Here’s one way to build an inexpensive, reconfigurable maze for robot projects:
- 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.
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 4×8′ 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 2×4′ pieces for a very modest fee (first few cuts are free), allowing it to be transported and stored easily.
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||2||$24||$48|
|Duct Tape, 2.82″ x 60 yd||2||$10||$20|
|Duct Tape, 1.88″ x 55 yd||2||$7||$14|
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|