PRESS RELEASE – Rapid, a Proto Labs Company Enables the Next Generation of Innovators as a Silver Supplier for the FIRST Robotics Competition


Rapid, a Proto Labs Company, Enables the Next Generation of Innovators as a Silver Supplier for the FIRST ® Robotics Competition


NASHUA, NH, February 1, 2018 —Rapid, a Proto Labs Company announced today that it has joined forces with FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international, K-12 not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, as a Silver Supplier of the FIRST® Robotics Competition.

Rapid sponsors FIRST robotics teams by providing discounted sheet metal parts and prototypes to the competitions kit of parts, which was distributed to 3,660 teams of high-school students on January 6, 2018.

“Our job at FIRST is to develop the next generation of problem solvers who need STEM and digital literacy skills to solve the world’s biggest challenges,” said FIRST President Donald E. Bossi. “We do this by offering a project-based learning experience with the support of companies like Rapid. With its generous support at the Silver Supplier level, we are able to supply young innovators with the tools they need to get a jump on successful careers.”

By providing components for the competition, FIRST Suppliers are putting the latest technology into the hands of students, giving them the opportunity to apply the same tools used by professional scientists and engineers and, ultimately, helping them learn real-world skills they will carry into the workplace.

“Rapid is thrilled to help support FIRST Robotics again in 2018,” said President Len Morrissey. “We believe it is our responsibility to provide our youth with as many opportunities as possible to help develop skills in science and technology. The students are an inspiration to us all and the future of manufacturing. We look forward to seeing how this year’s class of FIRST teams uses sheet metal in their designs.”

On January 6, 2018, FIRST teams were shown the new FIRST® POWER UPSM game playing field and received a Kickoff Kit made up of motors, batteries, control system components, construction materials, and a mix of additional automation components – with limited instructions. FIRST teams can also choose additional Kit of Parts items from the FIRST Choice program, and download software and use vouchers from their Virtual Kits.

Working with adult mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young inventors create a robot, their teams participate in competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual competition that helps students to discover the excitement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and gain STEM competence and confidence, creating pathways to well-paying jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the fastest-growing fields. In 1992, the FIRST Robotics Competition began with 28 teams and a single 14-by-14-foot playing field in a New Hampshire high school gym. This season, more than 91,000 high school students worldwide will participate.

Teams from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Columbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom will compete in 85 District Events, 10 District Championships, and 63 Regional Events in seven countries – all leading up to the 2018 FIRST Championship events in Houston, Texas, April 18-21, 2018, and Detroit, Michigan, April 25-28, 2018. This season, participating FIRST Robotics Competition high-school students are eligible to apply for $50 million in scholarships from more than 200 FIRST® Scholarship Providers.

About Rapid, a Protolabs Company
Rapid is a quick-turn manufacturer of sheet metal and CNC machined parts. The company provides quotes within 24 hours, and produces prototypes and low-volume production parts within days. Since it opened its doors in New Hampshire in 2001, Rapid has grown to over 300 employees with three manufacturing facilities. Visit for more information.

About Protolabs
Protolabs is the world’s fastest digital manufacturing source for rapid prototyping and on-demand production. The technology-enabled company produces custom parts and assemblies in as fast as 1 day with automated 3D printing, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, and injection molding processes. Its digital approach to manufacturing enables accelerated time to market, reduces development and production costs, and minimizes risk throughout the product life cycle. Visit for more information.

About FIRST® 
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $50 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

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