Team Tips: Build an FTC Workshop
our first year of FTC with worked with some
basic tools including a hand drill and Dremel
tool along with some tin snips. While this did
enable us to build a robot we really struggled
with cutting metal and other items including the
hardened axles. So this year we built a small
workshop with amazingly affordable tools from
Sears (though you can get them from a number of
We paid around $300 for drill press with
laser targeting, a bench grinder, and a 16"
scroll saw. We considered a bandsaw but they are
expensive and dangerous. A friend suggested we
buy a scroll saw because they are much easier to
use and you can easily place the blade through a
hole to cut complex inside shapes.
We bolted all the tools to a piece of 3/4"
plywood and clamped it to a heavy table. As with
all tools safety is important. We don't use the
tools unless we are wearing leather gloves and
So, the challenge is that
you cannot buy scroll saw blades at your local
store to cut metal. However, we found a
solution: Ben's Scroll Saw (http://www.bensscrollsaw.com).
He has special blades that can cut soft
(non-ferrous) metals. This means you can cut
channels, sheets, and plastic sheets with blades
purchased from Ben's Scroll Saw. Just visit
their site and call Ben at 717-367-8064 to get
the right blade (we ordered the Pegas metal
cutting blades at the
bottom of this page).
This drill has a cool laser focusing system for
The scroll allows for complex cuts and shapes
for both plastic and soft metal.
The bench grinder makes it easy to shape and
clean up cut metal.
Clamps hold the board to the table.