22 Apr 2022

Stumbled at The First Hurdle - The Marble Run

I have been thinking of ideas for a marble run. I have decided on a theme and am going to make the themed marble run.

There are two essential conditions that I want to keep as much as possible. It must be fun to watch. Marble runs are toys, so this condition is key. I want to make the work enjoyable for both adults and children who see it. The second one is related to being particular about the design. It is not only about the marble run; I do not like to make the same things that other people make. I love original ideas. It is not a matter of copyright; I just do not like that.

However, it is arduous to think of novel ideas. Probably, geniuses can think of cutting-edge ideas, not me. So, I mean that I want to make something as new as possible.

Even for me, I could sometimes think of something supposed to be a new idea. In such a case, I watch YouTube videos, search the information about marble runs, and make sure that nobody has made my idea yet.

I have heard that even though you come up with a new idea, a hundred people in the world have got the same idea. It may be correct. It is hard to make things from a picture. I believe the most important thing is to create an idea to happen in reality. In other words, there are two hurdles to clear. Thinking of ideas and actually making them.

I have not yet jumped over the first hurdle. I am struggling with one of the parts of the marble run. I think if I could not think of any new ideas, I would give up and make a marble run that has ordinary types of parts.
Let me think and worry about what to do for another month or so.

12 Apr 2022

Making The Marble Run Machine - 1

I had been struggling with the idea of the marble run. As I have written in the blog on January 2022, I was planning to add an optical illusion. I still have not given up on the idea. However, before I started making the optical illusion, I thought I should decide on the design of the first part of the marble run. It is a lifting structure of the starting point of the marble run.
I wanted to make a giant marble run, which meant I needed to make a structure that could lift tiny balls efficiently from the bottom to the top of the marble run. There are several common types of systems to raise the balls; a rotating disk with holes, two staircases moving up and down, a rotating spiral rod, a method of moving a rod with weights and making a ball fly. I wanted to use a new idea, but what I thought of was not good enough to lift the balls from the lower place to the top. Therefore, I have decided to use a chain. I believe a chain is one of the most efficient and easiest methods to lift the ball.

Having said that, I have never made a chain and knew nothing about chains. Luckily, I have an excellent person to ask. Juno used to make racing bikes at work long ago, so he knows about chains. I drew some pictures of chains that I believed could work, and he advised me. I drew gears to carry the chain too. I made sure whether those chains and gears worked well. Here is the picture that I drew.

What I was afraid of the most of was the chain coming off the gears. With the advice of Juno, I drew one of two parts of the chains wider. The light-coloured rectangular part should not have to have that width, but it is made wider to be secured.

The most time-consuming part of making a chain is making each link. It is a lot of work to make them by hand. So, I made data using 3D software and read the data with CamBam CNC software. For this kind of job, the CNC router is a perfect machine.

Juno showed me several off-cuts. I have chosen two timbers; one is Silver Ash, and the other was not certain, but probably Utile or Queensland Maple. If there was no use for the off-cuts, I thought I could have cut those links as much as I could. Maybe I could make use of them. Then, what I got were so many links! I was going to make one chain, but eventually, I could make two chains.

These pictures below show connecting each link. I glued cut bamboo barbecue skewers with glue. This work was quite fun. Looking at the chain that is getting longer is pleasant. 

Here they are. These are the chains I have made this time. They seem to work well.

This was only just the beginning of making the marble run. I am going to design the next step. I will write about the work as it progresses.
See you next time!