Marble Machine

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Blog entry by thiswoodshop posted 09-08-2011 08:18 AM 2421 reads 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I Stumbled on to this by chance, this is definitely a unique approach to woodworking. I love this.

Per the description On Site:

This is a Marble Machine (definition: A Do-Nothing or Rube Goldberg Type Machine)

This is intended to be an awkward, overly complicated mechanism for the sole purpose of entertainment and to make noise in the process. People seem to enjoy watching gears turn and marbles running around in circles making noise.

There are 16 gears hand-cut from ½” Baltic Birch plywood driven by an electric gear reduction motor.

My Comments:

I thought I’ll share this sine I found it fascinating to what can be achieved with wood. I have a new appreciation for the possibilities that is hiding with in the creative mind of a woodworker. Wood working is not just a skill that produces the furniture we enjoy to look at and use in our daily lives. The ancient craft that was perfected over centuries and enhanced with technology give you a way to express your ideas and concepts. Creativity should be the cornerstone of a industry and each woodworker creates a project in various woods for the purpose of making their work unique.

Fine craftsmanship and attention to detail in work is becoming a lost art that has deteriorated over time. The devotion to quality work, remarkable joinery and detail that makes fine woodworking what it is today seem to live on within every woodworker in some form or fashion.

If you look at all your historical place that has a need for some restoration, the detail and quality work that goes into the old woodworking marvels to preserve them for future generation to come is simply astonishing.

I still have a lot to learn and will away stay a student in the art of woodworking, I have a very simplistic motto i live by – if you only learn one new thing that will improve the way you do things, then you have had a productive day. In so many cases we will spent our hole day and say we are so busy and yet we have not achieve enlightenment.

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

5 comments so far

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

751 posts in 4277 days

#1 posted 09-08-2011 11:26 AM

A beautifully-made version of a marble machine.

I made one using Matthias Wandel’s plans ( ), but mine certainly was not produced to the high standard shown here. Some of the elements are similar, but at first I thought that the drive system was over-complicated. Then I realised that the ball-lifting wheels are solely supported by the planetary drive gears – so sophisticated and elegant.

My version requires a handle to be turned, but my grandchildren vie for the privilege!

I will use the phrase an awkward, overly complicated mechanism for the sole purpose of entertainment and to make noise in the process to answer those people who ask me: What’s it for ?

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27827 posts in 4602 days

#2 posted 09-08-2011 12:05 PM

Wow. That would keep a little kid in amazement for hours with all that is going on. some people are sure creative!
Thanks for sharing…....That is really neat!!...........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View thiswoodshop's profile


141 posts in 4053 days

#3 posted 09-08-2011 03:47 PM

I saw Matthias Wandel stuff, he is a pretty amassing designer. I’m going to use his plans also to try and reproduce on of these for my son.

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24948 posts in 5173 days

#4 posted 09-09-2011 05:27 AM

Thanks for the post. i love marble machines ;-)) I have never seen a ring gear lift before. I think I like it better than a marble pump.

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

View JaySybrandy's profile


78 posts in 3073 days

#5 posted 05-01-2014 07:39 AM

my dad just drawed a marble pump then I made cutting templates and will make tommrow xD

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