Flying a Robot to U.S. Open


my team was wondering about flying with/shipping a robot. We will be flying on a connecting flight. Here are some questions:

  1. Should we fly the robot with us, before we leave, or ground ship it?
  2. I heard there are a few ways to fly the robot: carry-on, check-in, and as a passenger. What would be the most recommended way to fly our robot?
  3. For each of the ways, is there anything you have to make sure of, like weight problems?
  4. Are there any parts of the robot we have to disassemble, like the motors or the wheels?
  5. What other precautions should we take to make sure our robot can arrive safely and not get broken by the TSA, etc.?

I would recommend getting the fastest ground shipping you can get. Package it in a strong box or crate, and mark it as FRAGILE in big letters. Remove all axles, gears, wheels, and ideally motors (if you can’t remove motors just make sure to ziptie all of your wires to something, and organize your wires if you haven’t already). If your robot has gear towers on it, secure those to the bottom chassis with some c-channel or something and ziptie down the claw/dumper if applicable (basically just secure everything so that it doesn’t move without applying a lot of force. Make sure to wrap it in foam first, put all loose parts in a bag, and package it in tightly with more foam/packaging peanuts/airbags.

If its too late, flying with it works, but make sure to put VEX stickers on the box and clearly identify it as a competition/education robot, or you might be pulled into the side room by the TSA and they’re probably going to screw with it to make sure it isn’t a bomb or whatever.

Here’s a previous link about this: link

I would fly it with you as a check-in. Be sure to fit under the standard fifty pound limit. I would remove wheels to make sure the axles don’t bend when the robot gets put down really hard. And remove rubberbands to make sure they don’t lose elasticity.