FLL: Remember the 12” Ceiling in Base

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We attended our qualifier competition last week! We had a great time and made a lot of good friends. We want to pass on an experience some teams faced there. Some teams forgot the 12 inch ceiling in base during launch and had to quickly redesign their robot/attachments. We were sad for them that they could not run all of the mission runs they had planned, but we were very impressed with their determination and quick-thinking in getting their robots under the 12 inch ceiling, so that the refs could allow them to launch from base.

We have mentioned this before in Moment Maker Tip #5. This year in FLL, the Challenge Guide has R13 on page 22 which states “Your Robot and everything in Base it’s about to move or use is arranged by hand as you like, all fitting “COMPLETELY IN BASE” and measuring no taller than 12 inches (30.5 cm).” This means that at the start of every launch of your robot (from the board to the top of the entire build of the robot, including any attachments) must be less than or equal to 12 inches tall. Each launch of your robot is when you either push a button or activate a sensor to start part of your programming so that your robot can leave base to complete missions. Your robot can get taller after the launch, but it must fit inside the 12 inch ceiling within base before you launch it. You may have several launches make up your 2.5 minute run, and rule R13 applies each time you launch the robot to send it out of base.

In order to prevent large last minute changes to your robot and attachments, be sure to frequently check the total height. If you are just finding out that your robot is too tall, it is best to discuss with your team on ways to shorten it. Try to make sure that any changes you make do not affect the reliability of your other launches.

Another issue that has come up previously is understanding that the entire robot and all connected attachments must fit in the base area of the mat, meaning that it cannot stretch over the walls in the southwest corner during launch. Again, refs can prevent you from launching the robot if anything stretches outside of the base area, including over the wooden walls of the board.

We hope that this article will help you and your team!