How thick to buy HDPE?

Hi all - question for those of you who have already experimented with HDPE:

We have built a practice (half) field from plywood. We’d like to upgrade portions of the step, platforms, and chute to have HDPE surfaces (we don’t have the cash to do it all). I’m wondering what’s the thinnest sheet of HDPE we can get away with (assuming we glue it down), without having to worry about it tearing or bunching. 6 mil (vapour barrier)? 1/32"? 1/16"? (available from McMaster Carr), thicker?

We used 1/8" on the Tote Chute and 1/4" on the scoring platform , you could probably get away with 1/8" over plywood on the scoring platform. Find an industrial plastics dealer and see if they will donate “cutoffs”.

The problem that our team ran into when buying HDPE for the field elements was finding the correct finish. The chute uses a ‘smooth’ finish while the ramp and step use a ‘orange-peel’ texture. There is a significant friction difference between the two. Due to the texture, I wouldn’t recommend going thinner than 1/16". However, I think your limiting factor will be what size you can find with the ‘orange-peel’ finish (We have tons of local plastics suppliers but only one had ‘orange-peel’ and only in 1/4" sheets). I’m not sure what McMaster has, though I’d guess it’s standard ‘smooth’ finish. Good luck!

Orange peel is the same as textured or cutting board. Probably more difference in the different manufactures. It is a commodity item. So says my plastics supplier. Problably get away with 1/8 screwed to plywood on the top. I would be wary of less than 1/4 on the side. One 4x8 sheet will give you enough to give you a feel

To get the ‘orange peel’ texture, look for Starboard. It will have the correct finish. Most unbranded HDPE will have the smooth finish. For the chute, 1/16 inch sheets should be fine as a surface. Going thinner for the Step could prove difficult just because thin Starboard is hard to find.

Is “Starboard” a manufacture or brand name? Is it what First specifically used on the field? Agreed that unless you specify a surface finish you are likely to get smooth.

Starboard is name for the “orange peel” plastic.

See the “marine sheets” on this page of the McMaster catalog. The regular sheets are presumably the smooth finish.

StarBoard is a brand name.

I have seen the official FRC HDPE material that is used on the fields, it is (as already said) orange peel finish, about 3/16" thick.

We have decided to use the “regolith” plastic we still had hanging around from Lunacy, which was polyester sheeting used for shower stalls and the like, again with a bumpy finish. It seems like it is a good facsimile for the official HDPE.