Here's one way to build an inexpensive, reconfigurable maze for robot projects:
The goal was to build a reconfigurable maze or pen for small robots,
like Lego Mindstorms
The constraints were
Our solution was to build the maze walls from brick paving stones ("pavers"), around 7x2x4" in size, and the floor from 2' x4' 1/4" oak plywood paneling. The bricks cost around 50 cents apiece from
construction/masonry supply stores like
ConRock, and the plywood comes in 4x8' sheets at around $24 each
from hardware/lumber stores like Lowe's
or Home Depot. (If you're not
too worried about the smoothness or appearance of your floor, you
can get 1/4" plywood for less than half that price.) Lowe's (and
probably the other hardware/lumber stores) will cut the plywood down
to 2x4' pieces for a very modest fee (first few cuts are free), allowing
it to be transported and stored easily.
- Maze walls must be heavy enough not to be displaced by robot collision.
- We shouldn't have to do any of our own wood- or machine-shop work.
- We should be able to build and dismantle the maze quickly and easily.
- We should be able to store the maze components in a small space.
The main problem with this solution is that bricks are sharp-edged and
gritty, and they shed flakes and dust. Our solution was to dust each brick
off and wrap it
in duct tape. The images below show a quick and efficient way of doing
this, using ordinary (1.88") and extra-wide (2.82") DuckTape. Here is a
breakdown of the estimated cost:
|2' x 4'x 1/4" oak plywood
|Duct Tape, 2.82" x 60 yd
|Duct Tape, 1.88" x 55 yd
Here are some photos:
|Materials for cleaning/wrapping brick
||Wrap edge with extra-wide duct tape
||Cut tape with single-edge blade
|Stand brick on end
||Fold in edges
||Lay flat to fold in other side
|4 normal-width pieces cover sides
||A finished brick
||The robot maze