Kit and Hardware Guide

Before beginning your season, your team is presented with a crucial decision - one that will undoubtedly heavily influence the team’s direction of hardware design in at least the first year. The FIRST storefront currently offers two kits for new teams: the TETRIX kit from Pitsco, and the REV Starter kit from REV Robotics. However, teams should carefully consider other options, such as Actobotics from Servocity and goBILDA, before selecting a kit.

Every build system has advantages and disadvantages, which we have highlighted in our detailed build system guides below. While the guide may not be fully objective, recommendations are based on our own experience with the different kits, so the slant is there with reason. As with pretty much anything in FTC, there is no one right answer - but there are better answers than others. Hopefully, this guide gives some solid advice on which kit might be the best for your team.

Why Use a Kit?

After all, plenty of successful robots have not followed this framework. However, we still recommend new teams purchase a starter kit for one big reason. Established teams are all but guaranteed to have spare parts lying around to use to build their next bot. However, rookie teams, as is obvious, don’t have the plethora of parts from previous seasons to use. Thus, new teams should purchase these parts themselves in order to have something to build from once the season starts, and starter kits offer these parts for less money than they would be if bought individually. As will be discussed, options that don’t involve kits exist and are certainly very useful, but sticking to parts designed for FTC is recommended for new teams as a starting point.

Which Kit Should One Choose?

Choice of a kit is a matter of many a debate in FTC forums, and each team has their favorites. If you are a rookie team and do not have any experience with any of the kits above, we would recommend starting with a kit from either REV Robotics or goBILDA. These kits provide good selection of parts, reliability, and value for money. They are easily expandable and great part flexibility allows for customization. Keep in mind that compatibility between kits varies and will be impacted by the unit system used.

  • REV Robotics (metric) is slightly cheaper but generally has a bit higher learning curve than most other kits, as it is extrusion rather than channel based. Extrusion takes more effort to work with (you need to cut aluminum extrusion to length); however, it allows for maximum design freedom and adjustability. REV is also available from FIRST storefront, which might be convenient for teams doing their purchasing through official school procurement systems.

  • goBILDA (metric) is slightly more expensive, but is easier to get started with. It has a extensive parts catalog and can be adapted to other build systems like REV. However, its price point may deter some teams with lesser budgets.

  • Tetrix (metric and imperial) is probably the simplest system to work with, but its part selection is limited, and the use of 4.7mm shaft with set screws is inferior to clamping hubs used in other systems.

  • Actobotics (imperial) is similar to goBILDA, being made by the same company. It has always been a solid option with reliable parts. For most FTC teams, goBILDA would probably be a better choice as it is more flexible and compatible, unless you already have a large stock of Actobotics parts.