Pit Flooring

Our team is looking at the opinon of putting some type of flooring in our pit area. Where looking at interlocking drainage floor tile or foams tiles.

Has your team done this in the past? What type of tile?
What are the pro’s and con’s of having any kind of flooring in the pit area?

Just remember that any kind of flooring you bring in to the pits must remain entirely within your pit area. Not all pits will be a 10x10 square. They can be as small as 8x8 and some venues will not even give you a square! We had this happen to us with a neighbor bringing in some flooring, but the pits were 9x11 (WxL), so their flooring hung over into our pit which was a bit of a nuisance.

We used sections of 2’ by 2’ foam flooring for a few years. It’s okay, but it’s hard to keep clean and isn’t very friendly for toolboxes, workbenches, or robot carts. The last couple of years we’ve used a square of old field carpet, and that works great.

We use foam tiles. They can get metal shavings in them, so you’ll most likely need a vacuum with you in the pit.

We use the interlocking 2x2 foot square foam pads that you can get at the hardware store. You will need 25 of them for a 10 x 10 pit. They typically come in packs of six, so we loan the extra ones to the pit admin people so they don’t have to stand on the hard floor all day.

Pros, they make being in the pit much more comfortable and robot inspectors LOVE them when they have to get down on the ground to check out your bot.

Cons, they are a bit bulky to transport, and you have to put them down before you assemble your pit and bring all your stuff in, or you have to move everything around to get them under all your stuff which can be a pain.

I’ll provide some historical experience here.

On my old team, we used the foam tiles that the FTC/VEX programs generally default to. Because we host an event, we have a ton laying around.

We generally put out an 8’x8’ square. This is just we can put the tools and tables and cabinets on the concrete (or whatever).

Do be careful here. It’s just foam, so this means that things like carts, driving robots, etc. leave impressions and these pieces loose chunks. I’d recommend having two sets just so you can pull from one.

A little while ago, I remember that a team was handing out strips of what felt like the semi-hard spongey material that they make running tracks out of. It was soft enough to kneel down onto, but it seemed like it’d be hard enough to withstand 90% of the FRC experience. Anyone know of this magic material?

  • Sunny G.

Take a look at racedeck. They have both smooth and textured options. All the tiles snap together and are rated to have cars driven on them. You can create patterns with the color options they offer.

Kelly

We’ve used interlocking foam squares for 4 or 5 years and they’re great. I picked them up at Canadian Tire or Home Despot in a pack of 8. Each tile is about 24" and the package came with 2" wide edges which we pitched. We arrange them in a 3 x 3 square with a hole in the middle where the swarf etc collect. We don’t bother putting them under the bench or tool carts. Things don’t bounce or roll away and it’s a lot easier on the feet, legs and knees after a long couple of days. We keep them in a garbage bag for storage and carrying. Highly recommended.

My old team used foam tiles, and they were very nice and helped with the fatigue that you get from standing on concrete all day (may be a good pitch to the UL safety guys). We would only place them in the center where we walk around the robot cart, where the toolboxes and table were had no foam under them and this worked well. The cart would tend to bunch up the foam if you tried to turn the cart on the foam so the cart was pushed in and out in a straight line.

A word of caution on this foam flooring, it caused a significant increase in the amount of static buildup that we experienced, so do be careful that you do not zap your electronics.

We use carpet. It makes it easier to test things on the floor of the pit without going and finding a carpeted practice area, in games where the floor is important (we used it a lot in 2010 and a bit in 2012 to tune ball pickup mechanisms).

We’ve been very happy with Garage Deck cointop tiles from BigFloors.com. It’s also good for outdoor demos on grass. We have 10x14 of it and keep it in 2x2 foot squares.