Micromouse contest update 2

Monday again and I’ve got hot fresh tasty news about the micromouse contest.

Last week I posted about making the floor of the micromouse maze.  Since then we had some exciting moments figuring out how to make the walls and pegs.

Luke designed a jig that sits on the sled for the table saw and makes it easy to get the exact groove cut needed for the pegs.  We tried to make the pegs from 1/2″ birch ply but the material was too brittle and chipped to shreds.   In the video above you can see we’ve switched to MDF.

To keep manufacturing simple we used the exact same groove on the wall pieces.  The gap between each peg and wall is 3mm thick, 5cm tall, and 6mm wide.  As it turns out, a laser cut piece of acrylic is a perfect fit.  The acrylic comes with a protective layer on both sides.  The layer adds just enough material to make the fit snug so we won’t need any glue.  Excellent!

How many micromouse maze pegs?

Having a system to make walls and pegs is great.  How many do we actually need to make? The rules say there are 16×16 rooms with a wall around the outside edge. That means there are 17 * 17 = 289 pegs. What about walls?

Absolute maximum

Well, there are 16 wall segments to go across and 16+1 rows of walls, so that’s 16×17 for just the horizontal walls. times that by two to get the maximum number of walls, that’s 16x17x2 = 544.

Realistic maximum

In reality there won’t need to be so many walls. Every room has to be reachable from at least one other room. The easiest way to draw this would be a snaking S shape.

Now it’s easy to count them out. There are 16×4 wall pieces around the outside, and 15×15 pieces inside the maze. That’s 289 wall segments. Funny coincidence: that’s the same number of pegs!

Final thoughts

Next step is to paint everything regulation colors and get a timing system to record each race.

A big hello to everyone from Makerfair joining us for the first time. Hello!

Follow me on instagram if you want a to see the acylic pieces as they’re being made.