Team field elements question

I’m looking to order a drop shipment of lumber so my parents can assemble the team field elements, does anybody have a handy list of how much 3/4" plywood and other materials they used before I sit down and figure it out?

Pointing me to a materials list if one exists would also be awesome as I may have missed it.


We used a full sheet for most of the parts, but might need a bit more to finish it. 2 would do it, I think. I think we had two sheets of the half inch, but we were just making one goal. The truss is ridiculous.

I would suggest trying to substitute something like 1x lumber for most of the 3/4" pieces. You basically rip an entire sheet of 3/4" plywood into various 1x2’s, 1x4’s and 1x8’s.

The team field drawings are becoming more ridiculous as the years go on. It is very clear they are made by someone who has not built very much out of wood and probably never actually priced materials at home depot.

This year’s drawings are a doozie.

Some tips here in this thread:

We ordered 5 sheets of 1/2", 3 sheets of 3/4", and 11 2x4.

If you want to build all the elements.

I have ballpark amount of lumber to order, I’ll post how much of each we use but we are only building the low goal and the high goal.

We built all the elements as simply as possible in the team drawings. We used 2 full 3/4" sheets and one 1/2" sheet to build the small and large goal. We also had to get about a quarter of another 1/2" sheet to form the bases for the 2x4s which hold up strings in the same span area of the truss.

It was a bit difficult to tessellate all the cuts in the sheets and we messed up a lot and forgot to do certain cuts, so having extra plywood wouldn’t hurt if you made an error. Also, as a tip, remember to cut your pieces in the direction of the grain of your plywood, otherwise your long pieces will be all flimsy. That is how you’ll get the most strength out of it and be able to build a good field!

1 sheet of 1/2 and 1 sheet of 3/4 and 12 8-foot 2x4s for the high goal.

Not sure what we used on the high goal, but on the truss we just built a pair of stanchions out of 2x4 and tied string across to the right length.

My family and I built the field for my old team this past weekend, it took 1 sheet of 1/2" plywood, 3 sheets of 3/4" plywood, and probably 10-15 2X4’s

We made some adjustments to the truss and the high goal.

The truss we created is only 8ft long, no need for a 26" truss…

The High goal that FIRST wants teams to make is not safe in our opinions so we added extra supports along the back and the sides.

We are fortunate enough to have a master craftsman in the family and he pointed out numerous flaws in the designs first gave out.

  1. When laminating the the plywood together be sure to use ample wood glue. the glue is what gives the field elements strength. We chose to couple that with 1 1/2" staples.

  2. On the high goal and the low goal the spec calls for you to drill into the side of the laminated plywood, we would highly recommend you do not do this, it yield no strength and will just split the wood and make more prone to break and hurt a person standing by it.

  3. Don’t build the truss supports the way they have them shown, once again we found that they are crap, the way FIRST has you assemble them terrible. We decided to just use 2 4X4’s as each support/pylon.

  4. Brace that high goal… it isn’t safe to build it the way they have it. We chose to do two things. The first being we ran a long piece of plywood along the back where the lower support connects the the actual goal. We used 3 inch nails which insures it isnt going anywhere. We also added two 12’ 2X4’s running from the top of the goal to the horizontal support pieces on the ground making one big triangle.

We had very little waste so make sure if you buy this amount of material you map out your cutlist before cutting your plywood.

Good Luck

For the high goal we used:
about 75% of one sheet of 1/2 ply
about 85% of one sheet of 3/4 ply
4 2x4x10
4 2x4x8

For the low goal:
most of one sheet of 3/4 ply

This assumes you are following the plans as presented.

You can use a free cutlist program to give you a cutting diagram.

The high goal is top heavy; consider some additional supports/anchors.

Remember that your field elements don’t have to be exactly the same as those at competition. Last year we just had a single rectangle on a stick to simulate the goal. Just make sure your dimensions are correct.

Also, the truss may be a little difficult (okay, a LOT difficult). It may be easier to use a beam that is raised so that the top of the beam is the same height as the top of the truss. Not necessarily pretty, but it gets the job done.

We did the rope version of the truss. Much cheaper. Though I’m curious as to the cost of a wood I-beam, or a homemade version of same.

We might be getting an extra plywood sheet to put low on the overhead goal wall (like the base wall for the drivers). and a second net in the middle section (first net behind the goal). Only because our programming table/station is four feet behind the goal wall.

Gotta protect the programmer’s laptops and monitors. :smiley: (We do have hard-hats left over from last year for the programmers.)