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Marble Machines

As i’ve been working on my animatronic head, i’ve been realizing that i’d like a project that is more mechanical and simpler, less like the software i do for my job… which is when i came across marble machines. There are several current ones that anyone interested in the genre should know about.

Existing

The first is Matthias Wandel’s machines and blog. He’s got some great work! There is software for designing involute gears, and has documented several marble machines including the details.

One in particular is Ronald Walter’s, with an ingenious lift mechanism. There is also a very simple lift by RPKnikker.

There is a group in Japan that has been making several marble machines, one of which is a quad marble machine. They have several interesting parts: the latches with reset to split the balls initially, componentized design, and one of the components has a latch for one marble that allows later ones to roll over it, then get reset.

There is an interesting multiple AND gate. Knikkerbaan has some notes on making various parts of a marble machine.

Of course, no current marble machine list would be complete without mentioning Wintergatan’s Marble Machine X.

Upcoming designs

I’ve been floating some sketches around that mixes some of these ideas with Arduino… Stay tuned for a couple of upcoming projects.

Posted in Make, Robotics.

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