or a school district, see if your high school administration(s) will allow you to have demonstrations after your competition season or during your preseason. Those events are a great way to get interested parties in. Bring the robot, a way to control it, and an electronic signup sheet (like a Google Forms). Even if you aren’t directly affiliated with a school or a district, this is the best way to grow the student population of your team.
To gain more mentors, recruit parents or use the FIRST Mentor Network on the FIRST site. If any teachers happen to pop into your demonstration, talk to them and try to enroll them into the team. Most of our mentors right now on our team are either current or former parents (Mentor OP is an alum of the team).
To keep that knowledge base built, have the seniors do documentation about what they’ve done in each system. My team still needs to do a better job of this, but having a starting place for new students to learn from is a great way to get those new students involved. Just adding students doesn’t do much if they aren’t engaged in the team
There are many things to consider when starting a team. Some of the most important things to consider are:
Anyone can start a team! Students can start a team, teachers can start a team, parents can start a team, and mentors can start a team. The only requirement is that you have at least two adult mentors who are willing to help you start a team. You’ll also need some students, tools, space, funds for registration, and a lot of time. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it is absolutely worth it!
The costs of starting a team vary from team to team. The costs can be broken down into two categories: registration fees and team expenses. Registration fees are the fees that FIRST charges to register a team. These fees are paid to FIRST and are used to cover the costs of running the FIRST Robotics Competition. Team expenses are the costs that the team incurs to build and maintain the robot, cover travel and other expenses. The two types of costs are separated for one main reason. The registration fees are a known item year after year. The other team expenses can vary wildly depending on your teams part inventory, new tool purchases and more. Below is a table that breaks down some of the costs associated with starting a team.
|Cost Title||Description||Importance Rating (low = 1, high = 10)||Cost ($)|
|Registration Fees||The fees that FIRST charges to register a team. These fees are paid to FIRST and are used to cover the costs of running the FIRST Robotics Competition.||10||6,000 (recently changed from 5,000)|
|New Parts||The parts that you need to build a new robot.||8||1,000 - 5,000|
|New Tools||The tools that you need to build a new robot.||8||400 - 2,000|
|Hotels (not required always)||The cost of hotels for the team.||5||1,000 - 3,000|
|Food, Gas, Busses, etc.||The cost of food, gas, busses, etc. for the team (whole season).||5||1,000 - 3,000|
|Team Shirts, Banners, etc.||The cost of team shirts, banners, etc.||5||200 - 800|
|Maintenance||The cost of maintaining the robots basic parts year after year.||5||200 - 1,000|
|Miscellaneous||The cost of miscellaneous items. Pit Display Props, Mascot Costume, Extra robots or practice field||5||varies wildly|
There are many ways that teams raise money. Some of the most common ways are:
There are many ways to find sponsors. Some of the most common ways are:
There are many ways to find mentors. Some of the most common ways are:
There are many ways to find students. Some of the most common ways are:
There are many ways to find a space to work. Some of the most common ways are:
You may need less space than you think. You can use a classroom, a gym, a cafeteria, a church, a community center, a library, etc. You can also use a combination of spaces. For example, you can use a classroom for meetings and a gym for testing the robot. You could use a common area for team meals and a 2nd classroom with computers for CAD and code. Theres lots of ways to work around space issues. However, you should think about what type of work you plan to do and the rules the space allows. You probably shouldn’t use a space that doesn’t allow you to use power tools or that doesn’t allow you to easily clean up after yourself.
Parents do not have to be engineers or mechanics to help. Parents can learn those skills however by helping out on the team. Parents can help by:
Teachers or a member of the school administration can help by:
Mentors provide the technical expertise and leadership to the team. Mentors can help by:
Students can help by:
There are many tools that can help you start a team. Some of the most common tools are:
We would welcome a proper BOM for rookie teams and would be happy to add it to this post. If you have a BOM, please send it to us and we will add it gladly!