Friday, 30 September 2016

Wonder League Robotics Competition DIY Activity Mat


I've sign up my boys and their two friends, for the Wonder League Robotic Competition. We already have the Dash and Dot robots required for the competition, and will be taking part from home.

(The competition starts 17 October and there is still time to sign up.)

There is a handful of additional materials you need, one of which is the Wonder League Activity Mat. This mat is available to purchase from the Wonder Workshop Store, but we decided to make our own.

In this post we share how we made it, including all the materials we used.


The Wonder League Activity Mat needs to be 150 x 240 cm (or 5 x 8 ft), made up of 5 x 8 30 cm square grid.

Materials

I looked for a wipeable, vinyl or oilcloth type fabric for the mat. You can either try find a vinyl table cloth that is the right size or, like I did, fix two pieces of vinyl fabric together.

Here in the UK the vinyl fabric width seems to be 140 cm, which is just too short for the 150 cm requirement. So I bought 3 m of fabric and cut it in half (150 cm), using the width of the fabric to make the 240 cm length.

  • 3m of vinyl fabric (140 cm width)
  • double sided tape (for the joint)
  • whiteboard marking tape (for the grid)
  • electrical tape (for the edges)
  • rulers, sharpie (to mark out grid)

How to Make

Make the Mat

You'll need space to make the mat. Layout the fabric flat and make sure your first length is cut square. I chose a pattern which helped to follow a line.

Measure 150 cm and cut your first piece. If you got a little more fabric, don't cut the excess off just yet.

Now joint the two piece of fabric along their width. Make sure you have a good overlay and pattern match the pieces. Now fix them together using double sided tape. I used two strips to secure the join. Cut off the excess fabric.


Make the Grid

The Wonder League Activity Mat is made up of 8 x 5, 30 cm square grid.

Start measuring out the 30 cm squares from one end going horizontal and vertical from the same point. This will ensure you have perfect 30 cm squares. Use a sharpie pen to draw the lines. Once you've drawn the whole grid cut off the excess fabric.

I used white electrical tape to boarder the edge of the mat, to protect it and define the mat area.

Next I used whiteboard marking tape / divider tape for gridboards (2.5mm thickness) over the sharpie pen lines to define the grid more and hopefully make it last longer.


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