Halo - a Mechanical Marble Machine

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Project by Derek Hugger posted 03-23-2021 01:48 AM 1446 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is Halo, a fully mechanical, spring-powered, dual track, eddy current limited, wooden marble machine. To get it started, just wind it up. A hidden lever pops out from the large drum at the bottom of the sculpture to give you plenty of winding leverage. A ratchet and one-way pawl keeps the sculpture from back-driving while you wind it. To keep the spring from unwinding too quickly, an array of magnets spins in close proximity to an aluminum disc. This induces eddy currents, loops of electric current that generate their own magnetic fields, fields which oppose the fields of the magnets moving through them. Essentially, this acts as a silent, self-regulating magnetic brake. The faster the spring tries to make the magnets spin, the more resistive force they encounter. Essentially, this mechanism keeps the lift ring moving slowly and at a near-constant speed. Marbles are picked up from the base of the sculpture and travel up with the ring to the top, where they are dropped onto a switch that determines which track each marble will venture down. The marbles move in and out, and up and down as they make their journey down the tracks.

To see Halo in action, you can see a video on YouTube here:

If you’d like to build your own, plans are available on my website:

I’d love to know what you think of it.


7 comments so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10394 posts in 3650 days

#1 posted 03-23-2021 02:43 AM

Interesting and creative project.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

845 posts in 5149 days

#2 posted 03-23-2021 12:23 PM

Very cool.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View Douglas!'s profile


37 posts in 272 days

#3 posted 03-23-2021 06:49 PM

Holy H*ck that is cool looking

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22379 posts in 4917 days

#4 posted 03-23-2021 11:25 PM

KOOL! DEfinitely an innovation in the marbler’s world ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View PaulDoug's profile


2623 posts in 2945 days

#5 posted 03-23-2021 11:50 PM

All you projects are amazing… I wish I had the talent to make some, but I can’t even get a relatively simple wooden gear clock running!.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Chris's profile


276 posts in 3135 days

#6 posted 03-25-2021 01:44 PM

Before I order the plans, what can I expect to pay for all the non wood parts?

-- Chris, Virginia

View Derek Hugger's profile

Derek Hugger

48 posts in 3199 days

#7 posted 03-25-2021 02:16 PM

Chris, take a look at the free sample plans at the bottom of the Halo webpage. They list out every piece of hardware needed, and they include McMaster, K&J, and Stock Drive part numbers for everything. You can look the parts up on their respective sites to get an exact number. I had most of the parts in hand when I started building, so unfortunately, I can’t give you a starting-from-scratch estimate off the top of my head.

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