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If you are having trouble with this project, please read the FAQ below. You may find the answer to your question.
Q: Can I use materials not listed in the Materials section?
A: If you are doing this project for a science fair or just for fun, you can use whatever materials you want. If you want to enter the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge, you can only use the items listed in the Materials section.
Q: Can I use other tools?
A: To keep the competition fair, scissors are the only tools allowed. No power tools, screwdrivers, hobby knives, hot glue guns, etc. may be used for construction.
Q: Do I have to use red plastic cups?
A: No. Paper or other colors of plastic are OK, but the size must be 16–18 oz, or about 450–500 mL.
Q: Am I allowed to cut the materials?
A: Yes, you are allowed to cut the materials (for example, cutting a piece of paper in half or cutting holes in a plastic cup). However, remember that the material costs are not prorated. If you cut a piece of cardboard in half and only use half of it, you must still count the entire piece of cardboard when calculating your score.
Q: Are there any size restrictions on the devices?
A: No, but keep in mind that bigger devices will use more materials, which will affect your final score.
Q: I used and then discarded some materials while testing different designs. Do the discarded materials get subtracted from my final score?
A: No, only the materials that are used in your final design are included in your final score. For example, say you build a device with three pencils and test it. You then redesign the device, remove one of the pencils, and test it again. You would only use two pencils when calculating your final score.
Q: Can I do multiple tries for the official test?
A: Yes. You can test as many times as you want, but can only submit one high score.
Q: During a volley, can I move the ball if I do not touch it directly (for example, by poking it with a pencil)?
A: No. You can operate a device for the purpose of launching the ball back over the net, but you cannot relocate the ball to a different position on the same side of the net manually (by hand).
Q: My device broke during one of my tests. Can I fix it?
A: Yes, but you must start a new test (i.e. start counting at zero again for the number of times the ball has gone over the net). You cannot fix the device in the middle of a test and keep going.
Q: The ball is sitting on top of a piece of paper that is resting on the ground. Does that count as "touching the ground"?
A: No. As long as the ball is not touching the ground directly, it is OK. Something as thin as a single piece of paper can prevent the ball from touching the ground.
Q: Can the ping pong ball be modified in any way?
A: No. The ping pong ball cannot be modified in any way, e.g. you cannot cut it or attach other materials to it.
Q: If the ball successfully goes over the net and returns, does that count as going over the net once or twice?
A: It counts twice. Each individual time the ball goes over the net, regardless of direction, counts once. So the first time the ball goes over the net counts as one, when the ball is returned over the net that counts as two, etc.
Q: The net keeps sliding around. Can we tape it to the floor/table?