Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 14, 2007

Marble Machine

at 5:06 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, Insane Equipment

This marble machine that Matthias made is a great example of a nice complex wood working project. I love the hard drive platter that is used as a bell. 🙂

“I started experimenting by cutting a circular piece of plywood, and drilling 4 holes into it at a slight angle. This I temporarily jigged up with some blocks of wood, and started turning it to see how well it would pick up marbles. The whole thing turned out to work very well.

The wheel I had cut only had a 25 cm diameter, which would not provide enough head (elevation change) to allow the marbles to do much on the way back down. Rather than make a much bigger wheel, I figured I should use a second wheel to elevate the marbles even further. This would be more visually appealing than one big wheel. The challenge with two wheels was how to somehow couple their rotation together.

At first I wanted to just cut a groove in the circumference of the wheels and use an O-ring style belt to drive them both, but I couldn’t figure out where to find that kind of belt. The next idea was to just cut gear teeth into the wheels. This is a lot of work, but more visually appealing than a belt. Visual appeal is very important, as the marble machine, after all, has no real purpose. If its not fun to look at, its no fun at all.”


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19 Responses to “Marble Machine”

  1. liesofxiii Says:

    I’d liek to see a rube goldburg device with the same level of precision as that

  2. Kevin Says:

    So this is cool. Wood makes everything cooler. Like wooden case mods. or wooden floors. or wooden Shoes… well almost every thing.

  3. wuh Says:

    Incredible!!! But, unfortunately, a waste of time…

  4. Hexypoo Says:

    Yah, I would have to agree with wuh. Amazing though still.

  5. Shadyman Says:

    AHAHAHAHA! I love it!

  6. Brent Says:

    Nothing is a waste of time if you enjoy making it. I think that is pretty cool and I know my daughter would love to play with something like then when she gets a bit older.

  7. Paul Says:

    @liesofxiii: yea, thatd be sweet

    @Brent: i agree

  8. Clark Hummell Says:

    Wow, it’d wicked awesome if it made the marbles! ^_^

  9. MAKE: Blog Says:

    The Marble machine 2

    Matthias writes – I hadn’t actually planned on building a second marble machine, but in March 2000 I had an idea for building a better marble elevating device, plus I had enough time on my hand to actually build…

  10. LGM Says:

    Why is it a waste of time? Does art need to be justified by the measure of how much time and resources that it took? How the spirit of an exercise if it entertains either the creator or his audience be considered a waste of time?

  11. steve Says:

    Wow, that is some work of art there. The wood work is amazing, he paid alot of attention to detail. He could probably make these and sell them for huge amounts of money, cause i’d buy one.

  12. matthias wandel Says:

    Has anybody noticed that this website is mostly trying to live off other’s content?

    I mean, if you want to show off somebody’s work, LINK to the site, don’t copy two thirds of it.

    Copying this much can hardly be considered fair use.

  13. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Matthias,

    I am sorry that you felt a disservice from the Hacked Gadget post of your project. As per our email correspondence I have removed the video of your project. Please note that there is a link directly to your site (it has always been there).

    Keep up the great work on your projects!

    Have a great day,

    Alan Parekh

  14. steve Says:


    this is a blog, they find things that are interesting/cool, and post about them, usually that entails posting some pictures and content from the original site. Right at the begining of the post there was a link to the original site where the story came from, and if someone sent them a link in an email about it, there is usually a little nod to them at the end of the post.

    That’s how blogs work…

  15. Roe Says:

    I love it but where’s the video?

  16. ryan Says:

    pretty coool, i likey!!!!

  17. srt Says:

    What’s The Purpose of life ?

    Here you will get the answer :










  18. Larry Says:

    In college we were required o make a Rube Goldberg device that would run on its own. Mine was 4’x2’x7′ tall, did 35 actions, delivered a cold soda over ice and cost a quarter. Many of the machines that were made were just as accurate as this marble machine and some were repeatable on their own. In other words they would run indefinitely if left alone and the batteries stayed up.
    I love these marble machines. They are never a waste of time if enjoyment is found in them. The joy is found in the crteation and in the operation. We must find enoyment wherever we can.

  19. cleveland granite Says:

    That is pretty cool. How many hours of design and assembly went into that?

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