We’re all doing the Happy Dance now, like Marissa and her little sister at left. We’re so very grateful to all our great supporters for helping us reach our KickStarter target goal of $1000 so quickly! For the first time in five years, we have a comfortable budget to work with at the start of the season. While our success has never hinged on our budget (we’re experts at making due with what we have!), being able to purchase the right parts and materials instead of making something “close” fit, will make a big difference in providing solid educational engineering and design instruction.
While there are different robotics education platforms with lower or comparable participation costs, we’ve always felt the return on our FIRST investments are solid and enduring, with its more than two decades of character based, high energy, mentor driven success and $16 million in scholarships for FIRST students behind the experience.
Additionally, FTC build components are robust and adaptable to a variety of construction needs. The FIRST Tech Challenge program utilizes a combination of Mindstorms and TETRIX educational building materials, which are offered to FIRST teams at a 30% discount. While that helps, costs can still be significant. Here’s a partial list of some of the TETRIX pieces we use and their discounted costs:
- Motor Encoder pack: $56
- High TechnicDC Motor Controller: $56
- 4″ Omniwheel: $25 each
- 4″ Standard wheels: $18 each
- Gear pack: $70
- Individual gears (40 tooth to 120 tooth) : $18 to $21
- 12v NiMh 3000 mah Rechargeable Battery : $35
- NXT Rechargeable Battery: $44
- NXT DC Rechargeable Battery Pack : $55
We can reuse a lot of items year to year, but some things like encoders or gears and even rechargeable batteries, wear out or get damaged, and some things like registration fees and software license renewals have to be paid every year. And this year, with the option of the Matrix build system, more new learning and building experiences will be available to us.
Other costs include:
- Annual registration fee: $275
- League fees: $250
- Software license renewals: $100
- Aluminum and plastics: $100+
Your support gives us a healthy start to our season and the ability, for the first time in five years, for our students to be able to create a full season budget and add a new business aspect to their learning experience.
We’ve got more than three weeks left in our Kickstarter campaign, and hope you’ll continue spreading the word about our team to help us grow our 2013-14 budget even more and keep the Duct Tape rolling!