Marble Chooses Its Own Path

[Snille]’s motto is “If you can’t find it, make it and share it!” and we could not agree more. We wager that you won’t find his Roball sculpture on any shopping websites, so it follows that he made, and subsequently shared his dream. The sculpture has an undeniable elegance with black brackets holding brass rails all on top of a wooden platform painted white. He estimates this project took four-hundred hours to design and build and that is easy to believe.

Our first assumption was that there must be an Arduino reading the little red button which starts a sequence. A 3D-printed robot arm grasps a cat’s eye marble and randomly places it on a starting point where it invariably rolls to its ending point. The brains are actually a Pololu Mini Maestro 12-channel servo controller. The hack is using a non-uniform marble and an analog sensor at the pickup position to randomly select the next track.

If meticulously bending brass is your idea of a good time, he also has a video of a lengthier sculpture with less automation, but it’s bent brass porn. If marbles are more your speed, you know we love [Wintergatan] and his Incredible Marble Music Machine. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can eat it.

16 thoughts on “Marble Chooses Its Own Path

    1. Thank you! I designed the whole thing in SketchUp Make so you “can” ride the track. But you have to do it manually in that case. It will not bee a “smooth” ride. ???? The brass rails are manually bent to precision. I just takes time. ????

  1. I do like this sort of thing, and this is a piece certainly not to be poo-pooed, but I like “gravitrams” better… there are multiple tracks with multiple balls and the first ball can determine what happens to the second (and so on) by traversing what can best be described as mechanical logic gates.

    The gravitram at Questcon in Canberra (Australia) is a very impressive machine! I’ve sat and watched it do it’s thing for as long as I was allowed to by the wife (she looked at everything else and then got bored while I did nothing but watch this machine).

  2. Love it! I had the “Space Warp” toy as a kid and used to spend days on end building marble rollercoasters… This got me thinking and I see good ol Ali-x has knock off versions for sale… highly entertaining for the creative mind and a bit of fun learning about physics too….

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