This evening I attended another friendly Northackton meeting (my local hackerspace). It was great to see so many people turn out for a "build your own marble machine" workshop. I took along two of my kids to join in the fun: Penelope (11) and Sam (8).
As with the previous useless machine workshop we were joined by friend-of-Northackton and maker-extraordinaire Martin Raynsford who has set himself the task of providing 365 laser cut items in 365 days. He provided us with a nifty marble machine ~ a laser cut wooden mechanism that's easy to assemble with just a craft knife, wood glue and a screw driver. If you email Martin he'll supply the necessary files for you to cut your own mechanism or will sell you the pre-cut kits that we were using. Furthermore, his blog is definitely worth a read and packed full of all sorts of interesting projects (the Escher Lizards particularly caught my eye).
Both Penelope and Sam had a great time to the extent that Penelope was trying to work out how she could attend again despite having a string orchestra rehearsal on Monday evenings.
Here's Sam demonstrating the contraption we built together:
I love how he's so engrossed in tweaking the spiral and chute (especially at the end of the clip). Penelope was also rather distracted by last minute adjustments to her solo effort:
Why don't schools make use of such fun, easy-to-build and interesting models? It certainly beats the plastic key ring I "made" over six weeks when I was at school.