14 Mar 2023

Oh, Friction

I've been thinking of a new part for my marble run machine. I got an idea last night and explained it to my husband, Juno. He said it wouldn't work well due to friction.
Friction! Oh, no! I had forgotten about friction.
It might be alright if I make it with metal, but I want to make it with wood.
Friction is always a pain in the neck. The frictional force will be changed depending on the wood.

Recently, Juno made a loop for the marble run for me. This part was what I didn't think I could make. Until we set the loop onto the board of the marble run, we were unsure how far the balls would fly because of the friction. If there was no friction, how much easier to think of the design?

The idea of the new part is my favourite, and I want to keep it. When I got the idea of the Flower Automaton, I didn't think I could make it, but I could. It's too early to give it up.

If you haven't read the blog post about the flower automaton, please visit the page below.

I hope to be able to write about the new part here.

8 Mar 2023

Should I Buy A 3D Printer or Not

Making automata is one of my dreams. The other dreams are making marble run machines and making something related to these things for sale.
The most difficult one is making products for sale. I must have to make uniform and, of course, good quality. I also need a place to make them. There is a woodworking place, but it is for our family business and is almost occupied daily.

Therefore, I once considered buying a 3D Printer. It is a lot cheaper than it used to be. It could be placed in the study.

However, I have read that it is strongly recommended to open windows when you use a 3D Printer because it is bad for your health. There are some different types of 3D Printers. I forgot which one, but some of them cause respiratory system disorders by materials.
Hmm, I do not feel like using it in my study room.

There is another hurdle that I must clear, learning how to use the 3D Printer. You know, it takes work to learn something new. I wonder if I could make time for it.

Since I have read the articles about 3D Printers and considered a lot, I could not decide whether I should buy one or not as time passed.
Every time I see someone's creation with a 3D Printer, I cannot help thinking if I had one, I could have made something.

I am still deciding whether I will buy a 3D Printer.
If I did not buy it, would I regret it?

28 Feb 2023

Rob Ives's Paper Crafts

There are so many creative people in the world. I found some of them through Twitter. One of my favourites is Rob Ives's creations. He's famous for paper crafts.
He occasionally updated his new paper craft on Twitter. It's a paper-made automaton. I saw a pretty rabbit rotating a wire handle yesterday; it's called "CRANK RABBIT." The structure of "CRANK RABBIT" is simple, yet I cannot help watching it.

He usually uses paper, wine corks and wire that anyone can get easily. This is what I admire about his work. He can think of unique designs and make them happen using ordinary materials. Not everyone can do it. It's like cooking something extraordinary with very ordinary groceries that can be served at a five-star restaurant. It wouldn't surprise you to see a treat cooked with expensive groceries.  What I have learned from him was the importance of ideas and how to show them.

I'm making a marble run machine. Luckily, I have some ideas for it, but I think I should consider more before making each part. Everyone has different tastes, so it's impossible to make everybody enjoy it, yet I would like to make a marble run machine that everyone cannot help but watch.


Here is the link to Rob Ives's website and Twitter.
If you are interested in linkage, you would love them.


21 Feb 2023

My Challenge to Make a Marble Run Machine - A Looped Rail

In the previous blog post, I've written I want to make my marble run machine like an amusement park. You can imagine an atmosphere with attractions that cause dizzy feelings or going up and down, can't you? Unexpectedly, I got one part that was exactly an amusement type for my marble run machine yesterday. It was a looped, single-turn rail.

You probably have seen a rail that is looped on a roller coaster. My husband made it exactly like that.

Once, the idea of a looped rail popped into my mind, but I didn't think I could make it and abandoned it.
However, my husband did it!

He spent lots of effort. 



To begin with, he glued several small pieces of timber. There were two reasons he glued them.

One was making the timber firm. 

The other one was to prevent jagged edges. If you have experience cutting timber, you may know the direction of the grain is important to make sure.
If you cut timber the wrong way, you get chipped grain, and the edge of the timber would be jagged. Avoiding the jagged edges, he had to glue timbers in various directions because the shape he was going to make was a circle.










He used a rounded T-groove bit. As it's called, the head is T-shaped so that it can cut even the deepest parts that the usual bit cannot. This was very useful because the rail needed fences on both sides.

Before cutting the timber, he edited the G-cord. When it started cutting, he was careful to cut only the part he needed. As you can see in the picture, if the bit moves straight right up, it hits the timber. He turned the timber over, cut the other side, and then turned it over again. He repeated this process several times.

After spending lots of effort and time, here it is, a looped rail.
It looks like a rail in an amusement park's roller coaster, doesn't it?

I haven't decided yet where this goes. I must make rails to connect to this looped rail too. Next time when I update this blog, hopefully, I could finish setting this looped rail.

It was the day my dream got one step closer to making my marble run machine like an amusement park.
Thanks, Juno!


18 Feb 2023

My Challenge to Make a Marble Run Machine - Shishi Odoshi

I've completed making a part of Shish Odoshi on my marble run machine.
Shishi Odoshi is a type of water feature that makes a sound in a traditional Japanese garden. Initially, it was created to keep deer or wild boars away from Japanese gardens and avoid damage. Now it's a garden decoration.

When I decided to make a marble run machine, I'd been looking for ideas that could be used. One day when I was watching YouTube's top page, I saw a video of Shishi Odoshi. Then I thought I could arrange it and use it on my machine.

It's better to show you a video than describing it in my words. 
This is a Shishi Odoshi.

As you can see, it's made of bamboo. Water is poured into the bamboo with the ends cut at an angle. When the bamboo is filled with water, it gets heavy and declines and releases the water inside; then, it returns to the first position. When it returns, it hits the rock underneath and makes a sound. I wonder if the sound effectively kept animals away, but at least people love the sound.

Let's go back to the marble run machine.
I had a strong impression of Shishi Odoshi, shaped like a cylinder, because the originals are made from bamboo. Therefore, I drilled inside a rounded timber. However, the cylinder can contain only four or five balls inside.
Why didn't I notice it before I drilled it?
It wasn't enough. Seeing many balls rolling out of the Shishi Odoshi would be more fun and dynamic. I decided to make a box instead of being restricted to the original rounded shape.

Here is the box I made. The dark brown box on the right-hand side is the Shishi Odoshi. 
This box can contain 13 balls; when the 14th ball drops, it reclines and releases all the balls onto the rail underneath.

While making the Shishi Odoshi, I also had to make a long rail. 


This rail supplies balls. There is a hole at the end of the rail. Balls drop from the hole and go into the Shishi Odoshi. It's a simple structure, yet fun to look at.

Unfortunately, the rail sticks out too far, making it a little difficult to see the Shishi Odoshi.
I should have made the rail shorter.

Here is the video of my Shishi Odoshi moving.

This is a picture of the latest machine. There is still plenty of room on the above part.

I am still considering the rest of the design. I want to make the rest of the parts like amusement park attractions, kinetic and cheerful.

See you then.