|Project by William||posted 01-07-2013 12:47 AM||4507 views||31 times favorited||54 comments|
I have wanted to build a marble machine for as long as I can remember and just never got the chance. Well, I recently got the opportunity to get plans for one and jumped at the chance. building this has been the most fun I have had in the wood shop in a long time. Each and every step of the way, everything has to be tested and restested. I often found myself though testing to the point that it could only be called playing. It brought out the kid in me.
I want to show though, the most interesting part of this project.
This is a view looking up from low down in front of the chest, with the lid closed. Notice how all the parts that are attached to the underside of the lid fit so closely to other items inside the chest when the lid is closed. Even after going by the plans, you have to fine tune everything to work right. This involved adding ramps and taller sides to some of the troughs. When doing this, you have to constantly check and recheck that the lid will close. It is all too easy to add something that will interfere with the lid. So, after taking care of all that, I am amazed that it all works together. I was truly worried at one point that I was going to forget something and not be able to close it.
As you can see though, it does close like it should.
The chest uses a well thought out escapement mechanism to release one marble at a time. Those marbles go though a series of chutes and through four different vertical diverting switches. These switches divert the marbles into different directions to go though all the contraptions inside the chest. Also, there is another horizontal dirverter switch on one of those paths. Inside the chest, there is a parking ramp, a seal drop, a clacker run that empties into a spinning wheel and spiral, a curved path called Lombardy street that emtpies into a circus wheel, and a spring board that launches marbles through a ring, held by another seal, and into an enclosure where it hits some bells. After all this, the marbles are diverted into various well placed holes in the floor, where they empty into a drawer underneath the chest, where they can be retrieved and played with some more.
I build things for my wife and family all the time. It is seldom though that I build something and keep it for myself. Here is the new home for the Marble Chest. It resides on top of one of my gun cabinets. It is high enough to keep kids from messing with it when they aren’t supposed to, and I can get it down to play with anytime I want.
If you’d like to purchase the plans for this project, they can be found here.
Now I would like to apologize for what you are about to see if you click on this video. I am not a movie star like some of the other members here. I own a crappy camera, and even if I had a top of the line one, I still wouldn’t know much about what to do with it. I usually don’t do videos. I wanted to give an idea of the fun one could have with this though.
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As further proof of how much I have enjoyed this project, I’ve already ordered the plans for two more marble machines. Also, I’m already thinking that, eventually, I would like to take what I learn from building these and design my own. So, if nothing goes wrong, since one of the plans I ordered was instantly downloadable, I will be starting my second marble machine tomorrow.
If any of you have ever wanted to build something like this, don’t wait as long as I have. Get off your butts and order some plans. You will not regret it. They are a ton of fun to build.
I was tagging this post. I started to look at wood choices and tool choices and decided to edit this post.
I used the table saw, router, planer, hand planes, scroll saw, band saw, several different hand held sander, belt sander, drum sander, drill press, cordless drills, sand paper on odd shaped blocks of wood, and just about every other tool you can think of. I’m not saying you need every tool in the hardware store to build this. I’m only saying that having a variety of tools makes it easier. It could be done with basic tools. If you have all these that I do though, you will get a chance to use them on this project.
I did not NEED to do this, but for mine, I used pine, oak, cedar, cypress, sycamore, mahogany, walnut, cottonwood, pecan, exterior plywood, and birch plywood. You can use one wood for everything, or mix it up and use just about every species of wood in your shop.