General Robot-Building Guidelines


Solutions are not always evident, brainstorming sessions with team members broaden your scope of plausible solutions to a problem.
A whiteboard or chalkboard is useful to lay out schemes and strategies.


Measure twice, cut once. Most teams do not have excessive materials, so in order to reduce and simplify resource use, do the math, measure until you are absolutely positive, and cut once.


Keep it simple. Your robot may be robust, sturdy, and the stoutest thing in town, but size, weight and clutter greatly diminish your robots performance quality. Same goes for incredibly elaborate structures. Basic rule: If it looks complex, redesign.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Why use CAD software?

  • CAD software allows the 3-dimensional representation of an idea or concept without physically building it.
  • Easy to modify the design
  • Many flaws in a particular design, such as interference issues, can be detected and fixed on the computer, meaning less time and materials need to be
    wasted on fixing them after the robot has been built.
  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for stress analysis to test the strength of a particular part
  • Check the weight of the design before it is manufactured

Popular CAD software among FIRST teams include Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks.

Video Tutorials: (More Coming Soon!)