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The Marble Tower

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Project by William posted 02-04-2013 10:13 PM 3071 views 11 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my third marble machine. It is called the Marble Tower. The original design is by a man named Richard Brown. He has done some amzing work on marble machines. If you’d like, you can find him on You Tube under the name xeniaguy2.
I really enjoyed building this, as I have all the marble machines so far. However, for you all that keep up with my work, you know I normally provide a link where you can purchase plans for anything I build using plans. I will not do that for this project. The plans are called the Amazing Marble Machine Pattern Pack and are not hard to find if you want them. They are sold by one of the major scroll sawing magazine companies.

I will not provide a link because I do not like to sound like I am recommending something that will give some people issues. I thoroughly enjoyed building this. However, I really enjoy problem solving and puzzles. There are so many errors in the plans, if you are not extra, extra careful and read four steps ahead at all times, you will either reach point where you have to start over, or you will have to redesign (the way I done) certain aspects of the project to make it all work. I prefer the redesigning method because, to me, that was part of the fun of it.
If you try to follow the plans to the letter, there are just too many times that measurements for the parts lists and the overall dimensioned drawings do not correspond with each other, and other times, there are assemblies where you are told one thing in the drawings, and something different in the written instructions.
I am not ranting. I had a blast building this. I am only warning anyone who does go looking for the plans. please do not get mad at me if you buy the plans and run into similar issues. I’ve had this problem before with another project. If you wish to contact me, I am happy to help solve any issues you have, but I will not help if you get an attitude towards me. I have warned you of the problems beforehand.

All that being said, this thing is a lot of fun to build, and to play with. It holds twenty six marble in the storage unit up top. It has a start button that releases the first marble that leaves the unit either left or right. Once that marble reaches bottom, it actuates a system that automatically releases the next marble that will take the alternating path. This marble will, in turn, release the next, and it’ll keep going until all the marbles reach bottom. The plans say six minutes, but timing mine, it took five minutes and eighteen seconds from the time the start button was pushed until the last of twenty six marbles completed it’s run.

The plans give you all measurements to be cut out of standard size plywood. As some of you know, I absolutely hate plywood and will not use it if at all possible. I used solid wood. The boxes, and some of the braces and such, are cottonwood. The marble runs and assemblies are sapelle. The bases and feet are sycomore.
Also, I changed some things on the plans, not because of issues with the plans, but because of my personal preferences. For example, the plans give you instructions on how to make a jig to glue up the ramps and tracks out of three seperate pieces. Instead, I cut all these parts out of solid stock using a different sort of jig I threw together my self for the table saw.

So, I don’t know what else to say about it. I’m glad to answer any questions.
Before asking though, watch the video:
<iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/cCssIBUAW6U” frameborder=”0” height=”315” width=”420”></iframe>

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/





35 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4154 posts in 1575 days


#1 posted 02-04-2013 10:26 PM

William that is amazing, I can see the fascination
A lot of work and I prefer the solid wood to plywood
A great fun project

Jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View boxcarmarty's profile

boxcarmarty

9698 posts in 1079 days


#2 posted 02-04-2013 10:26 PM

When can we expect to see William Day roller coasters at the theme parks???

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1709 posts in 1146 days


#3 posted 02-04-2013 10:30 PM

William, that is so cool. The noise from the spiral stair is the best. I am sure the metering mechanisim was hard to get just right.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7148 posts in 2022 days


#4 posted 02-04-2013 10:40 PM

well that is just the cats meow, how cool is that, your right its loaded, i dont know if i could get any work done with that here…lol…i had a few ideas, one is it would be cool if you could have some lights that get activated at certain spots by the marble, and two , if there was a bell when the marble goes into that tube, when it flips up it does dong…lol…your amazing william..is this your also with the others you have done…and do you charge your kids to use them..lol…....this is really cool….congrats on another marble entertainer…..grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14082 posts in 1394 days


#5 posted 02-04-2013 10:50 PM

Another fine WDAMM!!! That’s William Day Amazing Marble Machine!!!

You just may win a “Rube Goldberg” award (for the machine) & an Emmy for best Docu-Torial!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View luv2learn's profile

luv2learn

1803 posts in 1022 days


#6 posted 02-04-2013 10:53 PM

How cool is that ? Way to go William another fun masterpiece.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View William's profile

William

9209 posts in 1561 days


#7 posted 02-04-2013 10:54 PM

Thank ya’ll.

Jamie, I get a lot of plywood from different people sometimes for free. I take it and use it for shop fixtures and jigs. other than that, I avoid it like the plague.

Marty, if they’d let me, I bet I could design one that only the craziest coaster nuts would ride.

ExElectrician, I like the spiral staircase noise too. I started to make a smoother stair case instead of the ones in the plans. After looking a little closer though, I thought about the sound the marble would make on these and decided to do it like the plans said. I’m glad I did.

Grizz, I can think of all kinds of things to do with all the machines I’ve built this far. As a matter of fact, this is turning into an obsession. This is my third machine. I have close to fifty pages of sketches and ideas I’ve been wirting down though. I am going to, one day, make one of my own design.
And the kids can’t play with them. These are my toys. I am thinking about building Mattius Wandell’s modular marble machine for them this coming Christmas.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View William's profile

William

9209 posts in 1561 days


#8 posted 02-04-2013 11:03 PM

Thank you Randy. I don’t know if I deserve any awards, but I do enjoy building these.

L2L, thank you.

Hey ya’ll. I’ll tell you how much patience these take. I can’t believe noone noticed.
I lost my marble at 1:15 in the video. Instead of editing it out, I thought it would make a good joke.
Also, in case noone caught it.
One day, a few days ago, I had most of this put together. I was busy fine tuning everything when I had to disassemble it. When I put it all back together, I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out why it wasn’t working. As I was about to quit for the evening, I noticed the rod on the table that goes between the dump bucket at the bottom and the punger on the underside of the storage unit. For about half the day, I had been messing around trying to fix a machine that was missing a crusial part.

Someone asked earlier something about being hard to get everything just right. For that rod that runs from the bottom to the top, you cut it longer than it need to be. You trim a tiny bit off at a time until it’s close. Then you assemble everything. If it doesn’t work, disassemble and use a piece of sandpaper to remove the tinyest of material from one end. Reassemble. Does it work? No? Disassemble and sand a little more. You keep doing this until it works just right.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View tefinn's profile

tefinn

1217 posts in 1156 days


#9 posted 02-04-2013 11:59 PM

Wow! Another great one! As soon as I take care of my to do list I have to make some of these!

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View William's profile

William

9209 posts in 1561 days


#10 posted 02-05-2013 12:22 AM

They are a ton of fun to make tefinn.

If you want my suggestion on which one to make though, it would be the second one I built. It was the one designed by Matthius Wandell. While I had a lot of fun building this one, and it is personally my favorite, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who has not built at least one or two marble machines.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View JL7's profile

JL7

7397 posts in 1684 days


#11 posted 02-05-2013 12:35 AM

Another cool toy for sure – nicely executed. I’ve always been a fan of marble moving things, I suppose most people are. I got a Pachinko machine when I was a kid (still have it), one of the the original Japanese units and had to tear it apart just to see how it all works…...it’s built into the wall of my shop now…....but covered by stacks of wood,,,,,so that’s another problem.

Have you found the next plan yet to build…...I bet you have…....

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11346 posts in 1409 days


#12 posted 02-05-2013 01:53 AM

William, That is just an amazing accomplishment! The video was very entertaining. You must have the patience of God to tweak this so that it works this perfectly. Keep posting all your cool creations. And the videos are all definately worth a second look. Thanks for brightening my day.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View William's profile

William

9209 posts in 1561 days


#13 posted 02-05-2013 02:02 AM

Thank you both. I am glad ya’ll like it.

To answer your question Jeff, I purposely do NOT have a project planned for the immediate future. I have a few things I need to take care of (personal, not shop related), and also want to get some time to get better aquainted with my new lathes before I plan on a new detailed and time consuming project.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 865 days


#14 posted 02-05-2013 02:09 AM

Very cool marble machine, William! Looks like a lot of fun to build and play with.

View Dave's profile

Dave

11193 posts in 1559 days


#15 posted 02-05-2013 02:13 AM

I could watch that over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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