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What is the FIRST Robotics Competition?

The FIRST Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics competition with a focus on “gracious professionalism” and “coopertition” inspiring students to become future science and technology leaders. Dean Kamen founded this organization in 1989 after finding disappointment in the lack of individuals considering careers in science and technology, particularly women and minorities. Starting at roughly 28 national teams in 1992, this competition spread globally to upwards of 3,300 teams with most participants coming from the US, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Israel, & China. Some of the main components of the FIRST Robotics Competition are:

  1. 1. Competitors are to be comprised of mostly students grades 9-12, ages 14-18
  2. 2. Robots are built within a six-week period
  3. 3. Robots are restricted by weight, are remotely controlled, and must accomplish a specific task
  4. 4. Each team develops a brand, raises funds, and works to promote STEM in the local community




Why Should You Care About FIRST Robotics?

Online Metals is a proud supporter of FIRST Robotics’ mission of inspiring the youth of the nation to pursue science and technology, as well as fostering a space for students to build skills and a well-rounded life capability. To give you some insight into just how impactful FIRST Robotics Competitions are, let’s look and the data of past events.


2022 – RAPID REACT presented by The Boeing Company (Season Facts)

  • - 3,225 teams from 26 countries
  • - 2,859 are "veteran teams" (competed in a previous season)
  • - 176 are "rookie teams" (2022 was their first season of competition).
  • - 80,600 Youth Team Members

2019 – DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE presented by The Boeing Company (Annual Impact Report)


  • - 25,800 Mentor / Adult Supporters
  • - 3,802 teams from 35 countries
  • - 95,050 Youth Team Members

With minor setbacks in 2021 / 2022 due to the state of the world, this program continues to expand both nationally and globally, helping shape the future of engineering.




What Makes Material Selection So Important?

The materials each team prefers will change depending on the specific tasks they are asked to perform during the competition, but normally strong lightweight materials are preferred like aluminum and plastics because the robot is usually restricted by its weight.

One example of a heavily used product is Aluminum Square Tube 6061-T6 as it provides that lightweight strength that allows the robot to meet the weight requirements and can work well for structural parts.




Looking to Start a FIRST Robotics Team?

All skill levels and specialties are welcome, which is truly what makes this competition so special. Click the link below to learn more about how you can start or join a FIRST robotics team near you!