The ULTIMATE Makerspace! DIY Maker Tray + Marble Run

This post was written by Creative QT Owner & Founder Adam Hinkle. Learn more about the Hinkle family and the heart behind Creative QT here. 

A common issue facing LEGO based STEM or makerspace programs is that schools have to build a wall, table or other surface for students to do engineering projects and sometimes they just don't have the space available to make that happen.

We were curious if we  could come up with a surface that could be adapted to many different engineering lessons and from several different positions.  What we came up with was, (drum roll please) is the Ultimate Makerspace ... the Maker Tray.

Using a $10 oil drip pan from Walmart, we added 2 packs of (4) Peel ’n Stick Baseplates to the top (see video for details).  This tray can be set on a table, used flat on the floor, magnetically hung to a wall, leaned against the wall for marble runs, and is completely waterproof if you want to use it for water activities (did we mention that the plates and adhesives are completely waterproof?).

Below is a video of a marble run we created using the Maker Tray.  We leaned it against the wall to help the marbles stay close to the board.  That is much harder to put together on a vertical makerspace wall. 

The goal of the run was to send a marble down four feet using simple machines like ramps, pulleys, levers and axles so as to deliver the marble gently on the ground.

We used a combination of classic LEGO pieces and some of the Technic beams to create the marble run.  The most difficult part is the marble launcher that shoots the marble up a few inches so it can go down the corkscrew slide.  That was also the most fun element to build as well.

The ULTIMATE Makerspace! DIY Maker Tray + Marble Run

My only regret is that we didn’t take advantage of the fact that the tray is magnetic so we could use other elements than LEGO blocks for the marble to ride on.  We’ll just have to do it again to see what we can come up with!

Coming soon, we will be showing how to create water engineering activities using a Maker Tray.

We can’t wait to see what you can come up with using a Maker Tray too!

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