The tools you use make or break your chances in robotic competitions, as much as
your choice of materials. When dealing with tools, remember that quality counts.
A high quality tool will probably outlast your robots, and is well worth the
investment of a few more dollars over a cheaper, lesser-quality tool. When buying
tools, don't be cheap!
The following is a list of tools that I find essential for my robot building.
Depending on the size of robots you make, from tiny "BEAM" robots to gigantic
500 lb combat robots, the tools you need will change. Below, I've tried to
categorize which tools are required for which kind of robotics, as well as those
general purpose tools.
If you have a suggestion for a tool to add, please let me know.
For all robot sizes:
- Screwdriver set, both "jeweler's" size and regular size
- Hex "Allen" wrench set
- Box wrench set
- Adjustable wrench, for odd nut and bolt sizes
- Pop rivet gun, good for fastening metal on small robots, and for emergency repairs on
- "Helping Hands" set, great for working with small parts and electronics
- Soldering iron, preferably a variable temperature with a grounded tip
- Multimeter, preferably one with frequency and duty cycle measurement
- Battery charger, for NiCd or Lead Acid, depending on your power source
- Electrical tape, not a tool, but a requirement for working safely with electrical systems
- Drill press, the best solution for perpendicular holes
- Dremel (TM) or other rotary tool, a many purpose tool
- Jig "saber" saw, for cutting plastic and metal sheet, tubing, and stock
- Hack saw, for cutting small metals
- A selection of taps and drill bits, for threading holes
Special electronics tools:
- EPROM/Device programmer, for programming processors
- EPROM eraser, for changing the program
For those robots that will be fighting others:
- Welder, MIG, TIG, or arc
- Torch, MAPP or oxy-acetylene
- Band saw
Those that are over $500:
- Oscilloscope, best for troubleshooting digital and analog circuitry
- Vertical Mill