Marble machines roundup

[Denha's] been building marble machines for years and decided to look a back on some of his favorite marble-based builds  (translated). There’s a slew of them, as well as some thoughts about each. Our favorite part is the digital simulations of the projects. For instance, the image above shows a flip-flop marble machine that was built in a physics simulator. This makes it a lot easier to plan for the physical build as it will tell you exact dimensions before you cut your first piece of material. Both of these images were pulled from videos which can be seen after the break. But this isn’t the most hard-core of pre-build planning. SolidWorks, a CAD suite that is most often used to design 3D models for precision machining, has also been used to model the more intricate machines.

[via Make]


  1. isama says:

    fascinating! i’d add a piece of plexi on the front and a chain/belt and a motor on the back and hang it on the wall. could watch it for hours :)

  2. ZeroCool42 says:

    Just to say, I strongly recommend people visit the original article, this guy has made SO many marble machines.

    I watched a 10 minute video linked from Make the other day and thought I must have seen all of them, but another one on the site I came across today showed a 7 minute one with still more!

    @Mike: Personally I would have embedded one of the montage videos with 6+ machines in, but that’s just me!

  3. I’ve been a long time Denha viewer on Youtube. Subscribe for lots of cool synthesizer builds too. His creations are amazing!

  4. Joel says:

    Why couldn’t this be done in Legos? Even as I admire the woodwork, I suspect instant gratification and a wonderful teaching hook could be made using Legos.

  5. jim says:

    So relaxing to watch.

  6. Àlber says:

    That’s fascinating! I could stand there for hours watching the beads roll and the mechanisms working…

  7. n1elkyfan says:

    anybody got any Idea what he used for a simulation program for that flip flop?

  8. Amos says:

    I want to make some of these out of acrylic, flip ‘em upside down, fill ‘em with water, and replace the marbles with air bubbles. Now /that/ would be wall-hanging-worthy… or a great addition to an aquarium :D

  9. Max says:

    @Amos: add some LED’s, change the liquid with some type of clear alcohol, mount a tap at the bottom (possibly itself a source of bubbles), then sell the thing to Johnny Walker & co. or similar. And please don’t forget to send me my 5% – I’m not greedy… ;)

  10. ibedazzled says:

    its called phun. google it…

  11. D_ says:

    I like them. The only reason I couldn’t watch them for hours on end, is of the noise. While it’s rhythmic,it’s harsh.

  12. Sigg3 says:

    @n1elyfan & ibedazzled:
    “Algodoo is our new software and replacement for Phun. Phun was the open beta testing version of Algodoo and as such Phun is no longer promoted, developed or supported.”

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