Cutting edges off of the foam tiles

My team for the first time is building a full field. My middle school team had one as well but I don’t remember how we did the edges.

How did other teams get the walls to fit around field well?

Am I missing something obvious or is cutting the edges the normal way?

Cutting edges is what you’re supposed to do. Appendix A tells you what, where, how many, etc. to cut

That is what I have been reading but I don’t remember doing that with my old field so it surprised me.

Just trying to get some verification from other teams.

Yep. Cut them and mark them as you lay them out. We have had tiles shift over time so when you lay them out the same way over and over they tend to fit easier.

I suggest cutting the tabs against plywood. It worked very well at U.S. Nationals 2013 when my brother and I had to cut an unmodified field.

What do you mean by “mark them as you lay them out”? Are you saying to number the tiles and always lay the numbers in the same spot relative to each other?

Last year you were supposed to cut your fields but many teams did not because it wasn’t necessary to mount the field elements. This year, it is.

Exactly. After taking them apart a few weeks in a row, they can get a bit distorted. So we tried labeling them on a new set and they fit a lot tighter every time without having to be a carpet installer smoothing out bumps.

I’m not sure by what you mean “cut the fields.” If you mean making room for the base plates on the barrier of Toss Up and the trough of Sack Attack, then you shouldn’t be cutting the fields. All VRC games so far do not require any modification to the field tiles barring the edges, which happens every year.

It actually became a real problem for spatula bots in Sack Attack when the field border sat on top of the tile edges. My team developed autonomous routines with a field setup to spec then failed miserably in their 1st skills run at APAC because initially the tiles weren’t cut and their spatula wedged between the tiles and border. Needless to say the organizers were quick to rectify what was an error in field setup.

Just like fitting inside an 18" cube the field setup within tolerance and as specified is very important.

Note, the newest version of the tiles requires you to cut the tabs 1/2 off, not fully off. Please refer to the field assembly instructions for more detail.

Any other modification of the tiles is not required, correct?

No other modifications are required. Please consult the field assembly appendix.

That’s what I thought, but was unsure as I’ve been given the impression from this thread that they should be cut.


Cutting the tabs off of the edges of the tiles is one of my pet peeves.

A) Leaving the tabs on the edges and resting the filed walls on them is an excellent way to protect the floor the field is resting on. Many venues do not want the screw heads or any other part of the heavy field walls in contact with their floors.

B) Once the tiles are cut, those tiles are no longer able to used in the middles tile patterns different from the 12x12 competition field. I have created many different layouts for demos and non-VRC tournaments. Cutting the tiles reduces their usefulness and adds expense when I have to buy replacements to use making the alternate configurations.

C) The last time I read the field specifications, variances of up to 1" in field dimensions were allowed, and constructing field walls out of just about anything that was the right size (close enough to meet the 1" tolerances) was explicitly permitted. That last part means that tiles don’t have to be cut to make an official field.

So, anything saying that the edges of the tiles have to be cut, that the protrusions of a wall bought from VEX have to rest on a floor, and that the annual game pieces should only fit in/on a field constructed that way, has always seemed very schizophrenic, and has always annoyed me.

Cut tiles increase the risk of damaging floors, create a more complex list of materials needed to prep to build a field (instead of just grabbing 36 tiles, I now have to check and double-check that I have 16 uncut, 4 corners, and 16 sides for every field)(I’m ignoring color - That is easy to deal with), and reduce the tiles value for use in any configuration of than a 6x6 square.

The positive method for eliminating the contradictions would be to revise the specifications of an official field by adding all of the actual field requirements; AND to revise the descriptions of the low-cost field options, etc. to satisfy those requirements.

What I personally would VERY much like to see happen is for the revisions to not simply impose constraints that in effect mandate the current, typical, expensive, heavy, field’s construction; but instead preserve the simplicity, low-cost and flexibility of the low-cost field options.

So I would love for the revised specification to urge organizations to stop trimming their tiles (but not require them to stop immediately (1" tolerances leave plenty of room for this)), for the revised spec to say that the next several annual game element sets won’t require either cut or uncut tiles, and for the RECF to announce that 5-7 years from now uncut tiles will be the standard (maybe required?) tiles to use in an “official” field.

Why include that last desire? Because of all of the advantages I listed above. Why wait 5-7 years? Because the RECF has a strong commitment to its Event Partners and teams to not make any part of the EPs’/Teams’ investments obsolete overnight.

At the end of the transition period, we have (VRC has) an easier to build, more flexible field, that has shed unnecessary constraints… A better field (in my opinion).


I agree that this would be nicer except in 2 occasions:
1 The field walls could get bumped off of the tiles. If this happened, it would probably hurt the floor more than if it was just sitting on the floor originally.
2 During the proposed transition period, the field walls would vary by 3/4" (which, yes, is within field tolerances). Everything that was attached directly to the field wall would be too high/short.

With my wall resting on the tiles the bump was suspended about 1/2 an inch above the tiles making the bump inconsistent to other fields.

I just hate the idea of restricting the tiles but I guess that is what I will have to do.

Tiles are a consumable, they’ll get damaged by robots over time and gradually “grow” from being compressed by feet :slight_smile:
The last 4 seasons (perhaps earlier too) specify tiles are cut and the perimeter is on the floor. Agree the screw heads are perhaps less than ideal but it wouldn’t be too hard to engineer a solution to that. Personally I don’t use the official VEX field perimeter because they’re heavy and, well, have screws sticking out :wink:

Not an official answer/comment of course but I don’t believe the ±1" tolerance actually permits you to ignore the setup instructions. It’s there to give a little leeway after you’ve followed the instructions.

For reference here in NZ the tiles weren’t cut until I pointed out at APAC last year it was a requirement according to the field setup instructions. When you attend the World Championships, or any other official event for that matter, the fields should be setup as specified otherwise the deviation could disadvantage some teams and this is exactly what we saw at APAC.

A few weeks back I watched 2915A doing a skills run and getting a little stuck going over the bump before attempting to hanging but missing out by perhaps 0.5s unfortunately. The field perimeter was sitting on the tiles and this raised the bump by a little bit in that area. This disadvantaged the team in what was an official skills run. Cut the tiles people and don’t accept incorrectly setup fields at an event.

Cheers, Jason

Which assembly instructions are you talking about? I’m completely new and followed these instructions for the playfield:

but there was nothing mentioned about the mats or the obstacles.


What JVN is referring to is the Toss Up field instructions in appendix A rather than just how to build the walls.

All Toss Up data can be found here