[Dprglist] Creating a line following course with tape on wood floor - safe for the floor?

John Swindle swindle at compuserve.com
Sat Jan 16 22:48:57 PST 2021

Maybe Post-It notes.
I see postings where the dye in the Post-It paper transfers to hardwood floors if the paper gets wet, but I don't see any posting where the low-tack adhesive transferred to the floor. (I know you said you'd looked at alternatives online, but I just thought (low probability) maybe this was an option you hadn't considered.)
Modern Marvels or some similar show did a piece on Post-Its. It's kinda a bad adhesive, but kinda special.
While testing Deare John, I put duct tape on my carpet. A few months later, when I peeled the tape off, I learned a lesson. Carpet cleaner removed the residue, but I will never use high-tack tape on carpet again.
John Swindle

-----Original Message-----
From: Carl Ott via DPRGlist <dprglist at lists.dprg.org>
To: DPRG <dprglist at lists.dprg.org>
Sent: Sat, Jan 16, 2021 8:33 am
Subject: Re: [Dprglist] Creating a line following course with tape on wood floor - safe for the floor?

Another option is to use a vinyl banner as we do for the line following courses these days.
Our go-to resource is https://www.stickersbanners.com/   (Thanks Again Ron Grant!)
It's $1.75 / square foot, including delivery, with a 2' x 2' minimum and 8' x 50' maximum.
So a little more expensive than the foam squares - but offering different trade-offs versus foam.
Just un-roll and place in the same location for repeatability. Then roll it up to store in a closet - ie. so you don't have to keep tape on the floor in your living space / laboratory for weeks on end...
You can print whatever pattern you want - with pre-measured waypoints or fiducial markers or something to help with navigation.
Submit a 300 DPI PNG, and the banner will show up on your doorstep in just a few days.  Make your own pattern with an SVG and output a PNG, then you're good to go.
You can find several ready-to print DPRG line following course samples herehttps://github.com/dprg/Contests/tree/master/Line%20Following/Test%20Courses/Challenge%20Test%20Courses

If your robot drives in a relatively repeatable way, you can save cost by creating a path with several 2 foot strips of banner.  Or even cut down to 1 foot strips like the 'airplane friendly' sample does.

- Carl

On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 5:54 PM Karim Virani via DPRGlist <dprglist at lists.dprg.org> wrote:

If you're not willing to sacrifice your pretty wood floors to the needs of our future overlords, maybe you've got a priority inversion, said the mad scientist.
On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 3:36 PM Murray Altheim via DPRGlist <dprglist at lists.dprg.org> wrote:

On 16/01/21 9:10 am, Patrick R. Michaud via DPRGlist wrote:
> [...] So to echo Karim, I always use gaffers tape in these floor-taping
> situations, but it's not a perfect solution.  I'd be reluctant to tape
> my hardwood floor directly, but I also have other options (foam tiles
> etc) that I can use to create a robot playing surface.

An expensive fix to a damaged wood floor due to tape seems like an
avoidable situation.

On the subject of foam tiles, I just checked our local hardware store and
they sell black, interlocking 24" square foam tiles for about NZ$9/US$6
per square meter. It looks like KMart sells a four-pack of them in four
colors for $12, a four pack of the black ones for $11. You pay extra for

In the US, where everything is more available, I checked foamtiles.com
(flooring geeks!) in Meza, AZ, and they sell tiles with rubber tops,
carpet tops, wood patterns, and martial arts mats (e.g., 2x2' US$7.56,
3'x3' US17 per tile). Male or female beveled edge, beveled corners, lots
of options. It looks like the low end of their line of interlocking tiles
runs about US$1.20/sq. ft, e./g.


They're don't ship outside of the US so I'd have to find a different
supplier, but it seems these foam tiles are not hard to source.

So maybe the easiest solution is to use these interlocking foam tiles.
They'd provide good traction and could be taken apart and stored when not
in use. White tape on black tile would do fine. Or black tape on pink. It
would even be possible to print out the DPRG line following course, spray
glue it to a set of tiles, then laboriously cut the zig zags with an xacto
knife. But I'm not suggesting anyone tackle that -- it seems a particular
sort of torture. But there's a solution to that too, though I have no idea
what it'd cost: custom mats from SoftTiles.com:


[Legal Notice: I hold no fiduciary interest in foamtiles.com or any other
foam tile wholesale or retail establishment.]

I might see if they sell these at the local KMart here in NZ. Two four
packs would be the size of a sheet of plywood and cost about $22.

Nice solution.



Murray Altheim <murray18 at altheim dot com>                       = =  ===
http://www.altheim.com/murray/                                     ===  ===
                                                                    = =  ===
     In the evening
     The rice leaves in the garden
     Rustle in the autumn wind
     That blows through my reed hut.
            -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu

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