Team 4414 | HighTide | Pit Writeup

Presenting the 2022 HighTide Pit


This is a very high overview of our pit. There is a ton of small details that go into making a seamless experience at competition, but the road cases provided a strong foundation setting us up for success.

The 5 Pillars of the HighTide PIt (or a pit of any style)


  • Taking care of your build space is the first step in taking care of your robot
  • Work out of your pit in the room (may not be possible for larger teams)
  • Don’t just label what things are, LABEL WHERE THEY GO!
  • Iterate your space like your robot, it can always be 1% better
  • Remove unused tools and spare parts, store them elsewhere and reintroduce as needed

Our goals, values and backstory


1st Pit 2019-2021

This is the pit we started the team with. It consisted of 2 husky roll-able toolboxes and 2 wire racks. For transportation, we just wrapped everything in cling wrap. It was inspired from our previous experiences on other teams. It was quick, easy, cheap and allowed our team to focus on more important things during our infancy as a team.

The largest issues with this setup was its limited table space, and complicated packing process. Batteries needed to be removed from the wire rack, and it took a good 20-30 min to wrap everything. There was really limited storage for larger subsystems like spare intakes and climbers which was less of an issue during the bag era.

The solution

Inspired by 1678s original design in 2015 (and iterated on by so many others) we decided to move to the roadcase setup.

Here is the inspiration photos we used when designing our pit

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Values for the redesign

  1. Function always comes first
  2. Its easy to keep things clean and organized when you take pride in your work, and make things look good!
  3. Fix what bugs you, small improvements compound into huge gains

Requirements

  1. Fit in 9x9 pit and self-sustained lighting
  2. Ample storage for tools, parts, subsystems, and raw materials
    1. Every tool we use to build the robot, take the room with us
  3. Maximize tablespace
  4. Maximize unload and pack up efficiency (sub 10 min)
  5. Include creature comforts
  6. Project team brand onto an event
  7. Designed to be organized

Cases


How they work

Each case is made up of three parts, the base, shelf, and lid. The shelf has a hinge on the front edge that lets it fold over the table of the base. The lid is completely removed and re-latched to close in the front of the case.

The corner case is slightly different and the top section is fully removed, rotated 180, and reattached to the top, no hinge. The front panel is then removed and stored behind the cases.

See Images

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Where to buy and dimensions

We have been on the fence about buying road cases for some time now but never thought the quality of the shell justified the price. That all changed when we saw some cases produced by Omega Case Co Inc in Burbank CA This is not a paid advertisement. Give them a call and they can adjust the “HighTide Cases” as needed to fit any tool chests you have. You should be able to get a full setup for 2.5k per main case and 1.25k for the corner, adjusted for wood prices at the time of order.

Prints

This drawing was made with minimal detail, latch locations were referenced from drawings they had on hand from making these cases for another local team

Structure

The cases are purchased as empty shells. We leveraged our in-house sheet metal capabilities to manufacture all the racking and structure needed to build these out into a proper pit, however, all our efforts could be easily replicated using tube and gusset or other alternative architectures.

Features

  • Teal… duh
  • Modular racking, both cases use the same 7 parts
  • Lightweight .09 aluminum, keep overall case weight down
  • Adds additional support to keep cases from sagging

Bins


Assortment Boxes

Auer Assortment Box, imported from Germany. I really can’t recommend these. Auer was very hard to work with, doesn’t ship to the US, and after VAT and shipping these were embarrassingly expensive… but #NOREGRETS!

Good alternatives for all budgets

Sortimo
BOSCH
HUSKY
Harbor Freight - I wouldnt flip these over, I would remove from the shelves and place on top of the toolbox before closing the case.

Bins are categorized and given given a dedicated location number based on an excel style grid.

Storage bins

Sterilite 6qt, wow and they come in teal!

All bins are visually labeled, grouped by category, and are given a dedicated location number based on an excel style grid (missing from photo).

Left Case


Photos of Left Case

This case is the central hub for Hightides execution at an event. The batteries each have a dedicated slot on our charging rack allowing the batteries to be easily tracked and have their load better spread over an event. The Mac Mini computer allows our strategy and scouting teams to easily access high-quality data(from our app based scouting system) on the ground, our drive team to perform comprehensive post match debriefs with video review, and allows us to access the cad at any time. To top it all off there is ample table space, lighting (upper and lower), and frosty place to store some bevs :wink:

Features

  • M1 Mac Mini with 5g hotspot (wired)
    • Monitor on arm
    • Stadia compatible
  • 6 tote storage capacity
  • 15 battery simultaneous charging
  • Drill battery charging
  • Mini Fridge
  • 32 parts/subsystem bin capacity
  • Printer (2d)
  • Large table space and easy access to power
  • Team banner mount
  • Lighting

Right Case


Photos of Right Case

The right case is our main work area. Lots of assembly or repairs will happen at this case during a competition due to having all of our tools and hardware. As previously stated, this stores virtually every tool, nut, and bolt owned by 4414.

Features

  • 72 inch Stainless steel Husky tool box
  • Literally all of our tools
  • 24 Auer Assortment Boxes
  • Easy access to cleaning supplies and trash
  • 4 person folding chair, the “pit couch”
  • Large table space and easy access to power
  • Team banner mount
  • Lighting

Corner Case


Photos of Corner Case

The eye of the storm, the nexus. All things begin and end at the corner case. Its a great place to store all of our extra things. High mounted tv is great for putting the stream up (connects to mac mini with HDMI pass through) or a larger team video review.

Features

  • wall space to mount check lists and match schedules
  • large void for storing random things
  • High TV for large audience viewing

Packing


Photos of ready to close cases

The top row of bins is removed from the left case and set ontop of the tool box. Covers are screwed into the front of the racking to allow of the cases to be folded flat. Floor tiles, game pieces and misc items are packed into the corner case.

At Competition


Photos of pit at competition

We couldn’t be happier with how the pit worked out at competition. The team worked very hard to make sure everything was prepped and it showed. Moving out pit twice at worlds was a new experience for our team and is what this pit was designed for.

Moving Forward


We have been discussing as a team all the little thing here and there we want to improve. There is still work to be done in the corner case (adding a shelf) and we might look into a new floor tiles. Generally small quality of life improvements all around from our lessons learned. Always pushing to be better!


Im happy to go into more detail on anything not outlined above, we will not be releasing CAD for the cases and structure.

145 Likes

The design of your pit modules is immaculate. Was super fortunate to see it in person at Houston, and really appreciate this detailed overview of its construction. Congrats on a great year!

3 Likes

Any details or designs you can share about your battery setup. I love the mounted SB50s, curious if they’re flush or do you the batteries sitting on hardware?

Can you link the large totes that you’re using? They look different than the average kop totes.

This is extremely cool.

2 Likes

This right here is the most useful CD post I’ve seen in ten years, for me and my team. Thank you so much.

9 Likes

Both genius additions, I can’t wait to add those to our setup

3 Likes

This is awesome! A few questions:
What battery chargers are you using?
Can we get closeup pictures of the hinge area?
Can we get closeup pictures of where the wheels mount?

Right? The content isn’t even that applicable to me, but I’m just overwhelmed at how much thought went into this post and the level of detail that’s been shared.

I also love that you have a fridge in your pit.

22 Likes

I’m curious how you guys transport these cases as they seem pretty big. I will definitely be taking notes for our pit

I was wondering how you guys mounted everything to the road case itself? As well as how the wheels are mounted? Do you have pictures of the wheel mounting? Thanks.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing this. Was really intrigued by all the corner cases I saw at champs.

We did a similar setup this year, although with one major change: separate battery box.

At our shop, this allows us to move our batteries between our build area and practice room independent of the tools and without the need for battery runners during longer sessions.

6 Likes

We are using 5x of the triple chargers. Each charger id placed behind the rightmost battery which extends to the back of the case and leaves maximum useable space behind the rack.

The top 9 slots are for our competition batteries and only used in official matches. The other 6 are used for practice in the room and practice matches. All 15 batteries stay on the charger all season long to keep them trickle charging and condition, only being unplugged to move the road cases to comp.

The SB50s are installed using flush pem nuts, a few of these got installed in the wrong side and have been pulling out, so we are looking into better ways to do this.

Uline sells various sizes, these are smaller than standard FRC ones and just happened to give us the best space utilization. They are on the small side and I find us struggling to pack larger robot parts in them: S-20588

These were purchased features of the case. Here are some photos, you could reach out to omega for details if your looking to DIY but I dont know much:


We load them onto our (Sessa MFGs) flatbed using a liftgate. I would DM @Michael_Corsetto for details on how to get these into a trailer, I’m honestly not sure how they push them up a ramp…

9 Likes

Can we get a close up of how the storage racks and battery section mount to the actual road case

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If it going into the walls of the road case and need some strength we just drill through and use a 10-32 button head w/ washer from the outside. Lighter duty applications, and things going into the floor or table top use wood screws of various lengths.

2 Likes

I kind of hate it, because now my students are asking for one too - and I already have trouble telling them to keep food and drink out of the pit :slight_smile:

10 Likes

How much does each road case weigh with everything in it?

3 Likes

Which case contains the most stoke, and how would you recommend maximizing stoke-related efforts during design and assembly?

4 Likes

No clue, but if I had to guess the left case is around 1000 and the right one closer to 1500. I was told 973s super pit could around 2800lbs each so I may be way off, but these are lighter than they look.

As die-hard Mercadies f1 fans, we are embarrassed to say that our build season is powered by RedBull. The fridge is topped off at all times. RedBull expense rivals that of falcons. Keeps max stoke (no pun intended).

12 Likes

Yaaa I banned red bull after last season, our fridge is only stocked with monster now.

9 Likes

supermax-verstappen

5 Likes