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Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

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  • Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

    Hi,
    Our team just won our state championship, and will be advancing to the FIRST Championship in St. Louis (April 26-29, 2017). I have lots of logistics questions, but am also looking for some pointers from veterans. Here are a few of my questions...

    1. Detailed info on the FIRST website is sparse. Do they have blocks of hotel rooms that I'll have access to?
    2. I've seen lots of descriptions of the "pits". For our local competitions, we don't do much more than set up our posters and put out a bowl of candy. Maybe give out some themed stickers. It seems like the "booth" is more elaborate at the Worlds. What should we plan for?
    3. Anyone have luck shipping a robot? Bringing it on a plane?

    I have lots of questions, but I'll start there. What tips can you give me that I haven't thought of?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

    Congratulations! My team will also be going to St. Louis. This will be our first time at the World Festival.

    Originally posted by Blasters View Post
    Hi,
    Our team just won our state championship, and will be advancing to the FIRST Championship in St. Louis (April 26-29, 2017). I have lots of logistics questions, but am also looking for some pointers from veterans. Here are a few of my questions...

    1. Detailed info on the FIRST website is sparse. Do they have blocks of hotel rooms that I'll have access to?
    The trip planning web page is

    https://www.firstchampionship.org/pl...visit-st-louis

    Click on its "Attendee Registration" link to get to

    https://www.firstchampionship.org/at...ation-st-louis

    whose "Register in Advance" link brings up

    https://registration.experientevent....antGroupLogin/

    On this last page I created an account which I then used to reserve hotel rooms.

    ...
    3. Anyone have luck shipping a robot? Bringing it on a plane?
    When we went to the North American Open at Legoland (CA) 2 years ago, I packed our robots in my carry-on luggage.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

      Congratulations.

      There is a community Facebook group for teams attending the event in St.Louis to share tips if you are interested in joining/posing your questions there.

      1) Yes, there is a hotel booking site that will let you get a block of rooms. Hotels closer to the venue as well as further away have FIRST blocks.
      2) Pits are 10ft X10ft with a low (2-3ft) curtain demarcating the area on three sides. There will be one table and a couple of chairs in each pit. Some teams have a canopy. Others are creative with balloons, flags, etc. Teams do have giveaways.
      3) We have shipped the robot once. We have taken apart and packed in suitcases/hand carried once. We have driven once. Shipping the robot and taking on the plane just means that the team will have to make some time to reassemble and check. Shipping and airplane packing were fine overall, but despite best efforts (bubble wrap), a few pieces did fall apart. Some people invest in padded cases (like for expensive cameras) for their team's robot.

      Originally posted by Blasters View Post
      Hi,
      Our team just won our state championship, and will be advancing to the FIRST Championship in St. Louis (April 26-29, 2017). I have lots of logistics questions, but am also looking for some pointers from veterans. Here are a few of my questions...

      1. Detailed info on the FIRST website is sparse. Do they have blocks of hotel rooms that I'll have access to?
      2. I've seen lots of descriptions of the "pits". For our local competitions, we don't do much more than set up our posters and put out a bowl of candy. Maybe give out some themed stickers. It seems like the "booth" is more elaborate at the Worlds. What should we plan for?
      3. Anyone have luck shipping a robot? Bringing it on a plane?

      I have lots of questions, but I'll start there. What tips can you give me that I haven't thought of?

      Thanks!
      Coach for Not the Droids You Are Looking For (Droids Robotics) since 2011
      Judge at Western PA, World Festival, Razorback Open
      Head Referee, Western PA Championships

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

        Thanks. I guess we weren't registered yet when I tried it before, but it works today. The links were helpful.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

          Originally posted by Blasters View Post
          Thanks. I guess we weren't registered yet when I tried it before, but it works today. The links were helpful.
          BTW, the links I posted earlier let you register for badges and hotel rooms. Event/tournament registration must be done separately through your account on firstinspires.org.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

            Hi,
            first of all, congratulations to you and your team!
            Originally posted by Blasters View Post
            3. Anyone have luck shipping a robot? Bringing it on a plane?
            Thanks!
            We had to take our robot with us on plane a few times for competitions in the US and Tenerife and it seemed like the best way is to pack all the non-electrical stuff like the attachments into suitcases and cushion them with clothes or other stuff and take the robot into your hand luggage. Because of the safety restrictions (-> batteries) and the electronics of the EV3 you might get problems if you put it into your suitcase. We heard from some teams whose suitcase got violently opened and some LEGO pieces (yes, even the pieces!) were broken. If you have the chance to, we can also recommend you to use a metal box (or just a separate suitcase) for the attachments and fill it up with bubble wrap and foamed material. Then you might also use that box for the competition.

            If you want, I can also send you some pictures of PITs of different teams from the last years, so you can get an impression on what is possible and what ideas other teams had in the past, just send me a PM

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

              CONGRATS!
              I've been to St. Louis, Calif. Arkansas and Tenerif and we have always carried robot on plane with us--we used a nice sturdy plastic container--everything needed for the robot was in the containers (batteries, charger, spare attachment parts). Security was wonderful when scanning once they knew what we were transporting.
              As for the other questions--I have stayed within walking distance to venue and also stayed further away and used the rail system--the difference in price (further away) made the choice the best for us. The rail system runs on schedule, you can walk easily to all areas needed and even to do some sightseeing you can ride close enough to most of them.
              PIT area is something to put a little effort into--your team will enjoy walking around and seeing what all the teams have to showcase themselves. Small give aways are a good idea--it you can find a local maker space that has a laser cutter maybe they will consider donating their time and effort into making you a special trading pin to give away.....
              If you want more individual information or pictures (pit area etc.) pm me and I'll be happy to answer any questions.
              Most important thing to remember is just enjoy the trip--there are so many awesome projects and robots to see and learn from.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Any tips for an "FLL World Championship" Newbie Team?

                Originally posted by Blasters View Post
                3. Anyone have luck shipping a robot? Bringing it on a plane?
                We took our robot(s) as carry-on luggage in a nice Pelican camera case. If anyone in Minnesota is traveling to a tournament this season, send me a personal message and I'd be happy to l o a n it to you.

                The large attachments we put in checked luggage. The hard part of traveling was not taking the large tackle box that contains thousands of spare LEGOs for use in any possible contingency.

                We also had a large tri-fold we used for the project presentation. Fortunately, we had attached sheets of paper to it using double-side tape, and they just peeled off. We took the paper with us on the trip, and then bought a new tri-fold when we arrived.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for info. We are also going to St Louis first time this year from NJ. I have question on carrying robot on plane. Is it required to take out battery from EV3 or we can keep it in EV3? Also do we need to carry anything specific like first invitation or ev3 details in case TSA has question on what EV3 is.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Makpande View Post
                    Thanks for info. We are also going to St Louis first time this year from NJ. I have question on carrying robot on plane. Is it required to take out battery from EV3 or we can keep it in EV3? Also do we need to carry anything specific like first invitation or ev3 details in case TSA has question on what EV3 is.
                    Hmmm. I've never been asked to remove the batteries from our NXTs.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just got back from Houston--flew on Delta going and United coming back--neither had any issues with the robot....battery was left in place. Robot was in a small blue plastic case and two additional bins held attachments. Put them in the overhead compartments with no problems.

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