[FRC Team 1517] Pit Ideas?

My team, The Lumberjacks, is looking to upgrade our pit. I am “in-charge” of designing and making it and I need some help with ideas.

Our mentor suggested not to have it too complicated and no curtains, as they are just one of those “extra” things that are not necessary. I believe so too.

Some of our constraints are:

-Needs to be able to transport easily
-Easy to set up/take down.

Thanks for the help,
-Team 1517, Cole Weaver

What does your pit look like currently?

Overhead lighting would be my big suggestion besides what you’ve already mentioned as constraints. You never know what the lighting is going to be like or who has a giant pit next to you that blocks all the light you would have had.

Overhead lighting is great - we use this sort of light on our pit (structure made of PVC).

I suggest having an open top, there’s no benefit to having one that I’ve seen, and it just adds more things to transport and set up.

If you go with PVC, I recommend permanently gluing sections together (unless you really need it to be small for transport), then labeling the various connection points with colored electrical tape. It really helps make things go faster when setting up.

We use one of these LED shop lights: Home Depot link

We also use a pop up canopy though those have been disallowed at events this past year (fire marshal).

Here is our 2016 set up as shown in another post: Good Workbench thread

One thing I would definitely recommend is having shelving units to store your supplies.

I would take a look at 1519’s pit design. It has been a great inspiration to us.

What is your transportation method? Minivan(s), cargo van, trailer?

What is the goal for functionality and tool storage (large chest, small chest, table top drawers, peg board, tools on robot cart, etc)?

Do you want to use the event provided table or not?

What promotional items do you want to display? Large team banner (Sponsors, name/number) Blue banner(s), etc.

What do you typically store your supplies in and bring to competitions? Is it different or similar to what you use in the shop?

Those questions really drive what the basis of your pit will be. Most teams have different opinions on what the last three should look like. My time on 1519, 3467, and 1058 have had different answers to all of the above so we’ve had very different pit setups over the years.

The past two years my team used a pop-up canopy without the cover, its simple easy to set up and take down as long as you do it before moving everything into the pit area. Then we mounted one of these to the center point powered by a PC power supply with a small inexpensive voltage booster.

Light: 100W LED (1000W Equivalent) 9000LM at full brightness however, it’s nowhere near necessary to run it at full brightness because we had it between 50-75% brightness and we eventually nicknamed it the mini sun by our second competition.

We also used 2 of these we found out early on that if not taken care of they break easy but if you could find something similar there great for storage of things like boxes, vacumes, and other larger objects. Also as someone who did a lot of soldering last year, I definitely recommend a large countertop to work on things and have it on wheels, like this. but we used basically that countertop on two cabinets secured down by a large C-clamp once everything was in place to make transport easier.

Build a new pit out of PVC pipe and have them wrapped in a tree trunk design by your local car wrap place (they might donate their services). As the lumberjacks this wood be an awesome design.