At the end of last year we spent a day at the office working on our own holiday creation challenge. Dan challenged the team with a brief to "design and make something that would keep a child entertained for hours".
This is Team 1's design - it's sort of a hybrid mashup of a 'parlour' bagatelle with a pinball machine inspired ball launching mechanism.
We created a simple box from good ol' reliable and underrated hardboard with an insert in the base made from Italian poplar, for contrast
The base then had some holes cut and scores engaved.
As it was a very complex design we concentrated on getting an initial prototype out very quickly.
Things we learnt from that process:
• nodes are incredible the first prototype fell apart, the final design was such a tight fit that it required clamps but once in place held better than glue
• the force of the spring pulling on the back of the box required us to add in a second plate
• we had to tweak the holes by countersinking them, otherwise the ball tended to run right over them.
• the raster engraving was too deep in places and the ball often got caught in it and followed it down.
• we cut several different curves to fit in the top to see which worked the best to create some randomness in the balls trajectory
With some tweaking of the locations of obstacles and additional decoration this could definitely provide 'hours of entertainment'.