Pit Structure Recommendations

Our current pit structure is PVC tubes, and it is terrible to set up, wobbly, and cant reliably hold up monitors or give-away shelving. It looks like this when set up, with the addition of two 4-foot tool carts, a battery cart, and some other free-standing items like a table. (sorry in advance for the limited pictures, it’s all I had on hand)

We would like to get a new structure, possibly a truss, but I am looking for recommendations. I’d like to stay under $2000, but more could be doable. Ideally it would be easy to assemble, and not the kind of truss with the long legs that can get easily dented and misaligned. We also plan to keep doing the back and front painted pit banners, so the truss or other structure would need back and front bars that can support them.

We are looking for lots of suggestions for styles, suppliers, etc, so if you have an idea, please send it my way.

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Some ideas from previous threads:


Thanks, I actually searched for threads on CD and saw most of these earlier. The truss threads are pretty old, and I’m really trying to avoid PVC and tents.

I feel like there should be more information out there about trusses 4-6 years later…

This link may help a bit.

In all seriousness, in this situation pictures do much better than words. Do consider trade booth systems as well. 103 has been using trade booth designs for years with great success.

Places to get trade booth displays:

Its been a while since I’ve been lmgtfy’d… I did google that ahead of time though, but the results were largely uninspiring. Maybe my dream pit structure just doesn’t exist, but I can hope.

Take a look at boltless shelving. We got our entire pit lights and all for under 500 dollars. The shelving was from a file storage company’s condemned building, $25 for 1 foot by 7foot by about 7 feet tall. I don’t have pictures but 3255 also did it this year.

Boltless shelving sure is nice, and we have some in our shop, but we are fine on storage space in our pit (beyond maybe a single shelf coming out the front of a truss). I feel like it would take up too much real estate to put some in each corner of the pit to hold up banners.

This will be the envy of everyone at the competition: https://www.mcmaster.com/6704t69


How do I embed an image? We used boltless for our entire pit structure. It rebuilds nicely into carts for transport and the beams nest for storage.

If your dream pit doesn’t exist as something you can currently purchase. Maybe you could design and build it instead?

See if you can find a button that lets you “upload”…

[https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPki9PmUM8jD66UxlxbltNakVCO1c--925cnkT1wAfovQ5TlaZtxIAYxeJm18mXQQ?key=aklKdy1XUGl2YUVIMHA1aW5FTlhWeDdISTRGY3BR](google photos is a pain to embed.)

Embedding photos is easy, if you upload them to cd. But your profile settings might prevent you doing that?

Put the link on its own line and ditch the square brackets:

and it will work.

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Thanks. Anyway. That video gives a little look at our pit. (excuse the screaming children we just won the regional)

We have really been loving the tent we got from Euromax. It’s a 10 x 10 canopy that we were able to hang pit lights from, along with running electrical and Ethernet cords to the center of our pits without mentors tripping over them. You can get them custom branded as well. It takes about 10 minutes for us put up with 4 people and is a heck of a lot lighter that most pit structures. If it fits in a mini-van, it’s a win for me.

We also designed a cart that holds a monitor, buttons, and binders for PR. It’s really nice to display in the pit, and serves as a storage cart for PR during the school year. It’s footprint leaves plenty of space in the pits.

Below is a picture. Unfortunately I don’t have much better of the canopy.

Any teams making DIY trusses? Aluminum, wood, PVC or otherwise?

Pits made from 80/20 are expensive and heavy but can bear load if designed properly

2220 has operated a truss pit since 2013 and is planning to move away from it towards a rolling cabinet style put instead due to ongoing setup, maintenance, and safety issues.

I would not recommend a truss style pit for any team looking to up their pit game. Yes, they look pretty, but there’s a real cost (financial, setup, transportation) to them. Additionally, every minute spent setting up the pit is one distracting from actually competing. You can get good looking, clean pits in other ways.


I agree with your analysis up to a point. Ready to go pits (ala 973 and others) are awesome if you are able to transport them. Initial expenses can exceed a truss system’s cost and transport costs can add up as well. Many teams don’t have the financial and manpower resources to haul the pit ready units. 987 is able to fit it’s 4” square truss system (~$2000) in our Champs shipping crate for example, layering most of the pieces across the bottom of the crate with a few standing up against the backside of the crate. 2 Integrated wire shelf units are bought on Amazon for $50-70 each and delivered free directly to our hotel. Tool boxes and other pit stuff travels as checked luggage. Saves space and weight charges for crate. We donate our shelf units to other teams at Champs. $100-140 recurrent yearly cost much less than gas, hotel stays, food for driver(s) to haul half way across the country
and we love helping out other teams:) And yes set up can take some time and manpower as a trade off but we have the enough people on the team to assemble the new shelf units outside the venue while awaiting entry (and add rollers to them), placing all of our pit stuff storage containers and tool boxes,etc so we are ready to work on the robot immediately. Truss system is removed from the crate and we assemble it partially away from the pit (inside or outside the venue as needed) and attach larger lengths in the pit (~15 minute process timed for absence of robot and drive crew at practice field, etc. Bottom line is you do what you can do when it comes to pits;)

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