Shipping Crates

My team is looking at designing a new shipping create for next season. Does anyone have any good recommendations on designs. We are looking at possibly using it as part of our pit next year. Please post ideas and pictures if you could.

If at all possible I’d wait until kickoff. There have been hints that shipping rules will change - and not just bag-n-tag vs traditional shipping.

I just did a quick search using terms like ‘crate design’ and ‘photos of crates’ in my search. I came across some threads that provide suggestions, information, and also some photos.

I’ve always been interested in seeing how different teams incorporate their crate into being a functional part of their pit so I love this type of thread/discussion. That said, I do agree with Gary that there are enough hints out that I would be cautious in doing much more than coming up with some great ideas and designs that can be altered or modified at this point.

Good luck with this project.

There have also been a number of crate shipping issues in the past. Anything from the crate falling apart in transit to being opened to getting hit by the tongue of a forklift. While you can’t prevent all of them, you can alleviate the issues by building a strong crate. However, you will also need a light crate.

This is advice that I would have given last year and any other year, and I give it this year with the warning that crate design is subject to change.

Or if you’re willing to pay overweight fees you can build as strong as you like, if you really want to… 1714’s used a plate made of diamond plate since 2007, partly for strength and partly for “cool factor”. Though it still gets heavily abused with transit…

Heed EricH’s warning.
This thread may be a good read, a few teams have pictures posted of their crates/pits, including mine. That thread was from the summer before FiM started up and our crate became unnecessary due to the bagging procedures.

I’m not sure how long our crate shown in the thread above was used, but I’m inclined to say two or three seasons (then FiM started…). It was all wood, and to my knowledge we didn’t have any problems with it getting damaged during shipping. It was also a very durable and sturdy pit.

You left out this

And I second the recommendation to wait until after kickoff to build a new crate, as it seems to be likely that things may change this year. I would not stop the researching and the design, but would not actually spend any money just yet…

Mainly because I didn’t know about it…

There’ve been discussions on this in the past, and I have to say, the above incident types are serious and more common than you might think. 330 took a forklift tine through the front of the crate with the robot inside. The tine missed the robot by being at the level of the wood block used to secure the robot. This is through some aluminum sheet stock that isn’t exactly foil…

And this

Wait until Kickoff. Crate Rules can change and there have been hints they will. You have been warned. May be of some assistance to you.

I worked for an overnight express company (Airborne Express, now defunct) for two years at night loading freight. I’ve seen things a lot more expensive and harder to repair/replace than a FRC bot run thru with a forklift, dropped, crushed, etc. Sometimes due to the incompetence of the people on the dock, sometimes due to the incompetence of the people that packed it.

All I can say is make sure the crate is solid, make sure the robot is fastened down securely inside (yes, I’ve heard stories of teams just putting the bot in the box…), and hope for the best. If you can afford it, insurance doesn’t hurt.

We did all that last year, and still had half a dozen broken welds on the robot when we opened the crate in WI. One reason I hate welding on robots, that’s tough to fix at the event.

In short, pack it well, and hope for the best. They go thru a lot of hands between the time they are picked up on ship day and when you see them again. Some spend a lot of miles in the back of a truck. Where they ride in that truck can make a big difference in the abuse they see.