Hackaday’s Duelling Marble Mazes Are Dead

Well, the whole RedBull Creation contest has finally wrapped up. We’re back home and fully recovered from our weekend at MakerFaire. I want to thank the Redbull crew for making the weekend very fun and the crew from Squidfoo for being an awesome team.

Now that all the “thank you” statements are out of the way, lets talk about what happened. Kids trashed our game. Right off the bat we noticed our construction wasn’t going to hold up to the abuse. It was designed, built, and tested in such a short time that we really had no idea how it would hold up under the weight of the masses. As it turns out, we should have gone much, much, more rugged. It was destroyed almost immediately.

After finding that it had been smashed in shipping (our fault for not crating it correctly), we got everything functional in anticipation of the gates opening.  After the first wave we saw that our cable system was quickly coming out of alignment. This was not aided by the fact that children would literally climb on it as their parents watched without saying a word.

By lunch, [Andrew], our carpenter had already spent a couple hours making quick repairs. A young teenager stomping on one of the control levers finally rendered one table completely out of commission. By 2:00 pm the first day, both tables were completely out of order.

Though it was a slight bummer that the tables were broken, it left us able to wander around and have tons of fun. [Scott Sauer] and [Ryan Fitzpatrick] had decided at some point to make a minotaur costume that turned out to be a huge hit. You can see some highlights of the costume above.

38 thoughts on “Hackaday’s Duelling Marble Mazes Are Dead

  1. I was there Sunday and saw it out of order. They place was a zoo, but there were lots of neat stuff to see. Too bad about kids climbing and smashing. For all the kids and parents who are respectful there will be one who is not. And so crowd control is always needed. Hope you’ll make something for next year. I’ll just have to come on Saturday to see it working :)

  2. Yes, equipment that interfaces with the general public must be rugged in every aspect. This is readily apparent in video (arcade) game joysticks and buttons as well as ATM’s. As you have also learned, ship things in strong containers with padding, water resistance, and minimized internal movement considered. Lessons we all seem to learn the hard way.

    We once had a $2500 computer monitor arrive with a fork lift puncture in its CRT. Our insurance only reimbursed us for $0.45/lb.

    1. I’m not sure if your minotaur experienced this, but it is good to have a guide as the costume limits vision. You don’t want to step on children, trip over wheelchairs, or have teenagers sucker punch the mascot.

  3. ” This was not aided by the fact that children would literally climb on it as their parents watched without saying a word.”

    Most parents today are horrible, horrible people. Borderline scumbag level with how they let their kids destroy other peoples property. I usually upset a lot of parents because I dare to tell their kids to stop doing things that damage others property. Hey they refuse to be parents, someone needs to reign in their little demons.

    1. Yeah, I do that too. Sometimes I just get blank stares from both parties, but often the parents just weren’t paying attention or thinking about what they were seeing.

      1. Yup! This is why living in the Caribbean is awesome. Kids Behave, If they don’t there are consequences, Kids don’t other peoples property unless they are willing to face the consequences. If you don’t Control your kids I Will, If they can destroy my property then those kids must be my own kids cause that is the only logical reason behind them being able to destroy what is not theirs.

    1. In the event this video is any indication of of the scantily clad women at burning man looks as if scantily clad women is a part of someone’ criteria for wanting attend burning man, it shouldn’t be. The same seems to be true for false idolatry.

  4. Gah! Why does youtube suck so much lately? Trying to watch that video it stopped 8 times to buffer and that was at 360p! Seems lately it’s impossible to watch videos without random buffering, random jumping to the end of the video, full on dead stops, crashing and all that regardless of what quality you watch at AND regardless of how popular the vid is. I have a 100Mbit connection, I should be able to watch a vid at 360p without buffering dammit…

    1. But isn’t 100Mbit connection meaningless, if the network can’t transport date from YouTube to your connection at 100Mgit despite what Google/YouTube is or isn’t doing at their end? The public appetite for HD video for about everything video has probably broken the web. Not only the brats out in public spoiled, it’s a nationwide affliction Those dissatisfied with 100Mbit connections should downgrade until the providers take the hint, and fix the network.

    2. Sorry to read about the fate of the game, but is it really a surprise? This being Red Bull’s show where they on the scene attempting any management or security? wouldn’t be in RB interests if one of the destructive angels got hurt while trashing entries in a RB contest. Instructables has some pretty deep pockets now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the corporate would nix a team Instructable if RB doesn’t announce any mitigation plan to control this sort of activity. Where do the Maker Faire promoters stand here?

  5. I must say that I share your pain about the young kids at Maker Faire, especially on Saturday morning. As two of my graphing calculators were showing off games, they were particularly attractive to kids, but parents said nothing as kids randomly pressed buttons on the other displays that were clearly designed to be hands-off and in several cases literally smashed their hands on the keyboards. Very frustrating indeed.

  6. Luckily, our Centrifury was built like a tank. The shipping company directly rammed the device with a fork lift and bent some of the metal octagon frame. There was plenty of clearance, but that didn’t stop them from also smashing our lit up acrylic CNC sign. It still ran though!

    The thing that finally broke ours at the end of the second day was an extremely uneven weight distribution of 350lbs or so vs 250 lbs on the other side. The press-fit axle popped out, and the excessive sand bags to weigh down the base caught it at just the right angle to smash a bearing. We’re just going to swap out the bearing from the other side of the axle, but it was definitely not going to be repaired at Maker Faire. We still had countless hours of constant use and many hundreds of games played on it.

    We had to battle stupid children as well. We parked our motorized hammock near the beer tent, and this lady brings her kids over to jump into it. Within 5 seconds, the first kid has flipped over the other side and landed on his head. Then he starts climbing and jumping on the motor terminal connections, bending the contacts. I run over and tell her to get her kids off, and she didn’t even listen! We had to take the thing apart so people would stop jumping on it!

  7. Seeing something you’ve put a lot of effort into building getting destroyed really dampens your mood.
    I used to set up little chill out areas at rave parties, playing chilled out music, beanbags and carpet and such. The reason I stopped was because people were destroying my lighting.
    Eg. There was a string barrier running along the edge of a path to light peoples way, I had LEDs and Button Batteries attached the the string (and taped up so they couldn’t be easily removed), which people would then start twisting until it shorted or snapped off. Then they threw it on the ground.
    Or, Another guy who was eating my fairy lights (the glass ones!!).

    That really put me off wanting to make pretty things.

  8. remember that makers are a rare thing, this can be easy to lose sight of when you see articles of their work every day. destruction is easier than creation, thats why some people take that route.
    I did feel that the article should have ended with tho.

  9. Put up a sign that says “Parents will be charged for any damage their children do to exhibits.”

    Also “Unattended children will be given a kitten or puppy and three cans of Red Bull.”

  10. Exhibit “force fields” and “invisible cubes” ;)
    Sorry about the rowdy kids. Little Skyler and Dakota running rampant while mom-thing with troutpout texts furiously about things even their kids would think are dumb orrrrr the dad with almost ironic PING golf visor and tan darker than his scotch talking on his phone at high volume. Hmmm I need to get a PING visor just to write me on it lol. That might actually be the positive of that whole bad experience lol. The “PING me biatches” visor. Maybe cram a wrt54g connected to raspi or adam sandler in there. That should work… Yeah. Folks tend to lose focus quickly these days lol. I blame it on having connections faster than dial-up :( It is an interesting dilemma. Where is our resident museum display builder, Bill? I’m sure he has some good suggestions :)

  11. My experiences mirror the others mentioned. I have learned to remove the shifters from any bike I display, as they won’t survive an hour in public.

    One time I brought my tandem recumbent trike to a mini faire. Since the exhibit was in an enclosed space (an outdoor skating rink, with the “boards” still in place for roller hockey players), I felt safe during the last hour of the event, letting people try the trike. They didn’t break the shifters this time, they broke the handlebars. They managed to spiral fracture a custom bent piece of 3/4″ 0.045 wall 4130 CrMo tubing. Given what it took me to just put a bend in the stuff, I have no clue how they managed to break it without 6′ of cheater bar.

    That they broke it was annoying, but also somewhat impressive. The thing that got to me: the person that broke it didn’t say anything when they returned it. I only discovered the break 30 minutes later, when I was loading up to go home, and all the civilians had been cleared out.

    I once brought a clavichord I built to a show. (at a local museum, not a maker faire) Its a replica of a 17th century keyboard instrument, that is notable for how quiet it is. (it has a wide dynamic range, it can go from very soft to essentially inaudible). Anyhow kids would walk up, and start playing. When they couldn’t hear it over the other noise in the room, they switched to pounding. All without comment from most of the parents. (and unlike most things I build, this one didn’t resemble something that could be found on the set of Thunderdome, it looks like an expensive musical instrument) Luckily they didn’t manage to break any key levers or strings. I very quickly went to the museum shop and found a couple of pieces of polycarbonate to cover it.

    Last year I brought a catapult to the NY Faire. It was small by my standards, the axle was at 8′ and the throwing arm is 12′ Its a traction trebuchet, its powered by people pulling on ropes connected to the throwing arm.

    At one point I had to wander away for 10 minutes, and I did the usual precautions, hanging my “DON’T TOUCH” sign, tying the arm down, tossing the pull down ropes on top of the arm, out of reach, and putting up a ring of caution tape. Tying the arm down was to make it safe from a casual tug on the pulldown ropes, not to secure it against an onslaught.

    I came back to several kids climbing on the thing, hanging off the throwing arm, etc. Their parent was watching. I yelled at them to get off, and instead of obeying, they (including the parent!) started to argue. I had to say “This is my machine, what you are doing is unsafe, get off NOW”.

    I confronted the parent, pointing to the tape and sign, and their lack of the wristband that indicated they signed the safety wavier. I asked what sort of lesson they were teaching, when they didn’t make the kids ask permission first. I was basically told to “get a [censored] life [censored]”.

    Yes, I understand the risks I am taking when I show things to the public, and do it anyway. But I don’t take the catapult out in public anymore.

    The anyone could ride it trike, instead of in a place where people might sit on it, gets put at a minimum on a table, when I can, it gets hung 7′ in the air. When I show my recumbent bicycles, they get put in training stands, and don’t let the public try to ride them around. (and as mentioned, I remove the easily damaged controls.) All they get to do is sit and pedal them in place.

    Anyhow, the people that destroy things are a very small minority, but they unfortunately mean things have to be less interesting.

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