On Resources

Team 20 and Team 5254 are on near opposite ends of the curve when it comes to resources. 20 has quite a bit, while 5254 has very little.

20 has an in-house machine shop used for tech classes that we manufacture most of our parts in, including a mill, CNC, multiple lathes and drill presses, multiple types of powered saws, and welding equipment. We can even bend aluminum in-house (although we don’t use sheet metal often). We additionally have at our disposal the resources and some mentors from Advanced Manufacturing Techniques (AMT), and RPI’s machining resources, including their waterjet. We have a few machining mentors with 20+ years of experience, and a full shared practice field for all the NY Capital Region teams.

5254 has none of that. This is a team who’s most advanced piece of equipment is a chopsaw that they use to cut pieces of versaframe. But by using a ton of products from VexPro, 5254 has managed to build competitive robots in both of their years. We have very little build space, not a lot of mentorship or students, and currently no practice field.

The goal for next season is to have a practice field and a practice robot to iterate on for 5254. By expanding 5254’s resources, we should be able to iterate and perfect mechanisms that before we were trying for the first time in a match situation (our tote stack autonomous was never fully tested until it hit the field at MidKnight Mayhem and worked, first try).

20’s biggest resource problem comes from where we source our money. Each student on Team 20 is expected to pay a membership fee to join the team (generally from $300-$400) that helps to fund traveling with such a huge team to three evets, as well as event registration, food and robot parts. This is in addition to the fundraising we do, and the generosity of our wonderful sponsors. This can cause issues with parents of students feeling their student didn’t get their money’s worth, and certain expectations and attitudes brought to the team that can be unhealthy for the program. One of 20’s projects for the past few years has been finding alternate sourcing for this money, whether that be in new sponsors or new ways to fundraise.

In short, 5254 and 20 have very different problems to overcome in the resources and sponsorship departments, and very different futures as a result.

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