Last week, after we posted photos and video of us messing around with our new 'wind table' prototype, we got a video message from Cale, a fellow tinkerer (and admitted blogstalker) from the Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo, Texas. Cale recommended a design for a flying object made from a sno-cone cup, strips of paper, and masking tape. He made this great video that shows how to construct the contraption and explains how it works.
I had been working the week before trying to make a non-spinning flyer that floated stably in the air flow but I couldn't figure out how to do it so I was pretty psyched about Cale's suggestion. While we waited for our bulk order of sno cone cups to arrive, Nicole made some more adjustments to the exhibit like adding a wooden ring around the opening and installing a mesh grate so that kids wouldn't be able to push in the straws and cause a catastrophic avalanche.
Once the materials arrived, we set up the wind table in the corner of the exhibit shop and started building versions of Cale's flyer. They worked beautifully! Some floated in the air for an unexpectedly long length of time and we developed a method of tossing the cones high up into the tube so we could observe how they floated at different heights.