Tray, Take 2

In Situ

A few months ago, I built and wrote about a cantilevered tray a colleague of mine asked me to make for his apartment balcony. I was really pleased with how it turned out, but the practicality of it ended up being less than ideal. It was too heavy, my friend said, and because the legs had to be inserted from under the tray, it would be too easy to drop a leg or the entire tray from his 13th-floor balcony to the ground — a mistake that could be quite deadly.

I felt bad that they tray wasn’t working for him; I wanted to make sure he had a something that would do the job. We discussed changes to the one I made — hollowing it out to reduce weight; changing how the legs would be inserted — but I didn’t love any of the options. Better, I thought, to just make a new one using a different design.

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Custom Project: Balcony Tray

Finished Tray

Not too long ago, I got a cryptic email from a work colleague. It read in part, “Take a look at this amateur drawing I did in 2 min. What do you think?”

The drawing was in an attached PowerPoint file. For a moment I wondered if I was being subject to a phishing scam. Or maybe this was a test of my email security practices? But after a thorough forensic analysis, I concluded the email was legit and opened the file. In it was an illustration of a tray with two sets of legs sticking down from it. My friend, it seemed, was asking me to make him a custom dining tray. I agreed and it turned out to be an engineering puzzle that was fun to solve.

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