Building a Cheap Field

Hello. My team has recently considered commencing the construction of a cheap, very cheap field. I have read the field specifications and low cost field instructions and am aware of the materials needed.

i would like to ask if anyone here know about how much the wood required for construction of the perimeter would cost.

Also, the amount of tile needed for the field costs about $190, if sold by VEX. Does anyone know about any foam tiles that can be purchased for a cheaper price, but keep mostly similar to the official tiles.

Third, I saw the model provided by the field construction pdf, and this question arose: how much would the wood plus the pvc tubes used for the construction of all the goals cost?

If anyone has attempted to construct a field for any competition on a short budget, I would like to hear about how much the whole thing costs.

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Low cost field in use

About $75 in cost, I recall about 4 hours of build time. One of our ideas was to gather all the teams at one location and do a mass build of the fields.

Tiles can be purchased at almost any BJ, Costco, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

Cost for a full set is under $100. They are thinner than the VEX ones, and the quality is a less. We got 4 years out of a set before it needed to be replaced.

Anyone know if the cheap field will mate ok with the “expensive” full gateway game field elements. I.e. I assume the gateway kit is built to interface with the 2 in PVC rather than the 1 in PVC. Is it hopeless or duct tape doable?

You can drill holes in the walls for the side goals. The gates for the isolation zones will be a problem. I don’t think that the sides will hold up to the twisting force of the heavy lifting that goes on. The center goal should not be a problem since it sits on the floor and is anchored by the black divider.

So it should be good for practice, but not for an event.

One team member’s parents graciously donated their entryway as an area where we could build a practice field.

We had some left over plywood which we cut onto 4 foot lengths. We attached 2x4’s to the bottom outsides of these lengths for stability.

I took two 2x4’s and build a simple post to attach to the center goal. I put three notches into that post to accept the ends of three gates.

We made the gates out of inexpensive pvc pipes, with some connectors. We bought two game object kits, so we have two real goals. We also made 7 goals out of plywood and pvc pipes.

The only real expense (besides two game object kits) was a set of play mats that we bought through for $120.

While it is not a competition field, it works well for practice, driver skills, and autonomous testing.


First of all, wow! you have done a REALLY nice job there! It looks so cool!

Ate the wooden “rings” on the top of the 30" goals able to slide down? If so, I think that would probably be a nearly, if not perfect field.


Our club (Cornerstone Robotics) purchased the field elements (i.e. Barrels/Balls, Goals, Gates, etc.)

We had got an offer from one of our team members dads to create the field walls. We already had tiles, so we just needed a wall.

I do not have a picture of it right now, but it works great!

I would have to say that was an awesome home-made field IrvKalb. Good job!

Thanks - glad you like the field. Yes, they can slide down, we just never got around to it.


when it comes to tiles you can get pretty cheap depending on how much pride you have places like this

sell them as playmats same specs as vex but a lot cheaper

sell them as playmats same specs as vex but a lot cheaper

Not sure how that is cheaper. you need at least 36 mats for a full field, and that is $25 for 4. So $25 * 9 = $225

Not sure how much shipping is, but the vex mats are $190, and they are the official product

You all are thinking too expensive!!! When we first started out, we didn’t pause and wait for tiles and wood. We measured and used blue masking tape to draw a feild with only a 30",a 20", and a 11.5" goal. And look at us now!

Now that regional tournaments are done, why don’t you talk to your local tournament organizers? They have full fields and more than enough game objects, and they’d probably be happy to let you borrow a field. We’re currently borrowing a field from MSU’s tournament organizers for $0.00.

Before regional tournaments were finished, we had a real 30" goal, wood and PVC 11.5" and 20" goals, 8 balls and 8 barrels, plus a few tiles. We found that our school’s paper recycling boxes made great 30" goals, and that our youngest team member functioned as a good low-cost goal-holder while we were testing our autonomous. It might’ve been shabby, but we still qualified for Worlds, so we’re happy.

i posted the first one i found
but if you go looking for them as play mats not vex foam tiles you will get a lot better deal

For my cheap field I just used a few 1x8’s as the perimeter of the field. The goals were harder, but I found a simple solution. If you just use concrete footer tubes (Available from Lowe’s in 8 inch diameter) and cut them to the right lengths, they work great! They’re cheap, easy to cut, and durable!