Marblevator: a fully configurable marble run you can print yourself
This Thingiverse project from dedicated enthusiast gzumwalt has what it takes to give a 21st Century twist to an age-old favourite toy.
The Marblevator (marble elevator) is at the heart of it all, endlessly stepping little balls up until they meet with the whims of gravity. Additional track segments easily snap together and clever height-adjustable tressels combine to allow you to build with complete freedom, creating one of those mesmerising toys that you could happily lose yourself in for hours on end.
Click through to see more detail on the tressel mechanism, as well as a collection of video clips of those balls going round and round and round.
One of the great aspects of this design is that the outcomes are quite versatile. Experimentation and play will lead to tracks diverse tracks that send the ball on a wild ride, as gzumwalt explains:
“For example, you may start with a rapid descent and end by slowing the descent via increasing the tressel height at the end of your track before returning to the Marblevator. Gravity is relatively constant (for the time being), so experiment with tressel heights to obtain the best combination between track slope and track length. The tracks I’ve assembled run for days without a marble jumping the track.”
Now let’s see the Marblevator in action!
The only extra parts you’ll need are a small 6V DC motor with power supply, and a few ball bearings. While the original marble elevator calls for steel balls from a disassembled spraycan, you can of course use glass marbles or beads that are more safely attained. All the rest can be printed from the files and detailed instructions available on Thingiverse.