The whole point of building this tipping mechanism was to drive a ball through a maze. Now I had to actually build the maze. The first thing I had to do was to sketch it out by hand on graph paper. I had to account for the thickness of the boards, the width of the ball, and the path of the maze. The path I decided was intended to start easy, and get harder later in the maze. The goal was to build a learning curve into the maze path. I figured most people will require some time learning to use teamwork to solve the maze.
I then was able to layout the maze on the two pieces of white melamine. I used rulers and straight edges to transfer my hand drawn plans onto the boards. I made sure to keep lengths to round number measurements where at all possible, so the walls would be easier to cut and assemble. The boards were cut from 2.5″ x 3/4″ stock. I only needed the walls to be slightly taller than the balls radius.
To attach the 3/4″ planks to the melamine, I drilled the holes in the melamine at regular intervals and then drilled matching pilot holes in the boards. Then I used 1/4″ lag bolts to pull the wood tightly to the melamine, which keep the boards from flexing when the heavy ball slams against them. Each board section is held down by at least two lag bolts. All in all I used the entire pack of 100 lag bolts I bought for the job. The result was a clean, strong connection that I was quite pleased with.
The last thing to do is put some people on it and see what happens! I set it up during an open house we have at The Brewery called Art Walk. Thousands of people came through our shop and many stopped to play on the Labyrinth. I needed to finish the handles for the see-saws, but I had run out of time. There were a few groups of four that really enjoyed the labyrinth, and stayed on for quite some time. I didn’t add the art work for “Start” or “Finish” but it didn’t matter because they made up their own rules anyway.
Going forward I might also lower the see-saw pivot heights. It came out a little too high for kids to really enjoy. All in all, I was pleased with the result. The experiment worked much better than I thought it would!