FIRST LEGO League teams will need to build (or acquire) a 4'x8' custom table for the Robot Game portion of the Challenge.
Building The Field
The Field is where the Robot Game takes place.
- It consists of a Field Mat, on a Table with Border Walls, with Mission Models arranged on top.
- The Field Mat and the LEGO® elements for building the Mission Models are part of your Challenge Set.
- The instructions for building the Mission Models can be found below.
- The instructions for how to build the Table and how to arrange everything on it are below.
The Robot Game takes place on a Table with specific features, so you’ll need to build one to practice on if you don’t already have access to one. With weight, height, simplicity and cost in mind, a simple design is offered here, but as long as your surface is smooth, and your Border Walls are sized and located properly, how you build the understructure is up to you. The construction is simple, but does require some wood-working skill.
At a tournament, two Tables are placed back to back, but you only operate on one Table, so you only need to build one Table to practice on.
Most Robot Games have a “shared” Mission, whose Mission Model(s) rest partly on your Table, and partly on the other team’s Table, which is connected to your Table’s north side. You don’t need to build a second table, but you do need to build the necessary part of the other team’s Table, so the shared Mission Model(s) can be positioned correctly. Here are the instructions for building one Practice Table, including a Dummy Wall:
Challenge Set (Mission Model LEGO elements, Mat, Dual Lock™)
sanded plywood (or other very smooth board) 96” X 48” X at least 3/8” (2438mm X 1219mm X 10mm)
*two-by-three, 8’ (2438mm) [actual cross-section = 1-1/2” X 2-1/2” (38mm X 64mm)]
flat black paint
1 pt. (1/2 L)
coarse drywall screws, 2-1/2” (64mm)
1/2 lb. (1/4 kg)
saw horses, about 24” (610mm) high and 36” (914mm) wide
*NOTE: Tables with “two-by-four” walls are legal and common, but we’re slowly phasing them out at tournaments. You may make your Practice Tables with two-by-four walls, but you must be prepared to play on Tables whose walls could range in height anywhere between 2-1/2” (64mm) and 3-15/16” (100mm), as shown in the diagram below.
Table surface (A)
96” (2438mm) X 48” (1219mm)
long Border Wall (B)
short Border Wall (C)
H » 24” (610mm) W » 36” (914mm)
*If you are using a table surface thicker than 1/2” (13mm) check for warpage/distortion – you may not need stiffeners.
- STEP 1 - See which face of the plywood (A) is least smooth, and consider that the bottom face. On the bottom face, clamp, then screw on the stiffeners (D) about every 18” (457mm). Be sure screw heads and splinters don’t protrude.
- STEP 2 - On the top face of the plywood, locate, clamp, and screw on the Border Walls (B,C) around the top perimeter.
- The inside wall-to-wall dimensions must measure W = 93±1/8” by L = 45±1/8” (2362±3mm by 1143±3mm).
- The height of B and C must measure between H = 2-1/2” (64mm) and 3-15/16” (100mm).
- All Border Walls must be the same height as each other on all Tables at a tournament. Border heights at a tournament may be different than those on your practice Table.
- STEP 3 - Place this table top on short saw horses (or milk crates, or anything else short and solid).
Field Mat Placement
STEP 1 - Vacuum the table top. Even the tiniest particle under the Mat can give the Robot trouble. After vacuuming, carefully run your hand over the surface and sand or file down any protruding imperfections you find. Then vacuum again.
STEP 2 - On the vacuumed surface (never unroll the Mat in an area where it could pick up particles), unroll the Mat so the image is up and its north edge is near the north/double Border Wall (note the location of the double wall in each Table sketch below). Be very careful to not let the Mat kink from bending in two directions at once.
STEP 3 - The Mat is smaller than the playing surface by design. Slide and align it so that there is no gap between the south edge of the Mat and the south Border Wall, then center the Mat east-west, with equal gaps at left and right.
STEP 4 - With help from others, pull the Mat at opposite ends and massage out any waviness away from the center and re-check the requirement of Step 3. It is expected that some waviness will persist, but that should relax over time. Some teams use a hair dryer to speed the relaxation of the waviness.
STEP 5 - OPTIONAL - To hold the Mat in place, you may use a thin strip of black tape at the east and west ends. Where the tape sticks to the Mat, it may cover the Mat’s black border only. Where the tape sticks to the Table, it may stick to the horizontal surface only, and not the Border Walls.
STEP 6 - For a competition setup, Dummy Walls are not needed. Secure two Tables north-to-north. The total span of Border between two Tables must measure between 3” (76mm) and 3-1/2” (90mm).
Mission Model Building Instructions