RE: Maze building
Why this obsession with pegs?
I was guilty of introducing the first pegs in the 1980 maze - but these were
circular, not square. The walls had a circular groove at each end so that
they slotted between each pair of pegs. (They were also chamfered off at 45
degrees so that four walls could nestle around a peg).
The Japanese attended the first heats in Portsmouth and the finals at
Imperial College, London, then went off and later produced a number of the
mazes with slotted square pegs which are common today.
Before the Imperial College finals, the maze base warped slightly - and
walls were falling out all over the place. So pegs got the chop and
'virtual pegs' won the day for the European contests from then on.
To summarise: Three lengths of wall. "Shorts" are the length of a peg-maze
wall, "Mediums" are a wall plus a peg - i.e. 18cm less 1mm tolerance.
"Longs" are a wall plus two virtual pegs, i.e. 19.2 cm. Walls are held in
place by pins sticking downwards near the ends which slot into 3mm holes in
the plain base.
From: Duncan Louttit [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, 9 June 2000 18:37
Subject: Maze building
My bit of maze for development is made from 12mm MDF. Our local DIY
store has a board cutting facility and for a fiver they cut for me a large
number of 168mm by 50mm pieces and some long pieces for the outside. The
walls ade drilled at the ends with 2mm holes 5mm deep (I used a depth stop
to get them the same) and they have 7mm long 2mm dia steel rods pressed into
them for location into the posts. The posts are 12mm dia softwood from the
DIY store cut to length and 2mm slots were machined along their lengths with
a mill/drill to take the steel rods. They are screwed to the base with
countersunk woodscrews. It all took ages and I only ended up with a 8 by 4
The basic problem is the size and complexity of the maze. The only
way I can see to reduce the complexity would be to reduce the number of
cells. A 13 by 13 array could be made from 2 sheets of standard 2400mm by
1200mm material. If the target is left 8 cells diagonally from the start,
all existing mice could run. This may be an idea for the sprint event.
The other possibility would be to reduce the cell size. Halving it
to 9cm would have a dramatic effect on the size of everything but none of
the existing mice would be able to run. This might be something that we
could aim at in 5 years time.
One of the main aims of the development of the "2D" school
competitions was to reduce maze building times to a minimum.
Enough random musings, back to the problem. If we can get someone to
cut large numbers of 168mm squares in 12mm material, (e.g. MDF), wall pieces
62mm high in the necessary lengths and filling pieces 12mm by 12mm by the
various lengths, the maze can be built up by stacking the pieces together
like old-fashioned building blocks. The whole thing would need to have some
kind of bungee strap round the outside to hold it all together. The maze
could then be built on any suitable flat surface.
It would be a bit of a pain to change, but this can be overcome.
Given a sprint maze pattern exists, that could be used for the heats and the
competition maze prepared separately the night before and covered up until
If a 12mm "groove" isn't enough to hold the walls in place, we could
use 2 layers of the blocks and taller walls.
It would probably be a good idea if the outside walls were made as
The big advantage is that the pieces can be mass-produced with
virtually no tooling costs. It may also be possible for individual mouse
builders to look after pieces of maze between competitions to solve the
storage problem. (And give them enough maze space for development.)