So us Aussies are gonna be going to worlds and as virgins to travelling to the US we have no idea how to get our robot there in one piece.
We are taking 3 flights Melbourne -> LA, LA->Houston, Houston -> Louisville
We saw a few teams at the Asia-Pacific Comp using road cases, and for someone like me who works in theater they’re easy to get. However I was just wondering the recommended method of packing for Worlds and also what to bring.
Prepare your robot before packing them into the case.
Remove the wheels and any elastic material, eg. Rubber bands, latex tubing,etc.
After the robot is in (with suitable cushion at the bottom), make sure you dump enough crushed newspaper, styrofoam chips, etc into the case to make sure that the robot will not be moving too much inside the case.
Our robot has been built in modules. So we are going to take it apart and give everyone a module to put in their luggage. It will be held in place and protected by clothes. As long as the suitcase is hard or there are a lot of cushioning items (clothes) it’ll be fine.
You could pretty much keep the robot in one piece, except for in this year’s case i would take the flywheel wheel off to avoid bending the axle. Use dense foam about 2-3" thick on all sides of the robot to keep it steady, and on the bottom, just don;t put foam under the wheels, but under the metal. This keeps the base wheels from bending. This is the method my school has used for the past four years and the worst we’ve had done to a robot was a single bent one-by pressed up against foam. I would get a case with at least 2" around each edge of the robot so you can make sure the robot will not hit the walls when moving it.
Cut pool noodles down the middle, and use them as buffer. Really effective, minimal cleanup. That and a case. It would be, of course, best not to have to remove any components on your robot. However, you should remove elastics on linear punchers just in case.
Last year was the first time my team made it to Worlds. We were able to get a really good deal on a 24" Pelican case (foam cubes, casters, and the box for $150), and it worked really well. The robot suffered no damage, not even a bent axle, and the case didn’t even get scratched. We still have it, which is great for us, and if we need it this year we will use it again.
The one year, we actually bought a seat for our robot Although, we did have to call each airport ahead of time to warn them we were coming. We also had to disconnect the brain so it “wouldn’t hurt somebody”.
Just from my experience with shipping items long distance, I would say invest in a pack of those fragile stickers (more of a mental warning for employees handling the box) and silica gel. I recommend something to help absorb any moisture during those flights. I know the airlines do not offer the best rates for insurance on your items ,but I would budget that in and buy it.
As far as what stuff to bring you have kinda two ways to go you can bring everything to build a new bot example if stuff gets lost you can rebuild your bot but you run that risk with those parts getting lost as well but for sure bring everything that has a possibility of breaking such as wheels motors sensors lexan cortex and controllers. But any plastic parts dont bring in your luggage put it in a carry on.