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Unread 08-24-2018, 09:58 AM
Team6928 Team6928 is offline
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PVC Pit Question

We are beginning the design work of a PVC pit, but have a couple of questions.

1. What diameter PVC do you recommend? We ar elooking at 1 1/2, but are also considering 1".

2. Do you bring your pits unassembled in 100s of individual PVC parts, or do you bring premade modular panels that you assemble together on site?

3. Do you recommend purchasing furniture PVC? Have you found a cheap source? If not, do you paint your pits?

I know many on here recommend against PVC pits, but we feel it is the most economical way for us to go at this point. Thanks for the help.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 10:13 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

It is economical and flexible. It's a good path to go while you work towards your final design and funding for it. It lets you try out different pit layouts or ideas at little cost. There's really nothing wrong with it for teams on a budget or just getting started with their pit design.

1. For diameter, consider flexibility - smaller tends to be more flexible, larger more rigid. This involves the length of any individual segment. The last thing you want is a saggy pit!

2. We used PVC for our pit backdrop for many years. It wasn't hundreds of pieces, but it did breakdown into maybe a dozen. A large part of that is simple how you can transport it. Break it down into the largest pieces you can easily transport. Cement the connectors as much as you can. If there's a place you want it to come apart, cement the connector on one side and leave it loose on the other. And then number/letter the connections so you can get it back together easily!

3. We used normal PVC from Home Depot, and painted it to match our team colors.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 10:18 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team6928 View Post
We are beginning the design work of a PVC pit, but have a couple of questions.

1. What diameter PVC do you recommend? We ar elooking at 1 1/2, but are also considering 1".

2. Do you bring your pits unassembled in 100s of individual PVC parts, or do you bring premade modular panels that you assemble together on site?

3. Do you recommend purchasing furniture PVC? Have you found a cheap source? If not, do you paint your pits?

I know many on here recommend against PVC pits, but we feel it is the most economical way for us to go at this point. Thanks for the help.
It's been about ten years since I've been involved in a PVC pit, and I wouldn't do one now--especially when a photo backdrop kit is about $32.50, meaning a team that really wanted to go nuts and do a three-sided pit could do it for under $100 (please don't do that without bringing in additional lighting, though).

But thinking back from when 1293 did it in 2006:

1) I'd go 1.5", if I had to do it again. 1" gets a little wobbly, and even if you just try to keep it all in place it's going to get bumped around a bit during an event.

2) We brought in a bunch of tubes loose. It was terrible. Screw together as much as you can transport.

3) We painted ours with rattle cans. It was scratched up and looked like garbage after one regional event, and was subsequently retired.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 10:28 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfred View Post
It's been about ten years since I've been involved in a PVC pit, and I wouldn't do one now--especially when a photo backdrop kit is about $32.50, meaning a team that really wanted to go nuts and do a three-sided pit could do it for under $100 (please don't do that without bringing in additional lighting, though).

But thinking back from when 1293 did it in 2006:

1) I'd go 1.5", if I had to do it again. 1" gets a little wobbly, and even if you just try to keep it all in place it's going to get bumped around a bit during an event.

2) We brought in a bunch of tubes loose. It was terrible. Screw together as much as you can transport.

3) We painted ours with rattle cans. It was scratched up and looked like garbage after one regional event, and was subsequently retired.
I'm hopefully not turning this into an anti-PVC thread but all of the things he said and here are some other options and thoughts to consider:

Do you really need walls or a backdrop? Do they serve to isolate your team from your neighbors at events?

What information are you trying to convey with any signage you are putting up. Does it make more sense to convey that information in other ways?

Can you invest in easily assembled plastic shelving and use PVC or piping to bridge the gaps between shelves if you want walls?

Is the structure to hang lights from? Are there ways to use work spot lights to accomplish that instead? Are there things like shelves that they can be mounted to?

What's the ultimate goal with the pit construction you are going for?

For our pit, it has always been about speed of assembly and transportation. How fast can we get all of our stuff into the event and begin work on the robot? That unbag time is crucial so spending an hour assembling a pit structure has never been high on our list but if it were then I'd first outline some clear goals about what the structure is supposed to do and provide for the team.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 10:40 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Like Billfred, I also made a pit thing from PVC in 2006. https://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/papers/1837

But these days, I'm much more interested in rolling into an event and getting that coveted 2nd inspection slot without having to do extensive pit setup.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 11:03 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

It's important to note that some events have Early pit setup. If that's the case, you can load-in the night before/morning of and spend some time setting up your pit before you can open the bag or do any other work.

If you event has that, then the arguments about getting going quickly are much less important.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 11:23 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Overall, it is something like 40 pieces, but broken down it is:

2 panels (front & back with banners)
7 ~10-foot PVC pipes
4 ~7-foot PVC pipes
4 ~2-foot PVC pipes (with fittings attached)

At each fitting you can drill holes, so you can secure the fitting to the pole with zip ties. It is best to keep the fittings to the panels and short PVC attached.

I don't know whether they originally trimmed the pipes to be more with 10x10 foot or not, but most of the long pieces are interchangeable (at least until we added LEDs this year).

I don't know the dimensions of the pipe off-hand. I'm pretty sure they used CPVC. We've used it for several years. Note to wise, buy a few extra fittings to have later and spray paint them the same color so people know what they are from. So far they've been mostly rugged.

For care, we put the poles in bundles (7, 4 and 4) and wrap each bundle with stretch wrap. While a couple loops on each end will hold the bundle together, wrapping the entire length will protect from scratches. We periodically spray paint them, as needed. Getting scratches during the trailer ride is annoying, especially to newer banners, so you have to take some care to secure them. Maybe roll up banners each time.

It is easiest to break apart the joints using a rubber mallet. If possible leave the part in the fitting unpainteed and possible sand it a little to make it easier to slide in and out of the fitting.


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Unread 08-24-2018, 11:37 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Not to pile on but we built one in 2007 and had all of the problems mentioned above. We left it in Atlanta.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 11:42 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
It's important to note that some events have Early pit setup. If that's the case, you can load-in the night before/morning of and spend some time setting up your pit before you can open the bag or do any other work.

If you event has that, then the arguments about getting going quickly are much less important.
It's rarely been the case we can't setup early. We don't take the pit to offseasons, where you only have a short setup time.

Teardown, usually we are among the last teams to leave an event. Partially because it is nice to take it down when there is more room, but we'd probably find some way to stay long anyhow.

I think the purpose of the pit was to make the team easily recognizable, whether to judges, other teams, our own team and parents. To that end, I was a little dissapointed to see a photo while looking earlier of a view from the stands where all of backs of our banners where showing. I feel like double-sided banners would be too much, but I'll have to reconsider, expecially if we go to another arena regional.

We did add LEDs to the upper structure this year and it did make a difference. We also added an < 1 ft LED light bar to the cart. You could make a lot of light with two corner work spotlights.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 11:56 AM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngreen View Post
Overall, it is something like 40 pieces, but broken down it is:

2 panels (front & back with banners)
7 ~10-foot PVC pipes
4 ~7-foot PVC pipes
4 ~2-foot PVC pipes (with fittings attached)

At each fitting you can drill holes, so you can secure the fitting to the pole with zip ties. It is best to keep the fittings to the panels and short PVC attached.

I don't know whether they originally trimmed the pipes to be more with 10x10 foot or not, but most of the long pieces are interchangeable (at least until we added LEDs this year).

I don't know the dimensions of the pipe off-hand. I'm pretty sure they used CPVC. We've used it for several years. Note to wise, buy a few extra fittings to have later and spray paint them the same color so people know what they are from. So far they've been mostly rugged.

For care, we put the poles in bundles (7, 4 and 4) and wrap each bundle with stretch wrap. While a couple loops on each end will hold the bundle together, wrapping the entire length will protect from scratches. We periodically spray paint them, as needed. Getting scratches during the trailer ride is annoying, especially to newer banners, so you have to take some care to secure them. Maybe roll up banners each time.

It is easiest to break apart the joints using a rubber mallet. If possible leave the part in the fitting unpainteed and possible sand it a little to make it easier to slide in and out of the fitting.



That's one nice lookin' pit.

What is the diameter of the pipes?

Also for my 2 cents: Lights, lights, lights, can't have too many lights. Your LED lights are a nice addition and they don't reign heat down on you.
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Unread 08-24-2018, 07:00 PM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Wasserman View Post
That's one nice lookin' pit.

What is the diameter of the pipes?

Also for my 2 cents: Lights, lights, lights, can't have too many lights. Your LED lights are a nice addition and they don't reign heat down on you.
1-1/2 inch, schedule 40 conduit.



The long pipes (11) are trimmed to 115 inches to keep within 10' (so the expanded conduit end doesn't matter). The shorter pipes are half that length (4) or a quarter of it (8).

The top are all 3-way pvc furniture elbows, the next layer uses all 4-way tees, the bottom layer uses 4-way tees in the back and normal 3-way tees in the from. The bottom is capped.

Then paint it all, we use some version of black Rust Oleum (w/ a slight metallic finish).

We built a TV attachment this year and also the fastened on lights. You could probably just makes some lights that fasten around the PVC and remove otherwise.
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Unread 08-25-2018, 02:09 PM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngreen View Post
1-1/2 inch, schedule 40 conduit.



The long pipes (11) are trimmed to 115 inches to keep within 10' (so the expanded conduit end doesn't matter). The shorter pipes are half that length (4) or a quarter of it (8).

The top are all 3-way pvc furniture elbows, the next layer uses all 4-way tees, the bottom layer uses 4-way tees in the back and normal 3-way tees in the from. The bottom is capped.

Then paint it all, we use some version of black Rust Oleum (w/ a slight metallic finish).

We built a TV attachment this year and also the fastened on lights. You could probably just makes some lights that fasten around the PVC and remove otherwise.
I really like your pit. It looks much simpler than the one we were coming up with. We can also set up early so I'm not too concerned about the set-up time taking time away from the robot.

Looking at the pictures, it seems your pit is almost made like a canopy with 4 legs and then the banners around the top. Is this correct? Are there any supports running the length of the walls from one leg to another? What did you use for shelving?
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Unread 08-25-2018, 06:44 PM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team6928 View Post
I really like your pit. It looks much simpler than the one we were coming up with. We can also set up early so I'm not too concerned about the set-up time taking time away from the robot.

Looking at the pictures, it seems your pit is almost made like a canopy with 4 legs and then the banners around the top. Is this correct? Are there any supports running the length of the walls from one leg to another? What did you use for shelving?
I think you are asking about supports lower around the outside. Yeah, there is another "ring" at the bottom, just it is only 3-sided with the front side open. This lowest ring sets on 4 short pipes (1/4 the longest pipes), then the level below the canopy is medium length pipe (1/2 the longest). There aren't any supports cross the 10x10 area, it is all outer support.

We have a couple free standing shelves. The front shelve is similar to this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-5-Sh...-YOW/100656305

The back shelf is more like this but only using 3 shelves. There is power strip built into it with u-bolts around the supports, but I don't see that used as often as one of those 4-outlet extension cord reels.

The other side, we use the provided table. And the back length our custom motorized toolbox which is 8-9 feet with tools, batteries, and storage boxes.

All that doesn't move around without a trailer, so there might be things to consider. Also, I did see that the furniture PVC was sold in 5 foot length (it is supposedly more impact resistance) but like shown we use the 10 foot conduit. One downside could be moving long items like that, and they did have straight fittings that you could make the entire thing of ~5 foot lengths, which could probably easily fit in lots of other vehicles.
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Unread 08-25-2018, 08:01 PM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team6928 View Post
I know many on here recommend against PVC pits, but we feel it is the most economical way for us to go at this point. Thanks for the help.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marshall View Post
I'm hopefully not turning this into an anti-PVC thread but all of the things he said and here are some other options and thoughts to consider:

Do you really need walls or a backdrop? Do they serve to isolate your team from your neighbors at events?

What information are you trying to convey with any signage you are putting up. Does it make more sense to convey that information in other ways?

Can you invest in easily assembled plastic shelving and use PVC or piping to bridge the gaps between shelves if you want walls?

Is the structure to hang lights from? Are there ways to use work spot lights to accomplish that instead? Are there things like shelves that they can be mounted to?

What's the ultimate goal with the pit construction you are going for?

For our pit, it has always been about speed of assembly and transportation. How fast can we get all of our stuff into the event and begin work on the robot? That unbag time is crucial so spending an hour assembling a pit structure has never been high on our list but if it were then I'd first outline some clear goals about what the structure is supposed to do and provide for the team.
To echo this, the most economical pit structure is no pit structure. The fastest setup time is no setup time. The best thing we ever did for our team's health was deciding that we DGAF about what the pit looks like. If it can function smoothly, and doesn't discourage people from entering, don't waste your breath. 1836 now has a <5 minute pit setup time which is strictly wheeling in some drawers, carrying some shelves, and opening up a table.
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Unread 08-25-2018, 08:19 PM
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Re: PVC Pit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaredhk View Post
To echo this, the most economical pit structure is no pit structure. The fastest setup time is no setup time. The best thing we ever did for our team's health was deciding that we DGAF about what the pit looks like. If it can function smoothly, and doesn't discourage people from entering, don't waste your breath. 1836 now has a <5 minute pit setup time which is strictly wheeling in some drawers, carrying some shelves, and opening up a table.
I don't see what being g definitely geared at fun has to do with pit structure.
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