If you haven’t done so, please send in a check for our participation fee of $80 per team member.
I have been contacting funding sources and to see if they can help defray some of the large startup costs this year and recurring costs next year. There is interest in funding well-regarded STEM-like projects like FLL, but time is always and issue and we may have to form a 509.c non-profit ultimately.
It would be tremendous if we could get sponsorship for our Team T-shirts this year (~$250) and get a $499 eV3 robotic kit to compete in November and hopefully develop better solutions as we (hopefully) advance through the tournament – fingers crossed.
I am writing up an outline and budget to purchase a number of kits and other supplies like extra sensors, cabling, rechargeable battery packs, carrying cases, sorting bins, inexpensive laptops, etc.
Here is our team outlay so far. It’s pretty much in line with budgets estimated by the Ohio First LEGO League (edoutreach.wpafb.af.mil/Robotics/media/2014_updates/program_costs.pdf):
$250 First LEGO League National Organization Registration
$88.60 (=$75+$8S&H+$5.60tax) FLL Field Kit (Mat and pieces for Robot Game missions)
$75 FLL Ohio Tournament Registration Fees
$50 Robot Table Construction
$150 Team T-Shirts
$30 (2) Trifolds Presentation Boards, Art Supplies, etc
$340.65 (2) NXT light sensors and lots of general and specialized Technic and LEGO-only pieces to build robot and mission specific armatures (see break down below)
I’ll be paying for my own 2 kids participation fee ($160) plus the balance of the above amount after other team members pay their $80 participation fees. Also, I’ll be providing a new NXT 2.0 Mindstorms Robot Retail Set ($435), books, the laptops, white boards, sorting bins, carrying cases, saw horses for tables and other things we need to get our team going.
Instead of purchasing a new eV3 Mindstorms kit with our funds for $550 ($499+S&H+7.25 tax) I decided we would be better off with an older NXT 2.0 kit and $340 of additional general and specific Technic pieces than with a new but minimal eV3 Kit.
Many of the more expensive pieces in this $340 we’d have to buy even with an eV3 Mindstorm Kit. Also, much of the learning and most of the creativity/competitive advantage will come not from the robot itself (NXT 2.0 vs eV3), but from the mission-specific rigs/armatures the kids design and build. The core robot design for FLL is pretty standard for most winning robots and well detailed in the books I listed in an earlier post.
Here is a breakdown of my various LEGO NXT and Technic buys for sensors, general and specialized pieces. There are a lot of orders because some pieces were hard to find and/or overpriced if purchased from just a single source.
General breakdown of $340 in Technic pieces and NXT sensors
$49.99 9/26 eBay.com LEGO Technics Pieces
$14.94 9/26 eBay.com LEGO Ball Caster
$27.69 9/26 eBay.com LEGO Front Wheel Set
$15.98 9/26 eBay.com LEGO (2) Rear Wheels
$45.39 9/27 BrickLink.com Magnets and pieces
$127.70 10/2 BrickLink.com 2 Light Sensors and pieces
$7.87 10/4 BrickLink.com Technic Plates
$28.14 10/4 BrickLink.com Rubber Bands/Pins
$22.95 10/4 BrickLink.com Brushings, Axels, etc.