Drawing on the experiences from previous posters, we developed an in-ground system to grid the field prior to spraying. We inserted 5" sections of 1" pvc pipe into the ground at the intersection points of the boundary lines and cross lines. We then insert 5" sections of 1/2" pvc pipe into the 1" pieces... and tie mason line between them.
?? - Athletic Field Marking Paint / Inverted Marking Paint - ( $6.72 each - Link
1 - Striping Machine - ( $114.72 - Link
3 - 10ft sections of 1" PVC ($ 3.50 each - Link
3 - 10ft sections of 1/2" PVC ($ 1.78 each - Link
10 - 500ft Braided Nylon packaged rope ($3.47 each - Link
1 - PVC Pipe Cutter - ($20 - Link
- GET ONE OF THESE, they cut through the pipe like butter... be sure it has a strong,thick blade!)
1 - Mallet / Hammer
1 - Sharpie Marker
1 - Drawing Pad / Sketch Pad
1 - Vice Grips / Pliers
1 - 1/2" Dowel / stick / section of pvc
1 - Measuring Tape device ( $24.96 - Link
- I would advise using one that is 200ft+, drastically reduces measuring time and marking time... I did it with a 25ft tape and survey flags)
I used this system to grid the field by myself... it took a chunk of time up front to get the system in place, but now, its very quick to set the lines and start spraying. I provided the requirements if you wished to grid the entire field with string before spraying.
1 - Plan ahead
With the Drawing pad and Sharpie, draw out your field with your intended dimensions. Indicate the distances for boundary lines and the grid lines/cross lines. Use the drawing to calculate the number of PVC sections to cut. Here is an example of dimensions for a PSP field :
2 - Measure & Cut the PVC Pipe
Lay out the pvc pipe, measure and mark 5" sections on the pipe. I aligned the pipes, measured the first pipe and drew the mark across all 6 pipes. Using the pvc pipe cutter, create the 5" pipe sections from all 6 pipes. The 5 inch pieces of the 1" pvp pipe will be referred to as "PVC Sleeve". The 5 inch pieces of the 1/2" pvp pipe will be referred to as "PVP Post".
3 - Measure the boundary lines & grid lines
The difficult part will be finding a reference point. It may be easiest to begin with the start boxes... extend your tape measure out to 120', centering the 60' mark on your start box. Then, grab 3 pieces of the "PVC Sleeves", which we cut earlier, and slightly tap a piece into the ground at 0, 60', and 120' marks. You don't need to put them in far, these may be moved slightly as you adjust your, or "square", your field.
Repeat the same step for the opposing start box.
You can now use pipe pieces at the 0' and 120' to confirm the length of your field. Extend your tape measure out to 170', aligned with the pvc pieces.
Then, grab 3 pieces of the "PVC Sleeve" and slightly tap one piece into the ground at 0, 85', 170'.
Repeat the same step for the opposing side line.
Now grab a roll of the nylon rope. Once you open the package, or after each cut of the rope, tie an overhand knot at the end of the string to prevent further fraying.
. Next, we will tie an anchoring knot onto a piece of the pvc pipe, so we get to practice our knot tying skills... for those who aren't Boy Scouts, I've included video on how to tie the knots. I use a "Two half hitches" as the anchor knot... the more the line is pulled, the tighter the rope will constrict around the PVC pipe -
On the opposite corner, we will tie a "Taut Line Hitch"... this is a similar knot, but it can be slid down the line, away from the pipe, tightening any slack in the line.
Repeat this for each side of the field, tying an anchor knot at one end and a slack removing knot at the other. Once completed, you'll be able to visualize the outer boundaries of your field and you can check that the corners are square...and adjust as needed.
Now that you are comfortable with the outer boundaries of your field... You can measure the gridlines and drive their pvc pieces into the ground (Some may wish to leave the string in place... but you will also use your tape measure to mark the gridlines. If you only had a 25ft tape measure, as I did, then you'll need the to leave the line in place so you have a straight edge for the gridlines).You'll need the measuring tape, hammer, dowel, and vice grips. Extend your tape measure for the length of the field, and set a "PVC Sleeve". As you hammer the pvc into the ground, it will 'core' the dirt. About 1/2 or 1/3 down, I pull the pvc piece out and clean it out with dowel rod or smaller pvc pipe. I continue that process until the pvc pipe nearly completely flush, or slightly below, the dirt level. The result should be the pvc pipe in the ground with 4-5 inches of empty space inside it. I wont lie, this process is tedious... as you have to do 62 of them.
4 - Establishing the Grid
Now that you have placed all of your "PVC Sleeves" in the ground, drop a "PVC Post" inside each one. Grab your Nylon rope, don't forget to tie the overhand knots to avoid fraying! Tie your anchor knot, "Two Half Hitches", to "PVC Post" then walk towards the matching "PVC Post" on the other side of the field... allowing the rope to unwind as you walk. Tie your slack-removing knot, "Taut Line Hitch", to the matching "PVC Post".
Repeat until you have all your grid lines created with the rope.
5 - Painting the Grid
We use a 4 wheeled stiper with Inverted Marking Paint. Using the string as your straight line reference point, you spray your lines. We paint the outer boundary, the center lines X & Y axis, 20ft lines, 40ft lines, 60ft lines, 80ft lines. At the intersection of gridlines, we paint 4x4 plus symbol.
Pictures of our field: