Imagine and design solutions to challenging questions posed at the Maker Space. Make your creation from a range of materials provided and test out your design. Share your thinking with others and build on each other’s ideas.

Maker Space is included as part of your SparkLab ticket. 

9:40am – 5pm

Air Machines

17 September - 15 December 2019

Push, pull, lift and tilt! Add parts to an air powered machine. What will you make the machine do? 
Use pressurised air and pneumatics to make your machine move.

This activity invites visitors to follow a design process. Below are some of the questions that will help our visitors at each stage of the process.

Think of some solutions

  • How does air make the machine move? How might this influence what you build?
  • How can the plungers push or pull different parts of the machine? 
  • What are some real world examples that you have seen before?  
  • What ideas do you have for what you will make your machine do?
  • How might the size, shape and heaviness of your design affect how it moves?
  • What ideas do you have for a design?

Make a prototype

  • What materials will you use to build your new part for your machine?
  • How can you use the different properties of the materials in your own design?
  • How can you build parts in your machine that rotate or bend at joints?  
  • How will you attach your new parts to the machine? Will your new parts be fixed or removable?
  • What part of your design are you finding tricky to build?

Test it out

  • Test out your new part by making your Air Machine move. How well did your new part move?
  • Did your Air Machine do what you designed it to do?  
  • Choose an object for your Air Machine to move as part of the testing. How well did your new part work?
  • What did you observe during testing? Did your new part move in the way you predicted? Did the machine move your new part in the way you predicted?
  • What part of your design worked really well?

Improve your design

  • How could you improve on your design? Are there any areas showing signs of weakness or breaking?
  • What changes can you make so that your machine can move a different object or move in a different way? 
  • How can you build on your machine so that it uses multiple plungers and operates as a whole system?
  • What ideas could you incorporate from someone else's design?
  • If you started again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?

This activity supports the key learning areas of Science and Design & Technology, in the Australian Curriculum.


Previous programs

Maker Space Shake it Up

Land sailing rovers

24 June 2019 - 16 September 2019

How far will your wind-powered vehicle travel down a test track? Make a vehicle and create a customised mast and sail. Use a fan to propel your rover through some all-terrain challenges, such as different surfaces, ramps and bridges.  Consider the properties of different materials and whether you need your mast and sail to be light or heavy, strong, rigid or flexible. Think about the forces involved as your rover moves forward.

Set up a Land sailing rovers Maker Space activity at your space.

Shake it up

4 April 2019 - 23 June 2019

Can your structure survive the power of an earthquake? Make and test your custom-built design to see if they survive the destructive force of the quake. Consider the different properties of the materials you are using and whether it is better for your structure to be light or heavy, strong, rigid or flexible? What happens if the quake is quite strong or you add multi-levels or weights to your design?

Can you cross it?

17 December 2018 – 3 April 2019

Moving something across town, over the river, up the mountain or across the valley takes some thought. Build a structure to help move something light or heavy between two parts of the landscape. Consider materials, strong shapes and the size and weight of your object. Your landscape can be made using boxes or furniture and have parts that are of different heights and different width spans.

Zip to it

17 September 2018 – 16 December 2018

This tricky terrain is a breeze if you slide or roll down a zip line. Make a device that transports a person or object safely along a zip line. Zip lines can be made from different types of thread, cord or line, set up at different angles and have different lengths.