Bag & Tag and Favorite Pit Layout/Furniture/Tools

Since all of the events are bag & tag this year (except Champs), we are reconsidering how we are transporting our robot/pit furniture/tools and how we are going to lay it out at the competition.

I would like to hear from teams that have done bag & tag last year what they found worked well.

I would like to hear from teams what they value about the pit layout/furniture

I would like to hear what people consider must-have’s and nice-to-have’s in terms of tools/equipment. (Do you really think you need that benchtop bandsaw when someone has brought the NASA machine shop trailer?, etc.)

Looking for new ideas.

Thanks for all the comments.

The only power tools we’ve ever brought are power drills. The NASA machine shop there is your friend! :slight_smile: The best pit layout is going to be a medium to little amount of things. You still need room, so try to put as much into as little space as possible. Do stuff like putting the tool chest on the robot cart, or setting up the laptops so that the wires don’t take up too much room.

NASA can be slow at times, and if you’re not super-clear with your instructions, they make mistakes. But they’re good enough so that you don’t bring a bandsaw… or just use a hacksaw instead! It’s my favorite tool.

You do need a lot of space though, so bringing a cheap shelving unit can help you get a lot of storage space in a small footprint. I also like having a laptop in the pit so people who are there can watch matches. Don’t forget spare parts and battery chargers, either.

The NASA machine shop has been awesome in all our experiences, we normally have printed them out a drawing (since we have the cad for all of our parts).

It prevents confusion and a properly tolerance drawing should help them versus a person telling them what needs to be done. We can’t thank NASA enough for their support.


I’m always careful to be perfectly clear about what we need machined when I drop off requests, and I’m always satisfied. On the other hand, I have seen a few awful creations come out of that truck, but I wouldn’t be surprised if our poor experience with NASA has just been caused by incompetence on our part.

Still, just use a hacksaw. :wink:

It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work. Often a drill, hammer, and hacksaw are really all you need to get something working in the pits!

Since there is no crate area needed at the MAR events, I’m checking into the availability of portable spa/hot tubs for the events. That bump and run slam by MOE got you down? Come soak your problems away. Miss Daisy introduced you to an Angry Mother Nature? Come float a few moments in our warm, soothing bubbles.

So long crate, hello Hot Tub!! Thanks FIRST!

Reminds me of this…

Since our crate had been an integral part of 1511’s pit layout we did a major pit revamping and for the end of the year designed our MPT - Multi-Purpose Thingy.

It is a shelving unit that is sized to match plastic storage totes of various sizes. We put matching identifiers on the totes and the shelves so items get returned to the proper storage locations. Some of the totes are designed to be grab and go, like the drive train box - containing everything you will need to repair or replace a broken drive train. This comes in handy when other teams need help of a specific nature. When MPT is in the pit, it gives us flat surfaces to work, plain surfaces to hang posters or pit decorations. When it returns to our shop, it acts as a storage unit in our closet.

Our pit used to be made from our shipping crate (we would turn the halves of the crate on their sides and insert shelves to hold boxes), so when MI switched to bag and tag in 2009, we had to completely re-do everything. We came up with a setup that, while required a trailer/U-haul to transport, allowed us to keep a similar pit layout to what we had before. It also is easily adjustable to accomodate for different pit sizes (which is a MUST). It sounds very similar to Cynette’s description of their MPT.

a) Have some sort of work surface. Many teams use the table that is already provided in their pit, but that doesn’t always work with custom setups unless you plan for it.
b) IMO, you don’t need chairs in the pit unless your mentors plan on hanging out there when the robot’s in a match (which they shouldn’t). If students really have to sit in the pit, you can lean against a table.
c) The layout should allow for the robot to get in and out easily, and should allow for access on all sides of the robot.

Bring what you need to repair your robot - even for parts that shouldn’t need repairing. This includes fasteners, spacers and drill bits! If there’s a type of fastener that you you EVERYWHERE, bring multiples of the appropriate wrenches/screwdrivers/allen wrenches. Be sure to bring extras of custom parts, especially if they’re for your drive train! I would also suggest bringing some spare aluminum stock and polycarb for emergencies (it can often be stored between your pit setup and the curtain dividing your pit from the one behind it).

We generally stick with the usual hand tools and drills, spare parts, rolling tool chest, and the typical sort of thing. My personal favorite item in our pit setup kit, while not strictly necessary, is a set of interlocking foam rubber floor mats. Having the mats down makes a huge difference in how sore our feet and knees get over the course of a long day standing on the concrete.

We made two diamond plate covered carts that fit along the backside of our pit. then we attached our banner above the carts with pvc. In the carts we store tools, pr things, and they also hide all the wires for laptops and battery chargers.

Then we also made a robot cart that has storage under it that we store the most used tools and extra parts.

We were lucky last year though since at both regionals we got corner booths so we could enter from almost any direction.