Marble Machine 2

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Project by Don Johnson posted 07-07-2011 01:43 PM 6746 views 10 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Marble Machine 2
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This is another of Matthias Wandel’s super designs – but a bit more light-hearted than his joinery jigs, gear making programs, etc.

I made mine from plywood, pine and maple, with some oak of a suitable size for the bowl (which is the only part that requires the use of a lathe – gears are cut on a bandsaw).

I really enjoyed the build, and I have to say that Matthias’s plans, including still pictures, text, and videos with their clear and concise voice-overs, make construction very easy to follow. His Bigprint program also made creating exact life-size drawings of the components simplicity itself.

I used a coat of Danish Oil to finish.

There is a video of my version in operation at but there are better versions on YouTube posted by Matt, including:

I think my grandchildren are gonna love this . . . . .

-- Don, Somerset UK,

19 comments so far

View psh's profile


79 posts in 4079 days

#1 posted 07-07-2011 01:48 PM

Looks like great fun!

-- Peter, Central VA

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 4168 days

#2 posted 07-07-2011 02:27 PM

This is fun. Good work. Looks like another thing to put on my “To Do” list.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Gnagen's profile


27 posts in 3876 days

#3 posted 07-07-2011 02:56 PM

cool. Do you need a lathe to build one?


View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4279 days

#4 posted 07-07-2011 04:14 PM

Man that looks like a fun project. Very cool.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Richard's profile


297 posts in 3621 days

#5 posted 07-07-2011 04:18 PM

Great! I love this things!

-- 'I sand, therefore, I am'. Richard. PNW.

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 4027 days

#6 posted 07-07-2011 05:24 PM

Great project Don.
I am a collector of MattiasĀ“ plans too. And this machine looks and sounds terrific.

-- Back home. Fernando

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4803 days

#7 posted 07-07-2011 08:20 PM

I love it, lots of fun.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View branch's profile


1142 posts in 4238 days

#8 posted 07-07-2011 08:43 PM

hi that looks like a fun project great construction how long did it take you to complete it
i really really like it branch

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

738 posts in 3864 days

#9 posted 07-07-2011 11:38 PM

branch: For once I DID keep a note of hours spent – albeit not TOO accurately!

I estimate about 80 hours actually in the workshop, but quite a bit of that time would have been saved if I had the correct thickness plywood for the big gears – mine was about 1.5 mm undersize which meant that the marbles were very close to the surface. Also, a decent Forstner bit to cut the holes would have given cleaner recesses. I used one from a cheap set which has cutters that appear to be made out of cheese!

Gnagen: I added a note to the main text about the need for a lathe

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View Hix's profile


161 posts in 4362 days

#10 posted 07-08-2011 02:59 AM

Looks like it was fun to design, build and play with.

-- ---call me---- Mark

View marter1229's profile


437 posts in 4594 days

#11 posted 07-08-2011 03:03 AM

Thank you for posting that video link.

You did a great job on that Marble Machine.

-- It's all fun, Terry******N. Idaho

View mdmccat's profile


19 posts in 3769 days

#12 posted 07-08-2011 04:23 AM

Nice job… How long did it take you? I’m thinking about making this someday. I will for sure purchase the plans.

View mdmccat's profile


19 posts in 3769 days

#13 posted 07-08-2011 04:24 AM

Sorry I just read the rest of the comments… Nevermind on the time as you already answered… Nice work!

View Jeffery Mullen's profile

Jeffery Mullen

355 posts in 3901 days

#14 posted 07-08-2011 09:57 AM

Great work , it looks fun to play with and watch in action.

-- Jeffery Mullen

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20871 posts in 4759 days

#15 posted 07-09-2011 03:06 AM

Nice!! On my list, if I ever get to it ;-)

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

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

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