Marble MADhouse (marble machine)

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Project by jelleknikkers posted 05-14-2012 06:56 PM 4877 views 16 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m invited by the MAD Museum in Stratford upon Avon (UK) to build a wooden Marble Machine with lifting system: It’s my second international Marble Machine project and the first one outside of the Benelux. (I live in the Netherlands)
This Marble Machine is fully made of wood except screws, nails, bells, guiding rails, plexiglass cover, etc. It has 3 lifters (conveyor belt, ring gear and crank lifter which is mounted on the ring gear lifter. Marbles will roll down along 9 different paths. The machine is equipped with a halfpipe shaped marble collector at the bottom, when a marble falls off track, it will always land in the halfpipe to roll back to the conveyor belt.


Building hours: 143
Number of marbles: around 50
Number of lifters: 3
Number of paths: 9 (without the connection chutes)
Dimensions: 150 cm X 58 cm X 98 cm (60 inch X 23 inch X 39 inch)

Paths: Platform 1: (between conveyor belt and yellow gear)
  • Bell slalom, wooden funnel

Platform 2: (after yellow gear)

  • Branche to Lever lifter to Platform 3
  • Spiral staircase and chute to Platform 1
Carrousel splitter:
  • Rainbow tree
  • Popsickle drop
  • Seesaw with jingle bells path
  • Double connection chute, Jump track and tambourine
  • Double connection chute, Tipover and pinball drop
  • Loop the Loop (with emergency exit, when a marble not make the loop, it will drop back to the halfpipe.
Platform 3:
  • Nail slalom (leading to tip-over)
  • Connecting chute, Xylophone, Chimes track, slalom, drainhole to pinball drop

All paths will end in the halfpipe marble collector leading to the conveyor belt to platform 1.

Tools used: (machines only)
Band saw, scroll saw, circular saw, router, belt sander, drill press, cordless screwdriver, dremel, plexiglass bender, etc.

Visit my website for more pictures and videos

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Update 15-05: Video embedded

-- My unique hobby

18 comments so far

View Bigjoemann's profile


26 posts in 1477 days

#1 posted 05-14-2012 07:38 PM

WOW! That looks amazing. Good job.

View drbyte's profile


604 posts in 2879 days

#2 posted 05-14-2012 08:59 PM

Another GREAT one Jelle!! Keep them coming!!

-- Dennis, WV

View Martyroc's profile


2708 posts in 1123 days

#3 posted 05-14-2012 10:39 PM

Very Cool!

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View slapdash's profile


64 posts in 1041 days

#4 posted 05-14-2012 10:43 PM


-- I'm not creative, I'm just bad at copying

View mtenterprises's profile


850 posts in 1510 days

#5 posted 05-15-2012 01:04 AM

I love it! Some day maybe I’ll get around to building one. Well maybe some day. Cool Vid love all the things happening at once! And the sound is Great Too!

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15419 posts in 2493 days

#6 posted 05-15-2012 03:36 AM

Awesome! I love it ;-) Someday I’m gonna build….............

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View woodpezzer's profile


123 posts in 1021 days

#7 posted 05-15-2012 05:56 AM

WOW.. It’s a marble machine, a musical instrument and the video is kinda mesmerizing! VERY COOL!

View Skiedra's profile


259 posts in 1109 days

#8 posted 05-15-2012 08:27 AM

Now that took alot of time and love. Amazing creation!

View hunter71's profile


2228 posts in 2003 days

#9 posted 05-15-2012 10:21 AM

These have always fascinated me. Guess it’s the kid in me. Great work.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View Ben Simms's profile

Ben Simms

191 posts in 1108 days

#10 posted 05-15-2012 12:19 PM


-- I played with Legos as a kid and I never had the part I thought I needed, so I learned to improvise. Now I'm an engineer with a woodworking hobby.

View helluvawreck's profile


16338 posts in 1683 days

#11 posted 05-15-2012 01:24 PM

Wow, I love these things and you did a wonderful job on it.


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Bluepine38's profile


3007 posts in 1902 days

#12 posted 05-15-2012 01:58 PM

Wonderful way to pass the time, whether planning it, building it, or just watching it operate. I keep
thinking about building one of these, if I ever get time. That is the best thing about retirement, trying
to find time to do things. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 76 yr young apprentice carpenter

View JayT's profile


2889 posts in 1028 days

#13 posted 05-15-2012 02:35 PM

I love a good marble machine.

The musical elements of this one really work well together. Great job.

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View Gpops's profile


247 posts in 2261 days

#14 posted 05-15-2012 03:09 PM

Jelle, it’s awesome! Love the MAD Complicated thought and musical design. It is just completely fun to watch. Keep them coming. I am sending the link to my friends in the Netherlands. Don

View BTKS's profile


1971 posts in 2281 days

#15 posted 05-15-2012 03:36 PM

I just checked out the video. This is amazing. So well tuned, balanced and confusing. You are a true craftsman! My compliments.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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