Carpet for Practice Field

Our team in Overland Park, Ks. is a newbie this year, but are well funded due to a local foundation. We also have been provided the use of a 3300 sq.ft. warehouse space for building and testing.

We want to build a 2/3 court playing field, complete with the appropriate carpet.

My questions are these:

  1. How important is it to have the exact type of carpet as the official playing field?

  2. Will about any indoor/outdoor tight shag carpet work, as opposed to using the official carpet type?

  3. Is the same carpet type used year-to-year?

  4. What are anyone’s thoughts on using wheelchair caster wheels on the 'bot to improve mobility?

  5. More generally, how important is speed and mobility in this type of competion?

Thanks for any replies. If this is the wrong forum for this type of question, I apologize in advance!! (Still trying to figure out this board!!)

Scott Davis
Mentor-Team #1777
Vikings Robotics

  1. This year the color shouldn’t matter a whole lot as we arnt sensing anything on the carpet anyway, but the texture is pretty important. At least try and get something close

2.The texture on a shag carpet is far different from the playing field and may effect how your balls/robot perform on your field in comparisson to the actual field

3.They’re typically pretty similar

4.If your using them in the fashion that I think you are, its okay, but there are better solutions
using “omni-wheels” for instance is one of them.
both the AndyMark “trick” wheels and plastic omni wheels should work

5.Very, but do NOT discount torque and traction in the process. Year after year, the teams that win almost always have robust, powerful, fast, and effective drivetrains


  1. Our team has always scorned casters. Unless you’re really short on weight, don’t use casters. Just connect the wheels that are motored to the wheels that aren’t (with chain). As for improving mobility? it really doesn’t. Just think of a shopping cart, there are two casters in the front. It moves forward well enough, but when you need to back up, the cart fish-tails like crazy and you lose control.

  2. Speed and mobility is VERY important, especially this year. Imagine you have a bot that takes about .5 second to set up an accurate shot, if there is another bot that is constantly hitting you and you can’t get free then you can never get a shot off. But if you were faster and more agile then the defender you can drive away, set up and shoot and keep moving. There are prolly a lot more situation where you want to be very agile, but this one will do.

I have to strongly second what Shu’s said here. Last season, 1293 put a caster on the back of our robot. It took our driver until our final qualifying match at the Palmetto Regional to get it sorted out. And even when we went on a few parades, it was a beast to try to drive, to the point that now we just drive Ockham backwards in order to get it from place to place. Had we avoided using the caster, I think we’d have performed much better on the field.

Moral of the story: Don’t use casters. If you have to use casters, mount them at the front of the end that goes forward. And don’t back up.

Couple of added points.

  1. If you want to turn quickly, use omni-wheels as your front wheels. Don’t know what they are? Check them out here. (I pointed these ones out becuase they’re small, which I assume you were going after) You can also get 6" and 8" omni wheels (aka trick wheels) from

  2. In this year’s game you’ll need to traverse the field quickly. If you are shooting, traction will probably be very important to you so you can stay in one place and shoot balls. Since blocking the two corner goals will be relatively easy, you’re going to have to do one of two things, beat the other alliance there, or push them out of the way. It’s up to you.