Going to Dallas

I just qualified for dallas at the last qualifying competition. I was just wondering if there is any pointers or tips anyone could give me about the comp. The main thing I am having trouble with is how to get my robot there. I live so far away I have to fly down but I don’t know how to get my bot there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Team 1190,Derek

I made a wooden crate for my robot, and i was planning on checking it in with my other luggage. it opens up and has a TSA lock ( so airport can open with key). I don’t think they’ll let me carry it on plane. Also packing it with bubble wrap/packing peanuts and foam so it doesn’t get damaged

Since we have to bring six robots, we are going to pack them in double-walled cardboard boxes stuffed with bubble wrap and/or packing peanuts. They will go on the planes as luggage. Our tools and spare parts will go in suitcases and checked. We are asking team members to pack light and carry on their bags wherever possible so that we can use their checked baggage allowance for team gear. As it is, with more than 40 people on the flight we probably won’t end up paying excess baggage charges.

Last year we only took one robot to Atlanta, and took the tower/arm off for packing. Big mistake – it took two or three hours to get everything hooked back up and working properly. This time the robots are going into 24" cubical boxes and packed tight so we don’t have to take them apart.

Good luck!

Congrats! :slight_smile:
Well our team decided to ship our robots. Hopefully nothing happens on its plane ride or while it waits for us in Dallas.

If you want, the safest way is to ship it to the hotel you’re staying at. Last year, customs managed to bend a chassis rail (the shortest one) about 20 degrees. After Atlanta, we tried bending it back and it just wouldn’t go. The customs officials probably sat on the bot or something.

Last year we borrowed these large red AV containers. They have like a 18x18x25in space in side. The outside is completely metal, and the inside has foam and its like Vex plans the bot so its dimensions fit perfectly inside the bot. I also suggest you tell the FTA agents that you have a robot inside and open it and let them inspect it. Were from Hawaii, so shipping is sorta a problem for us (8 hour flight with 3 hour layover). I suggest hard side boxes with foam in the inside, so the box doesn’t bend if someone sat on it… Also spare parts (we brought one of every piece of metal on our bot just in case). But… our RC receiver broke in-transit, so make sure you test all that stuff before you come. They dont allow RC in the building…

So I am guessing the easiest way to do this is a rigid container and take it with me as a bag of luggage, I think this is what everyone is saying. Thanks everyone for your pointers!

I’ve heard how with other engineering contests (not robotics but other competitions) where their machines, bridges, etc. would get crushed with the bubble wrap. This is due to changes with air pressure and temperature in a fixed volume in the uncontrolled luggage compartments of the plane to the point where the wrap expands. While this may be OK for a rigid, metal robot just keep in mind that this may cause some bending and unwanted forces.

I was hoping to pick up some parts in the VEX store at the champsionships. From what you said, it sounds like it would be OK to take them home in my checked luggage. I didn’t know if there would be any problems with security when they see metal and electronics parts in my suitcase on the x-ray scanner.

Last year when we went to Atlanta we made a big point of telling the airline people that our cases included lots of metal, batteries and edged tools, and what all those pieces were. No hassles at all.

since our team is from atlanta and previous world competitons have been here we have never had to ship our bot, but since we have to this year we are shipping our bot to the hotel andhaving them hold it for us that way there’s o hassle at the airport and no risk of the bot getting messed up by other luggage or flight conditions

For those shipping items to Dallas, have you seen the arrangements VEX made with a drayage company to make receiving items and delivery to the pits easier? Look under Event Documents on the Robot Events Championship Listing ( http://robotevents.com/event.php?eid=1201 ).

I called the company last week- they will receive items at their warehouse and then deliver them to the pit area on the morning of 29th. You can ship a little earlier to ensure everything gets there, they will hold it for you, and you supposedly call to confirm they have received your shipment (though you can also do that on the FedEx or UPS websites).

Just another oprtion to consider.

Thanks - it sounds like I shouldn’t have any problems then. Hopefully I will get to meet you and your teams in Dallas!

I’ve been wondering… how do you guys take the robot with you on the plane? Isn’t this maximum size for the carry on luggage 45" (length + width + height)… meaning that the robot would be at least 18" + 18" + 18" or 54" in total.

You might double-check your airline for size of checked luggage. We’re flying Alaska Airlines which has a maximum size of 62". Since none of our robots is 18x18x18 they should fit OK in a 20x20x20 box. 45" would be a pretty small suitcase. Even my road-warrior rolling bag is 24x16x10 or 50". No airline has ever said it was too large for a carry-on.

What kind of airline is that???

Do they have to chisel it out of ice?? Or is it pulled by sled dogs?? :eek:

Sorry, but us folks from the deep south aren’t used to anything very cold…:slight_smile:

You can’t fool me – I’ve been in the South in the summer. Outdoors: 98 degrees and 98 percent humidity. Indoors: 46 air-conditioned degrees. You people know all about cold, you just make it yourselves.

Right, but you don’t have a $1000 per month electric bill either. We only wish that we can be at 60 degrees all the time. Remember, we freak out if we see any white things floating down from the sky…

True enough. We have zillions of cloudy days (like 200 a year), but the temperature is pretty moderate, 40ish in December, 70ish in July, and our maximum energy bill is usually about $350 in December. Our July energy bill is well under $100.

On the other hand, everyone in Western Washington DOES freak out when it snows.

Yea, but we make national news when it snows here. :slight_smile: