Pit Structure Ideas.

Our school introduced a new Director of Technology this year and he has been very interested in our team. He helped us gain more build space, find sponsors, and get transportation for the robot and the team free of charge.

Another thing he was very interested in was helping our teams image. After going years without success we have flown under the radar and most teams in our area don’t know we exist. One way he figured we can get a better image aside from doing well in events and more outreach, is nicer team apparel, giveaways, and other little “Showy” things.

We gave him a list of things in this category and he decided that the school is going to pay for T-shirts, Business cards, 2 vinyl Banners, and the biggest thing a new tent or pit structure.

We currently have a plain white 10x10 EZup tent that works fine. But, Its a plain white tent.

We quoted a new structure at around $1,000 so that’s what we are looking at.

The biggest thing is having team logos all over the place. That’s what he wants and he is paying for it. Custom branded tents are what we first thought of but they are pretty expensive and still kind of boring.

Any ideas?

How about a truss structure you can mount lights, video screens, shelving, and banners to? It may cost a little over $1000 but many teams have made great use of it.
(For example, Team 3309’s structure in the attached photo)

Be aware that some events give you odd size pit spaces, I know that 3309 had lots of fun trying to fit their structure into the pit at Arizona regional last spring. Flexibility is nice.

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As of right now all the events around us don’t have those issues especially with both local regionals down sizing this year but that’s definitely a good point for the future especially if ny moves towards the district model.

I was thinking about that after seeing 1884’s pit. When I asked where they purchased their “special light” truss and mesh banners they wouldn’t tell me saying “it’s a secret and they don’t want another team to replicate it.”

So… If I post a pic of their pit do you think you could figure out what it is.

Also wondering where 3309 got their truss.

This is the one that we have purchased. We have loved it. We mounted two TVs, small replica winner banners, track lighting, and brochure holders. It is a little pricey, but we have been saving the money for years. We also use it at other team ran events: Demos, FLL Qualifiers, Road Races, etc.


This is a problem you should account for because you never know what pit space you’ll get.
Our team has a U-shaped frame that arches over our pit entrance. We have a team banner on the frame, and the frame is adjustable (using pins) so that it can fit 10’ or 9’, depending on the pit size. Then, we have a single bar that extends from the middle of the frame to the back of the pit - we hang a light from there since some events have poor lighting in the pits. The frame is fairly collapsible and is pretty light, so it is easy to carry it in with the rest of the pit. Sorry, I don’t have a picture.

Here is the one that 2877 made. It was made using Esto connectors, and to make it portable, we used the cheap solid plastic connectors and sliced crosses into all but one end on each. This meant that connectors were stuck to tubing, so they couldn’t get lost easily. If you want to get similar stuff, make sure to get the tubing with the ridges in it. It cost us around $350-400, including the connectors and tubing we had already. This is just the framing, but we made signs to go on the frame, we are considering adding worklights, and we had a curtain and award banners to put on the back. If you ask, I can send some images of the pit frame in all its glory, complete with the signs. I can also answer any questions you have, since I designed and led the making of the pit. It can go to 9’ in each direction, but the full thing is for a 10’ cube.

pit_2015_cad.zip (934 KB)

pit_2015_cad.zip (934 KB)

Do you have a picture?

Here you go. And yes, that’s me wearing a bandana and posing awkwardly for the camera. Don’t judge me. :slight_smile:

There are a few other pictures of it on our Flickr, but I don’t use Yahoo, so I can’t download them. Here’s the link. They’re near the bottom of the first page.

4901 uses a pit table custom-made out of Bosch FMS extrusion, paired with a couple half-height plastic shelving units to define the front of our pit. The pit table lifts off of the rolling toolboxes, allowing it to go under a charter bus or the back of a pickup easily. The vinyl banner in the back just hooks on a structure going up from the back of the table, making it easy to change out as sponsors change. You want that.

The end result is exactly as clean as your team is (working on that…), but it’s definitely the best pit setup I’ve worked in.

I could never understand why in an already-dark arena, there’s always a couple teams who elect to put a shade canopy over their pit area.

Neither could we which is why we got a white canopy. Lets 80% of light in.

This is an interesting fact, for us; weight, size and flexibility are major concerns for our pit.

We’re an international team and the pit is a difficult thing for us. Since we can’t load a trailer full with parts, machines & truss structures, everything has to fit in 1 box & when we’re overweight we pay lots of money.

Since last year we designed and built a complete flightcase together with Faes Cases. It’s multifunctional since it can go from 1 flightcase into 3 sub parts. Forming our robot cart (Included with tool drawers), programming table/worktable in the pit and a huge table for judging stuff. (Pictures attached)

For this season we’re looking into a pit structure which is light weight, fits in our flightcase and has the look & feeling of our team and robot. We’re currently looking into a square carbon fibre structure. Currently working on the project together with Refitech. They’re visiting us wednesday to discuss the final plans. (Pictures attached)

And making the walls out of a vinyl kinda thingy. We kinda like to keep the sides open to have some interaction with our neighbours :slight_smile:

Oh and btw; this news is awesome of course! Super happy for your team to have such a new positive influence. I hope everything will work out as you hope!

Looks great any ideas on price. Excited to see the pit and compete with you guys at nyc. Again if you need batteries or anything else we can help you out.

Well, price… that’s a different thing. If we want to buy this tubing for ‘normal’ price it will probably be around 4 times your estimated budget :confused:

But Refitech is helping us in designing and we get it for a nice discount most likely. And the weight from carbon vs. aluminum will make it worth the investment after 4 shipments. (Or seasons, I don’t recall correctly)

Excited to meet you all in NYC as well! We’re coming in at the 10th in the morning. Probably staying untill wednesday morning, then we’re leaving to Troy. I’ll let you know if we need anything, thanks!!

If anyone has questions on 3309’s truss, let me know and I can provide more detail on our exact setup.

It’s made of 8" square truss, in a 10x10x10 configuration. We hang a number of RGB LED fixtures from the truss to illuminate the inside and provide work lighting, all controlled over DMX. We also have custom 3309 gobos in moving heads that we bring to some events. When the pit is empty, as shown in this photo, we leave the ‘mood’ lighting on, but when the pit is occupied, it gets incredibly bright.

We transport the truss with most of the lighting installed, with quick disconnects at each truss junction. Total setup takes 20 minutes or less.

Aside from a professional look, having a truss provides other benefits - a great way to hang extra lighting to make working in the pit safer and easier, and a solid structure to hang monitors, banners, etc from.

I agree but it probably has to do with how many trips I’ve made around the sun. There was a time when working in the dark didn’t affect me that much but nowadays give me lots and lots of light.

During the 2013 offseason we completely rebuilt our pit and are quite happy with the results.

We built the trussing ourselves out of 1x1x.0625 and .125 aluminum tubing for about $600 dollars. This was with a sponsor welding most of it and some students doing the rest. The trussing is all 6x6 except for the front right which is 18x18 to accommodate the built in shelving and monitors. It takes about 30 minutes to set up the pit if someone is there who has done it before. For the sign we used an online vendor and got it for about 100 dollars. If you have any questions feel free to ask.