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Impound Block, or Impound is a period of time before the main competition period that is typically used to submit builds or devices for the competition. To impound a build, teams bring it to the competition location, check the device in by making sure it meets all rules specifications, and leave the device there until their designated time slot.


The purpose of impound is to ensure that devices are not modified after the beginning of the competition. In many events, target parameters are given, in which the competitor must modify their device on the spot to accommodate for this change. Thus, impound prohibits modifying the device out of competition, ensuring an equitable competition.

Events such as Experimental Design and Disease Detectives have historically been run during the Impound block; these events often take the longest to grade, so tournament directors often choose to place these events in the earliest time block available.

Note that if the competition is small and all blocks are run at the same time in the same block, impound may not be needed. Most importantly, refer to the competition's schedule to double-check how impound works at each competition.


The impound block is usually a one-hour period of time that always occurs before the first competition block. The location of impound is always at the location of the competition itself, unless otherwise stated.

When impounding a device, here are a list of general steps one might take:

  • Bring all parts of your build with you. As a general rule, bring everything you will need in competition to be impounded.
  • Find the impound location.
  • If there is a line, wait in line until the event supervisor(s) call your team up.
  • The supervisor will then make sure your device follows all construction parameters outlined by the rules, such as restricted dimensions.
  • Bring the device to a storage location noted by the event supervisor.


All building and device events, with the exception of Flight Events such as Wright Stuff or Elastic Launched Glider, as well as Balsa Events such as Bridge Building or Boomilever require devices to be impounded, most often at the location of the competition. Hybrid events, such as Protein Modeling or Machines, also require devices to be impounded. As this is only a general rule, the official rules manual should be consulted to be sure whether or not an event has an impound block.

As of the 2020-2021 season, these are the events that require impounding:

  • Gravity Vehicle C (Ramp+Vehicle)
  • Machines B/C (Lever)
  • Mission Possible B (Device)
  • Mousetrap Vehicle B (Vehicle)
  • Protein Modeling C (Model)