Pit Setup

Hi. We are a rookie team and we are wondering if anyone has any tips for setting up our pit. We will be at WPI Regional. We know that it will be less than 10x10x10. What will be there when we get up to the competition at our pit site. Will there be a taped off area or something of the sort?

I can’t speak for the WPI regional specifically but at all the other events I have attended a teams pit space includes: 1 folding table, access to power, and a cordoned off area that is yours for three days. Anything beyond that is up to you, pit styles range from minimalist to “brought the kitchen sink” so find what works for you.

I’m not sure if every regional supplies this, but most will provide a table which you can have removed if you need the space and a power strip. The floor will have the areas marked off with tape.

There will typically be an area marked on the floor, marked with your team number on a pole. You will get a table and a power drop of some form.

Beyond that, you get to figure out how to organize the robot (and its cart–make sure you have one of those, even if it’s just a furniture dolly), your tools, team members’ backpacks and jackets if those are left in the pit, team members, giveaways, and spare parts. I’d start with some collapsible shelving and/or a rolling toolbox, along with a power strip, and see if that’ll hold your tools and other items.

Oh… and bring one chair. It’s for your programmer to sit on as he or she programs the robot. More than one will result in a crowded pit.

For the Michigan competitions, the pits have a tarp floor, a table, a power cord, and duct tape lines on the floor where your pit boundaries are. I suggest to bring folding crates that fit under the table, a tool box with just the necessities, a power strip, a battery charger or battery cart, and a box for spare parts, especially if you plan on climbing.

We normally have the plastic bins we get from the KOPs as our boundary. And also, don’t be a space hog, teams don’t like that!

We released a guide this summer about our pit design if you are looking for an example of how another team designed their pit.

Spectrum Pit Design Guide

Ours are usually set up with everything against the walls so our robot can go in the very middle of the pit and people can surround it. We also bring rolling cabinets with whatever we think we’ll need to the competition. Hope this helps a little! 157 will see you at WPI!

I swear FIRST used to have a checklist of items to bring somewhere, but I cannot find it. The best I can find is this:

4.8.8 Suggested Equipment
We suggest you bring the following:
Extension cord - heavy duty and at least 25 feet long;
Power strip - to make best use of your power drop;
Other items as suggested on the Team Checklist in this section of this Manual; and
A relatively small cart to transport your heavy robot from the Pit to the playing field.

(Anyone know where the checklist is this year?)
There is a decent one from 2012 in the back of that manual.

You can also keep an eye on the WPI Regional website:
http://www.wpi.edu/news/firstregional
And/or contact Colleen if you have any questions (she’s usually great at answering!)

Lights!
At the Los Angeles regional the lighting is really high up in the arena and does not have consistent coverage. This might not be an issue at your venue, but be prepared with your own non-intrusive lights so you can see what you’re working on.

The big things like a table and power cord will be there for you but it is the small things you’ll need to remember.

A robot cart, extension cord, and some sort of tool organization (toolbox, shelf, etc) are all really, really important.

From a safety perspective (ex-Safety Captain taking over here ::safety::), plan on how to safely and securely organize the things you are bringing. Most importantly, plan for how you will charge your batteries. They need to be in a secure, well ventilated area (i.e. not the floor, not covered by other things).

A broom, trash bags, container for safety glasses, boxes for organizing your materials, and a container of some sort to store water so you can stay hydrated will all greatly help you.

The pit spaces are extremely tight and we are all trying to cram a lot of stuff inside. Also, bring a couple of folding chairs. Regionals can be quite taxing on pit crew members!

From an imagery perspective, bring a poster or banner that showcases your team name and colors. You can use PVC pipe to create a standalone piece to hang your flags/posters/banners on. Just remember that regionals have a 10’ height limit for pits.

The WPI regional will have a new pit area this year, and they expect that teams will get 10x10 space this year.

I recommend shelves. You will be needing to access tools quickly, and unless you already have a rolling workbench with drawers, shelves make organization quick and easy.

WPI specifically built a new building next to the arena for the FRC pit area, and for other more minor sports things for the rest of the year. :slight_smile:

My small suggestion is a clock to hang next to a small white board with your scheduled matches. Yes, everyone has a clock on their phone, but it’s easier to glance at the wall clock when you’re up to your elbows in robot guts and your next match is in five minutes.

Half the years our programmers stood at a high desk built for that purpose; other times they got a corner out of the way and sat on a crate at the end of the table. One year our programmer sat on the table with the laptop next to him. As long as he is out of the way of the hardware crew. The programmer should be on the side of the robot where the cRIO and robot on/off switch, to tether quickly.

An “L” shaped pit gives maximum area for the robot/cart and walk-around. We have a display in the front corner (with programmer tucked in behind), battery cart/dump table, tall shelves; along the back more shelves, tool chests, and crates. It changes year to year of course.