Part 3 Magnet Maze

Made by Adella Guo, Olivia Kung, Nina Flores and Neha Kodi

Refining our Part 2 prototype of a magnet maze game in order to create a safe, fun, and educational game for children that teaches a science concept: magnetism.



From part 2, we realized that simply using the controller to navigate the top player piece was too easy as it was only demonstrating magnets that attract. To further teach that magnets can not only attract but also repel, we thought about how to integrate repelling. This drove our design for the controller and player pieces to be flippable. We added color to create a visual cue when the pieces flipped so that North (red) attracts to South (blue), North (red) repels North (red), and South (blue) repels South (blue). Lastly, we implemented gates to prompt children to have to flip in order to reach the center goal.


Children must flip the bottom controller piece to either attract or repel the top player piece in order to get through obstacles and reach the center goal. Whoever reaches the center goal wins.

Meeting Requirements

Successfully knowing when to flip the piece to get through the gates shows a child's understanding of magnetism where likes repel (North (red) to North (red), South (blue) to South (blue)) and opposites attract (North (red) to South (blue)).



  • Black acrylic (24" x 24" 1/8" thick)


  • Clear acrylic (24" x 24" 1/8" thick)
  • Pine Wood
  • Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Rubber Table Feet

Magnet Pieces

  • Ceramic Magnets (3/4" Diameter)
  • Neodymium Magnets (3/8" Diameter)
  • PLA (red, blue)
  • Plastruct Bondene
  • Epoxy


  • Black acrylic 


We used the same manufacturing technique as part 2, which was laser cutting, except we used black acrylic instead of MDF. 

For part 3, we used the table from part 2; table manufacturing can be seen in the following link:

Magnet Pieces
We 3D printed magnet casings, red for North, and blue for South, for the bottom controller piece and the top player piece. We used SolidWorks to create the STL files.  

We laser cut the gates and used illustrator to create the vector/dxf files.  


Maze and Table

Black Acrylic Maze instead of MDF
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Magnets and 3D Printed Casings

3D printing the magnet cases
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All the magnet cases for the Moving 4th into Engineering Event
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Cases for the neodymium top player pieces
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Using epoxy to embed the magnets in the 3D printed pieces
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(Left) piece is Part 2 Controller, (Middle) two are N and S pieces to create (Right) controller piece
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(Left) top piece without casing, (Middle) top piece without 2 neodymium magnets, (Right) top piece with 1 neodymium magnet
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Illustrator file for the Gates
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Doubling the Gates 1
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Doubling the Gates 2
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Doubling the Gates 3
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Assembling Everything
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Moving 4th Handout
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Moving 4th into Engineering

We tested our MagneMaze with 4th graders on April 9th, 2016. The children seemed to enjoy the game and many said they'd give us an A++ not just an A+! We learned a lot from the constant interaction between the kids and our game:



  • The height of the black maze was too short so a lot of kids figured out they could "hack" the game, by moving the controller piece fast enough so they could have the top player piece bypass the maze walls without having to go through the obstacles. For the next iteration, we'll explore either doubling or tripling the maze height.
  • Some of the buddy leaders observed that the gates were unclear for the kids to see that they need to flip the piece. For the next iteration, we might play with color more since the black maze and gates kind of blend together and make it hard to see. Maybe going back to MDF. 
  • Because we had an open top, a lot of kids wanted to pick up the pieces to move it instead of using the controller to flip the top piece. We aren't sure how to resolve this problem other than creating a top where the player pieces are not movable at all. However, after telling kids that it's an honest system, many of them respected the rule that they shouldn't cheat by moving the piece or bypassing through the walls. 
  • We need to use epoxy to adhere everything next time. We used epoxy to embed the magnets so it's impossible to take off from the 3D printed materials, but we only used bondene to attache the 3D printed materials to the 3D printed materials. That proved insufficient because the kids liked to play rough after they got the hang of the game and some of the blue and red pieces separated. It was a quick fix with more bondene, which we luckily brought. Overall, nothing substantial like the table broke. But we'll be sure to use the strongest adhesive for everything next time so it is truly kid proof.
  • There was a craft issue in that the maze wasn't centered when we adhered it to the acrylic top. Because of this, the kids were hitting the table frame and having a hard time moving the piece. Next time we'll make sure to give sufficient margin space between the table frame and the maze. 
  • OVERALL: The kids were really intrigued by the flipping action of the magnets. After all the kids in a group had a chance to play, many would want to switch sides to see what the other side was like. Some wanted to play a solo game and go from one side to the other. These were very smart kids, so after they played a few rounds, they got the hang of the magnets and we had moments where four kids would be playing at once (we made 4 controllers and 4 top pieces in case a pair broke), trying to see how pieces attached, what would happen if they crashed into each other, and much more. Ultimately, the test was a success in terms of creating a balance between fun and learning. But we can definitely improve on clarity of the gates to inform when to flip, and creating more obstacles or levels. We've already been discussing adding bridges, leds when someone gets into the middle, pieces that you have to pick up before getting to the middle, and possibly a scenario where two kids have to work together to get a piece from start to finish. Maybe a rotating table? The iterations are endless. 

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39-245 Rapid Design through Virtual and Physical Prototyping

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Introduction to rapid design through virtual and physical prototyping. The class will cover the design process, problem solving methods, interdisciplinary team work, current industrial practice, an...more

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Refining our Part 2 prototype of a magnet maze game in order to create a safe, fun, and educational game for children that teaches a science concept: magnetism.