Marble MADhouse (marble machine)

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Project by jelleknikkers posted 05-14-2012 06:56 PM 7305 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


27 posts in 2780 days

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

WOW! That looks amazing. Good job.

View drbyte's profile


806 posts in 4182 days

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

Another GREAT one Jelle!! Keep them coming!!

-- Dennis, WV

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2426 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


108 posts in 2344 days

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


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

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2813 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


18358 posts in 3796 days

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

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

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

View woodpezzer's profile


124 posts in 2324 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 2412 days

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

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

View hunter71's profile


3237 posts in 3306 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 2411 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


32073 posts in 2986 days

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

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


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3205 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 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View JayT's profile


5822 posts in 2331 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.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Gpops's profile


248 posts in 3564 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


1989 posts in 3584 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)

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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