Before Your Robot Goes Into Your Crate

A few things to think about before your robot goes in the box:

  1. Take lots of close-up, detailed pictures. Even if you have excellent CAD models, pictures are invaluable for planning changes to the robot.

Also, it avoids the question “did we ship the <insert your favorite part here> or did we withhold it?”.

  1. Consider how fast you will be able to install withheld items on Thursday morning. Many teams have ignored the fact that qualification matches for many regionals will begin on Thursday afternoon this year.

  2. Complete your BOM while the robot is in front of you.

  3. Use the Inspection Checklist and do a dry run of the items. You will be amazed at how many seemingly small items get missed.

Note that this list will change a bit over the next few weeks but these should not be huge changes.

  1. Take great care in securing the robot in the crate. Many teams have opened their crate at the event to find that their robot broke loose during shipping.

Also take care to properly secure all other items in the crate such as batteries and operator consoles.

  1. Make sure that any stored energy devices are completely neutralized. Besides being a safety hazard going into and out of the crate, some springs may suffer permanent deformation during storage.

  2. Use bungee cords or other suitable devices to secure “bouncy” items such as robot arms or kickers.

Experienced veterans: Please feel free to add to this list.

Regards,

Mike

Post Script: Did I mention to take lots of pictures?

Consider packing your bot with the wheels not compressed to the floor. Support at the frame and secure down to the studs in the crate floor from there. This should prevent damage to wheels/rollers from being compressed or getting flat spots in a crate for the traveling part of the season. (1-1/2 months for some teams).

Keep in mind the max weight on the crate…overages are not cheap ($200+ for us last year).

Battery storage…isolate those posts, terminals, and any means of it making contact with itself or other items…we build a separate plywood box that goes in with the batteries held securely within it.

Sometimes it is nice to put a large static-proof bag over your robot. I have no idea where we got it from, but it worked out nicely…
even a bunch of plastic bags would be good, to prevent little bits of crate and debris from falling into your robot.

we did not do this one year and when we opened up the crate, even though it was only stored in a warehouse for a few weeks, it looked like it snowed sawdust and plywood flakes from the top of the crate…