The field is where the FLL Robot Game takes place. It consists of a field mat on a table, with mission models arranged on top. The mat and the LEGO® pieces for building the mission models are part of your challenge set. The instructions for building the mission models are not part of the challenge set but available online: www.first-lego-league.org/en/season/robot-game/building-instructions.html.
Step 1: Remove any obvious splinters, and cover any obvious holes. Vacuum the table top carefully. Even the tiniest particle under the mat can give the robot trouble. After vacuuming, run your hand over the surface and sand or file down any producing imperfections you find. Then vacuum again.
Step 2: Place the mat on a smooth surface (for example, the FLL Table) and clearly mark it with a corresponding pitch limit (band), as it is common to FLL Tournaments. 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. 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 three. 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. You can also fix the mat with double faced adhesive tape you stick under the mat to fix it on the table.
Step 6: For a competition setup, secure two tables north-to-north. The total span of border between two tables must measure between 76 mm and 100 mm. 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.
Dummy Wall: Most Robot Games have a “shared” mission for both teams, 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. In the photo you can see, how a dummy wall can look like. In this season, a dummy wall is not mandatory.
Mission Model Construction
Build the mission models
Use the LEGO® elements from your challenge set, and instructions from this page: www.first-lego-league.org/en/season/robot-game/building-instructions.html.
It will take one person at least six hours to do this, so it’s best done in a work party. For any team members with little or no experience building with LEGO® elements, mission model construction is a great way to learn. This step is also a nice time for new team members to get to know each other.
The models must be built PERFECTLY. “Almost perfect” is not good enough. Many teams make several building errors and practice all season with incorrect models. When these teams later compete on fields with correct models, the robot fails. The team incorrectly blames the robot, the tournament organizers, or bad luck for the failure. Best practice is to have several people check for correctness. PLEASE!
Some models are “secured” to the mat, others are simply “placed” on the mat. Each place on the mat where a model needs to be secured has a white box with an X in it. The connection is made using the re-usable fastening material from 3M called Dual Lock, which comes in the flat clear bag with the LEGO® elements in your challenge set. Dual Lock is designed to stick or “lock” to itself when two faces of it are pressed together, but you can unlock it too, for ease of transport and storage. The application process for the Dual Lock is only needed once. Later, the models can simply be locked onto the mat or unlocked. To apply Dual Lock proceed one model at a time as follows:
Step 1: Stick one square, adhesive side DOWN, on each box you see on the mat with an “X” in it.
For half-sized boxes, cut the squares in half.
Step 2: Press a second square on top of each of those, “locking” them on, adhesive side UP. Instead of using your finger, use a bit of the wax paper the squares came on.
Step 3: Align the Model exactly over its mark, and lower/press it onto the squares.
Hints: Pay attention. Some models look symmetrical, but do indicate a directional model feature somewhere. Be sure to place each square precisely on its box, and each model precisely over its marks. When pressing a model down, press down on its lowest solid structure instead of crushing the whole model. Pull on that same structure if later you need to separate the model from the mat.
For large and/or flexible models, apply only one or two pairs at a time. There’s no need to do it all at once.
Remove any splinters, and cover holes.
Make sure the mat touches the south border wall, and is centered east to west.
Don’t clean the mat with anything that will leave a residue. Any residue, sticky or slippery, will affect the robot’s performance. Use a vacuum and/or damp cloth for dust and debris (above and below the mat). To remove marks, try a white plastic eraser. When moving the mat for transport and storage, don’t let it bend into a sharp kink point, which could affect the robot’s movement. For control of extreme curl at the east or west edges of the Mat, black tape is allowed, with a maximum of 6 mm overlap. Foam tape is not allowed. Do NOT put Dual Lock nor any other tape nor adhesive under the mat.
Keep the mission models in original condition by straightening and tightening solid connections often. Ensure that spinning axles spin freely by checking for end-to-end play and replacing any that are bent. Frequently check for and fix any loop distortion.
u-loop > good
droop-loop distortion > bad
bell-loop distortion > bad
Arrangement of Mission Models