Preparing The Floorboard for a Robotic Competition Arena

At this point in the construction of a robot contest playing field, we’ve finally secured a lip to the scoring area. Now we can add a floorboard to finish up the nest.

I found white posterboard at an art supply store that is perfect for the nest floorboard.

Marking the board to cut to shape

Marking the board to cut to shape.

Lay the uncut floorboard on the nest. Align one or two edges of the floorboard with the edges of the nest. With a pencil, mark the excess on the floorboard. Remove the floorboard.

If you only drew corner marks on the floorboard, use a yard stick, level, or other long straight object to draw a connecting line the length of the floorboard where you want to cut. It’s simply much easier to follow a line while cutting, than to guess the path between two points.

Cut the floorboard. Depending on the material you may need heavy duty scissors. Some people prefer to score or cut the line with an X-ACTO knife or razor blade.

Cutting paper board with scissors

Cutting paper board with scissors.

Place the cut floorboard onto the nest. Staple it against the side boards and rear board of the nest using a heavy duty staple gun. It is unlikely that an ordinary paper stapler will be capable of getting its staples into wood.

Heavy duty stapler

Heavy duty stapler.

You could use glue instead of a stapler. However, glue takes time to dry and will be more difficult to remove should the floorboard need replacing after years of contest wear.

Oops! Sometimes it is difficult to judge where the staple is going to come out of the staple gun. If both ends of the staple don’t embed nicely into the wood, lift up the staple with the tip of a screwdriver. Then, pull out the offending staple with a pair of pliers.

Pliers pull staples better then fingers Lifting errant staple with screwdriver

Left: Lifting errant staple with screwdriver. Right: Pliers pull staples better then fingers.

The completed nest looks very nice.

Finished egg nest attached to arena

Finished egg nest attached to arena.

The nest (and retention lip in particular) is the hardest part of creating an egg-hunt robot contest arena. In fact, the remaining walls are almost simple in comparision. We'll finish up on the next page.