Robot dimensions are an 18 inch cube. Is that true every year?
I ask because we are looking into cases for transporting our bot to national events. I just wanted to make sure we could use it if future years.
Some swear by the 20 inch Pelican cases. Do wheel wells get in the way? Is padding flexible? Is there room for parts and tools?
Every High/Middle School VEX game so far has had the 18" limit. I highly doubt VEX would change this any time soon.
I’m not sure what the norm is in US, but here in NZ we’ve been using custom made 20" Aluminium cases with foam on the inside for flying robots to the World Championships and they haven’t let us down yet.
I don’t know much about the Pelican cases, sorry. I’m sure someone else with much more knowledge about these things will come along shortly.
Pelican cases are very popular but can be expensive.
We go a bit cheaper more disposable route because with a Pelican box you now have a 20" hard cube you need to find a permanent home for.
Get a 24" cube shaped cardboard box and an 18" cube box. Put the 18" box inside the 24" ones with bubble wrap in between the boxes. Do normal shipping things like take out the shafts for wheels to ensure survival.
If you are shipping via UPS or Fed Ex, make sure the box can survive sliding down a 3 foot chute at a steep angle landing on a moving conveyor at the bottom. Other carriers may require palettes for forklifts so that works for multiple teams shipping together like we did a few years ago.
Downside is a forklift can still poke a hole in the side of your container. Less likely with pelican, wood, or metal boxes.
Besides the mechanical shock-load type of protection, keep in mind the possibility of your shipment getting rained on. I’ve heard a few stories about cardboard boxes being used for shipping robots and people receiving them soaking wet, probably from being left on a loading dock in the rain, etc.
Back in high school we built dozens of plywood crates for our worlds robots, and they held up pretty well. The outside dimensions were roughly 20x21x19.5 and were lined with extra foam tiles and bubble wrap to fill up the empty space around the robot. It even gave us room to attach 1x5x1 c-channel skids to the base of the chassis to keep the bot from moving around during shipping. Overall they worked quite nicely and aren’t too difficult to make. Painting them your team colors is always fun too
Here are some pictures that team 134 took of our crates:
Here are the cases we use. They are a roadie case and we got them from a place online that is 99 dollar cases or something like that, just Google it. We paid around 350 or so for them and they are 19" inside and 20" outside. Worked perfect when we flew so should be ok for a long time. You can also see that we have cases for controllers and laptops helps make sure they get there ok. They are Plano pistol cases, work pretty slick!! Lockable and waterproof!!!