Pit Structure Ideas.

In terms of functionality, I’d take a look at team 973s pit setup. They built their entire bit (toolboxes, storage, batteries, etc.) all onto two giant rolling workshop tables. It might not look quite as good as the truss but you can set up your pit simply by rolling them out from the trailer, and get working on your robot that much sooner.

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Looks great, but it definitely is not in our manufacturing capability realm.

We are thinking this is probably our best bet. Its cheap enough that we can spend some money getting full sized vinyl panels on the side, maybe some cool lighting, ect.

With the truss it would be just truss with 2 10 by 4 banners attached to it and would be stretching our budget far. Could you get me a material list?

And, does anyone know where can we can get printed mesh for the front? Because on 1884’s pit I loved it.

Where did you guys get your truss and lighting?

Once upon a time, 862 used to run a full canopy of painted PVC with fabric panels (attachment 1). We eventually decided that this was a bad idea for several reasons:

  • Tacky / unprofessional
  • Not very durable
    (mostly the paint, but also the fabric panels due to their construction)
  • Unsafe
    (blocks too much light)
  • Intolerant of variable pit dimensions
  • More trouble than it’s worth

We then spent a few years trying out other combinations in varying degrees of minimalism, before we finally got our Marketing team in solid enough shape to put together a comprehensive pit redesign. Today, we run an L-shaped pit (attachment 2):

It sounds like your team might be looking at building a little taller, but I figured I’d share 3787’s pit. It’s quite easy to set up and compacts into a small trailer.

The back pegboard is now green and has hooks for commonly used tools.

The walls are wrapped black tarps with wood supports on the top and bottom to keep them from sagging and anything slipping under the wall from the other side. They adjust fairly easily to adapt to different pit sizes.

The desks at the front (we call them the reception desks) separate into the two sides, front, and three shelves each (The top one you see in the picture and two metal racks you don’t see)

I’d be happy to answer any questions if you have them! :slight_smile:







Looks like a very functional pit. I like the little reception area thing in the front it’s a very different approach then most pits.

Thanks for sharing.

We redesigned our pit this year with the main goals being ease of transport and ease of use, with aesthetics being a close third. We’re very happy with the end result, especially when it cost us less than $200 easily. Can be setup to fit within 8x8, 9x8, 9x9, 10x9, or 10x10. Setup time is roughly 10 minutes, and it can be easily modified. I’ve attached a picture of the setup.

Corners/Connectors: http://tarps.com/chrome2.htm
Pipe (Conduit): http://www.lowes.com/pd_72715-1792-101568___?productId=3129555&pl=1&Ntt=conduit
Make sure you get the same size pipe as you do connectors so they fit together…

The idea is that the splice connector allows you to build different length poles that connect together to create a total 8’, 9’, or 10’ span, to accommodate every pit size you may encounter. We used (cheap) shower curtain rings (and zipties) to hang banners and awards. Overall we were very happy with this simple and cheap solution that will certainly last for years to come.





I appreciate all these ideas - 2706 is brand new this year and I will be heading up a pit design. I like what KeeganP’s team has done, that looks very similar to what I have been envisioning.

As a new team we are going through the usual struggle to find sponsors so for us, cost and easy manufacture are priorities, so we are looking at COTS parts for the superstructure and nothing fancy like trusses. I was going to go with PVC pipe but many threads here on CD suggest staying away from that. 1" EMT looks like a good material. I was going to purchase fittings suitable for those outdoor garage canopy shelters.

As for the rest of the pit itself, I was going to propose a COTS rolling toolbox, a battery charging station built out of plywood, and some kind of backboard/parts shelf made from a plywood box on wheels.

Experience from my previous team tells me that the foam “puzzle piece” flooring is a good idea for comfort and to cushion dropped tools and parts.

Nice alternative to many of the other pits out there. Is the 1" conduit you reference from Lowes actually 1 3/16" OD that the Tarps.com website says is needed?

Where did you get your floor tiles? They look more heavy duty than your typical foam floor tiles.

They look like rubber floor tiles to me.

When it comes to inconsistent pit sizing, 1923 had our truss made 9x9x10. We’ve had the occaisonal 8-foot-on-one-side pit, but it’s rare, and our neighbors have never minded sharing the corner of the structure in an overlap, as long as our tables and stuff are inside our space. When we do get a 10x10 space, we just push our tables & carts a little bit outside of the truss on the sides and back, and have the extra foot of room for displays and chatting out front. I’d highly recommend sizing something like a truss slightly down so you don’t have to squeeze it in or abandon it at some venues.

I’ll try and find the truss vendor for you (don’t remember it offhand), but it was definitely over $1000. What I do highly recommend for the pit in a budget range for any team is an Insta-Bench. Foldable when you need space, absolutely vital when there’s a field delay or you just want to hang out for a little bit.

We have a 10x10 pop-up canopy we use as an outdoor pit for demos at fairs and such. We leave the canvas off for indoor use; we can still hang lightweight items such as lights and sponsor banners from it. We always keep some paracord handy, so if we had to constrain it to 9’x9’ or even 8’x8’, we could do so easily. You can see it above Perry and Oscar in this photo I took at CMP. I’m not recommending this for Sperkowsky, but anyone who wants to spend under two hundred dollars to be able to hang banners and lights and sees this thread could find it useful.

I’d caution against making an enclosed pit that looks super fancy if you don’t also put equal (or more) emphasis on the functionality of the pit.

I honestly don’t remember. Our coach ordered the fittings from Tarps.com, and then once they came in I believe he took one in to Lowes and tested the fit himself before buying the right size pipe then. Cost from Tarps.com was cheap, and delivery was fast.

I second this.

Looks are important but, throughout the design process I am thinking about functionality.

We have what we want pretty much designed at this point.

We will be using a frame design similar to Blackbirdsingin’s design just shorter with more graphics. Basically 1x1 aluminum tubing with Esto connectors. It will be an L-Shaped inside with the entire Left side clear.

On the right front side we will be hanging a mesh side banner that covers the full side (3ft tall 7 ft tall). Then the right side will house our tool cart, Electrical cart, and two ikea shelves.

Carts x2 - http://tinyurl.com/p5rj9gk

Close Shelf - http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S19829090/

Far Shelf - http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S69829083/

It is about 2 inches over 10ft but we care cutting down the handles on the carts and attaching new shorter ones. We are also going to attach tabletops to the cart tops.

The far shelf is meant to be partially obstructed so we can put coats,bags, and food (One the venues does not allow food to be brought in due to a dining company contract). The rest of the far shelf will hold power tools, extra robot parts, and misc storage.

The front shelf will hold awards, giveaways, and safety supplies. Both shelves will also be filled with parts. We usually bring a lot of parts with us to competitions to loan. This year we are even going to have a dedicated person listening to Pit-admin announcements and checking out parts to other teams who need them.

The back of the pit will house our charging cart, and rolling table which has storage underneath. The storage underneath will have our mini drill press which is light enough to pick up and put on the table if needed, and our full sized shop vac (No tool has been used by more teams then our shop vac).

That gives us a 7x7 block of free space in the front left corner. In the center of that will be our new scissor lift robot cart the technology director is buying us.

We will be using a foam floor we bought last year unless we feel the need to upgrade to rubber.

Going back to graphics the front will also have a 3x10 top mesh banner. The sides of the pit will have a 10x10 mesh banners and the back will be a solid piece of vinyl with our logo on it.
Every piece of mesh or vinyl will have logos, and sponsors all over it.

If anyone is wondering what I mean by mesh side banners check out 1884’s pit. https://www.instagram.com/p/zKmBbwDPzo/
Instead of having open sides we will have 2 panels of something like what they put in the back, and the back will also be similar except it wont be mesh. The front will look about the same except the side banner will go all the way down. One pet peeve of mine with their pit was that the back graphic got covered up by their tables so our graphic will start higher.

Oh, yea we will also be painting the 1x1 and connectors navy blue.

Where are you getting your mesh banners from and how much are they? We have been using vinyl from buildasign, I just wanted to check out some other options.

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The 10x10 ones are $290 from esign. Compared to a normal 10x10 banner which costs on average over $100 less.

The other mesh banners (normal sized ones) were like $75.

EMT conduit comes in pretty standard sizes so I’m guessing yes.

Have you purchased these shelves already? I just caution that they’re a little bit finicky to assemble because of all the little plastic “split collar” pieces. If you haven’t already, try it out to make sure you’re happy with the time it takes to assemble/disassemble, and make sure you don’t lose any of the pieces :slight_smile: