The tape is called gaffer’s tape or sometimes gaff tape. It is used a lot in the film industry. It is made by Permacell and I can post the item numbers when I get home tonight.
This stuff isn’t cheap. 2" is $13.75/60yd roll. 3" is $26/60yd roll.
While a lot more expensive than duct tape, its big advantage is you can remove it. All of it. Unlike duct tape it does not leave a residue. It also sticks well to a variety of surfaces including carpet. There are also modified versions for cold and wet locations.
The black and white tape used for the Finish Lines was apparently a specioal order for FIRST.
Film supply places carry it. There are several here in LA. It is also available on the Internet, but generally the shipping charges are enough to negate any savings in the per roll price. It isn’t just the price that is heavy!
Those prices are actually pretty good. I’ve seen 2" gaff tape selling for about $17 per roll. Grainger has 2" black or silver; their part numbers are 1P089 and 6A066, respectively. The list price is a whopping $29.95 per 60 yd roll!
To get other colors and sizes, and probably better prices, local theatre supply houses are your best bet. Ask someone in your community college drama department where they get it.
Like anything else, there are various grades and prices for gaff tape. I’ve used “Pro-Gaf”, “Permacell” and “3M” all quite a bit. The 3M stuff tends to run toward the premium end of the price scale. $14/roll for a single roll of Pro Gaff at your local theater supply house is about right, you can find it mail order on the net for as low as $7 or $8 (plus shipping) if you want to buy a full case. Just Google for “gaff tape”. Ask the drama teacher at the high school where they get their supplies, even if they don’t actually use gaff tape (we didn’t in HS, too expensive), the same place they get lighting gel should have it.
It’s the only thing I will let people apply to my carpet, or my cables. Duct tape on cables is a bigger no-no than duct tape on an FRC bot
You might want to try Full Compass in Middleton. Their prices on gaff tape are pretty good. I’m not sure if they actually have a storefront location, but if not they are so close to you that shipping should not be too brutal.
The checkered tape was custom printed and is not available by roll, or even by case. For large volume orders (80 rolls minimum), you can contact the original vendor, Wholesale Tape, at 1-800-642-8273. The tape is white 3-inch gaffers tape, printed with a 3-inch square black checkerboard pattern.
If “close enough” is “good enough” for your purposes, 1" vinyl checkered tape is readily available from such sites as http://www.findtape.com (click on “Racer’s Tape”).
But seriously, it was applied at the field I helped set up by two or 3 people. One held the roll and walked ahead of the other one (or two people) who just ran their hand (which mine got a huge black mark on it btw from the color of the tape… lol) on the tape to press it down.
It’s not that difficult.
No fancy heat needed or anything like that, it’s just the tape is really really sticky. It’s used in the theater industry to hold things (cables, etc) to other things. (Used by a person known as a Gaffer) Everyone tends to mistakenly call it Gaffers tape, but it’s actually called Gaffer’s tape with an apostrophe because it is typically used by Gaffers and is their tape.
Btw, the lane marker down the center of the field (& beneath the lane divider wall) is really the location where two seperate carpets are joined by the 3" wide Gaffer’s tape on top, and another special kind of carpet tape along the bottom. A FIRST field in 2008 uses 2 rolls of carpet total. The spare pieces of carpet that make up the field & player’s station is then cut to cover the supporting bases for the Lane Divider wall.
The only reason I know this is because I cut them in Hartford… w00t! lol
Also, for anyone who was in Hartford competing, the field there was brand new! It hadn’t been used in a competition before that weekend.
Just another fun fact.