Ball Runs

Close-up of a piece of skirting board stuck to a sheet of pegboard

In The Shed we’ve been tinkering with a seemingly simple concept: getting a ball from the top of a sheet of pegboard to the bottom.  It seems pretty easy: gravity does most of the work for us.

But what if along the way, you want the ball to do a loop?  Or jump a gap?  Or move as slowly as possible?  Attaching parts to the pegboard creates a path for the ball; a rollercoaster-like ball run.

We’ve been experimenting with a variety of household materials to construct these ball runs.

  • Skewers are useful to hold pieces in place, but most people tend to just use a lot of tape instead.
  • Pieces of PVC pipe work well, until a ball occasionally gets stuck and it’s almost impossible to find where it is without deconstructing everything.
  • Segments of skirting board create a readymade channel for a rolling ball, but if the ball moves too fast, it sometimes flies off and a crash barrier is required.
  • Kitchen utensils can add metallic soundscape to the ball run as the ball clangs into spoons and ladles.

This isn’t our first foray into the world of ball runs.  In the development stage of The Shed, we experimented with ball runs made from suction-cup bathroom fittings stuck to windows, and bits of pipe velcroed to temporary walls.

So what’s next?  We’re going to keep playing with ball runs, and keep experimenting new parts: pulleys, springs, rubber bands, levers, and more.

 

Other Stories

A circuit of a motor and battery taped onto a piece of cardboard

Good Vibrations

Tinkering with vibrating robots... or vibrobots!

by Michael


The Shed Gallery’s 2nd Birthday

The Shed has developed more than 25 tinker activities since its inception two years ago encompassing a wide variety of disciplin

by Tam Connor

Close-up of a piece of skirting board stuck to a sheet of pegboard

Ball Runs

In The Shed we’ve been tinkering with a seemingly simple concept: getting a ball from the top of a sheet of pegboard to the bott

by Michael

Tinkering sign

Introducing ‘The Shed’: tinkering with tinkering

Today – Monday 12 September 2016 – marks the first day for open for Questacon’s newest space: The Shed.

by Michael

Three terrariums hung from a pegboard

Tinkerable Terrariums

Budding idea

by Bree

Man and Lady building a box fort and smiling

BOX FORT!

Box Fort! Who said Questacon is just for kids?

by Milly

A visitor tinkers with their sculpture to improve how it balances on a zip line

Balance

What do cheeky children on see-saws and terrifying trapeze artists have in common? Balance!

by Tam