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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Marble Machine Goes Modular - Track Blocks - Part 1

I've decided to break the track blocks into parts in addition to the separate parts of the project as a whole because the track blocks will cover multiple days of work.
Before I start with that though, I also need to show the rest of the riser blocks. I did not see a need to make another post about them because it was only more of the basic same process as making the first part of them.
On the right side in this photo is the rest of the riser blocks. I finished these yesterday but wasn't up to posting last night. All these blocks are long narrow blocks that will be used to tie everything together as you build up the marble tracks.
I decided to show this photo of all the riser blocks laid out on the table to show better the amount of blocks that go into this. These are just the risers. Today it was time to start on the actual track blocks that the marbles will ride on.
I'm starting on the straight track blocks. These start are just square blocks of wood in two different lengths. The underside of all the track blocks get the same grid measured holes to lock in with the riser blocks. I showed in previous posts how this works.
The four blocks you see in the lower left corner are the only ones with holes through them. These also have three millimeter cutouts on the bottom of them on the end with the holes. This provides clearance for marbles if the track is built to have them fall on close tracks below them.
Each of these blocks, in both lengths, get the same six degree taper cut on them. This provides the downward slope for gravity to take over and move the marbles.
Then I used a router to cut the length of the slots in the pieces. Next, I used a router bit in the drill press to mill out the exits on some pieces. Each piece is tested multiple times. If there are any problems they are fine tuned using a dremil drill with a sanding drum on it and lightly shaping the pieces until things work smoothly.
Here I have restacked all the riser blocks on the right side and started the stacks of track blocks on the left. As I go, the stacks keep growing. 

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