I have wanted to do a marble machine for as long as I could remember. I finally got the opportunity, and let me tell you, it has been a fun project. As a matter of fact, I've already ordered the plans for two more different marble machines. One day, after learning more from these built from plans, I hope to design and build one unique to me.
For my first marble machine, it is one called a Marble Chest. The plans come from Forest Street Designs and can be purchased here
It is called a chest for obvious reasons. When closed, it resembles a chest. It can be picked up and carried off just like a chest.
One of the most interesting parts of this to me is rarely seen by anyone else, because they don't notice it. This is the view from down low with the lid closed. Notice how tightly everything fits where the lid comes down and meets the body of the chest. This was one of the most difficult aspect of this particular machine, getting everything working, while still being able to fold down into itself.
When the lid is opened, you are ready to play.
On the underside of the lid is an entrapment mechanism that releases one marble at a time. It is ingenious how this was designs. When one marble falls onto the second chute, the weight of it brings it down. This raises the lever sticking up on the left side, allowing one marble to enter between the two levers. When the marble drops off that chute, the couterweighted chute raises back up, and raises the lever on the right, releasing that marble to go down and fall into the second chute, starting the process all over again.
After leaving the entrapment mechanism, the marbles go through four different vertical diverting switches, and one horizontal diverting switch. This separates the marbles to go into the different contraptions.
Towards the end of this post will be a video. It is broken up to show the different contraptions instead of showing it all at once. The reason for that is that it is difficult to show everything on a video. There is just so much going on at one time when you release a bunch of marbles one after the other.
Inside the chest though, there is a clacker run that empties into a wheel and spiral, a seal drop that has to be seen, a xylophone, a parking ramp, a curvy design that is called Lombardy Street, and a spring board that launches marbles through a hoop held by a seal and into an enclosure where it hits some bells.
As I said, a lot goes on at one time.
So, I guess the best way to do this is just to show you the rest of the photos, which are showing what it looks like on all sides, and then the video.
And for the video, I want to apologize. I do woodwork a lot better than I take pictures and shoot video. I done the best I could to show the machine though. I hope you enjoy it.