In this Instructables we'll show you how to make our Gum-ball Machine. This machine was for a school project to learn how to use wood working as a method of technical structuring.
We are going to teach you how to put together a Gum-ball Machine step by step:
1. Constructing the piece of wood in which you'll be putting the machinery.
2. Making sure the machinery in the base works and is placed in the middle of the machine.
3. Using a Lasercutter (or just a regular tool for wood working; like saws), to cut out wooden plates, which later on you'll be sticking together to form a way to transport the marbles or gum balls to the base of the wooden block.
4. Buying the proper materials for the glass jar on top of the machine, and the gum balls that go inside.
5. Assembling all the different parts and making sure the Gum-ball Machine works.
6. Decorating the Gum-ball machine.
Step 1: Cutting Out the Base for the Machinery
Buy a wooden block, 40cm by 6cm by 6cm.
Draw a circle, accurately 5cm from the top of the wooden block. 2,8cm in diameter.
Draw a second circle, 8cm under the first circle. 1,6cm in diameter.
On top of the wooden block, precisely in the middle, draw a third circle exactly 1,6cm in diameter.
Use a drill to cut out the circles so the all the holes connect to each other, make sure you keep the precise measurements.
You will now have a wooden block with three holes, that are all connected. You'll have to sand down the holes and openings to smoothen everything.
Step 2: Making the Machinery
Buy a round wooden baton with a diameter of 2,8cm. Cut out a hole with a diameter of 1,6cm deep and wide at the end of the baton. The hole should be big enough for a marble or gum ball to fit in it. Cut the baton so it's about 20cm long.
Place the baton in the wooden block to make sure everything fits. The baton should stick out the front with about 12cm left, and about 2cm at the back of the block.
Now buy a round stick with a diameter of 1cm and cut it so it's about 5cm long.
Make a hole in the baton al the way through, in which the stick would fit (so about 1cm in diameter).
Put the stick through the hole until it's even on both sides of the baton, and nail it down.
Now you should be able to fit the baton in the wooden base, and you should be able to turn it around.
Step 3: Cutting Out Wooden Planks for the Marble Coaster
For this step, we had the privilege to use a Laser Cutter. This device uses a laser to precisely cut out wood, which you only have to give the directions for in a special computer program.
If you do have a Laser Cutter at your service, use the following steps:
1. Download the program: Inkscape.
2. Use this program to give measurements to the wooden planks: 5 planks with a length of 20cm, and a width of 5 cm. At one end of every plank, cut out a hole big enough for the gum ball to fit through.
3. Use the program again, to cut out the walls around the wooden planks, so the gum balls won't fall of the track. (20cm long and 2cm high at the sides). At the end of the wooden plank (where the hole is cut out), make another wall that's 3cm long and 2cm high.
4. Glue or nail all the different parts to the wooden planks.
If you don't have a Laser Cutter at your service, use the same measurements but cut them out yourself. You will have to smoothen the sides with sand paper though.
Step 4: Buying a Glass Jar and Gum Balls
Buy a glass jar that fits on top of the wooden block and keep the lid.
Make a hole in the lid to fit through a gum ball (with a diameter of 1,6cm). You'll have to do this with a drill.
Buy the gum balls (enough to fill the jar for about half). They have to be 1,6cm in diameter or less otherwise they won't fit through the machinery and the marble coaster.
Step 5: Assembling All the Different Parts
Now comes the tricky part. If any of the measurements are different, you won't be able to do this step so make sure you do everything as precise as possible.
1. Firstly, nail down the lid of the jar on top of the wooden block so the hole is exactly on top of the hole that you made in the block itself.
2. Then put the baton through the big hole at the top of the wooden block (which is connected to the hole on top of the block). Put nails through the sides of the baton to keep it in place. Try turning it 360 degrees to make sure it works smoothly.
3. Draw lines on the sides of the wooden block to indicate where the different marble coaster parts have to be nailed down. Nail them down.
4. Fill the jar with gum balls, and put the whole mechanism on top so they won't fall out. You should hear a gum ball drop into the machinery inside.
Step 6: Decorate the Machine to Your Own Likings
A few ideas on how to decorate the machine:
- Painting it
- Making it into an animal by putting eyes on it and giving it other animal aspects.
- Decorating the jar on top (for example putting a hat on it).