This track is built mostly from wood and uses 1-inch glass marbles. There are two lifting devices used to bring the marbles to the top of the track and keep them moving around the room. The lifting devices are run with battery packs with AA batteries and small DC gear motors.
This Instructable is meant to give someone the general ideas for building this type of marble run, but will not go into the detail to build this exact layout.
I built this for my youngest son and it runs around his bedroom. I love building fun things like this for my kids and seeing their excitement as everything comes together.
Step 1: Tools and Materials You May Need
The materials and tools you need depends on the type of track you decide to build.
The marbles for this project were purchased from MegaGlass. They are 25mm diameter (about 1-inch) in diameter and were purchased in a bulk bag of 125 count. The price was around $40 at the time of purchase.
Link to marble supplier MegaGlass.com.
The gear motors I used were purchased cheaply off Ebay. I was able to get 4 motors for $18.00. I only used two of the motors for the project.
All of the wood I used for the project was material I already had on hand. If I had to estimate, I would say the cost of the wood materials was around $70.
The battery packs that both marble lifters use were purchased at Radio Shack for $2.50 each.
Both lifting devices use several 1/4-inch inner diameter x 5/8-inch outer diameter bearings. These were purchased on Ebay for $10.00.
All wood pieces were finished with MinWax water based Polycrylic in a clear satin finish. This stuff dries amazingly fast if you haven't used it before. Most of the track parts were spray finished. The spray makes it much easier to apply a finish to the odd shaped pieces.
A quart of this in a can cost me $16.57.
I used 4 cans of spray for about $9.00 per can.
The screws used to attached all of the pieces to the walls were #8 by 2-1/2 inch long. They were purchased at a local home improvement store for $3.50 for the bag.
The spring clamps used to clamp the track pieces were also purchased at a local home improvement store for about $30.
The tools I used on the project were as follows:
- table saw
- band saw
- oscillating spindle and belt sander
- drill press
- cordless drill
- sanding block
- stud finder
- screwdrivers and wrenches
NOTE: If you plan on using any tool for a project please make sure you are familiar with the tool and all of the dangers associated with it. If you are not familiar with a tool then you should ask someone who is to show you the proper way to use it. A lot of communities have classes at local colleges on the proper use of tools and machinery. There are also local woodworking clubs that offer classes at very reasonable rates for beginners. I highly recommend using these resources for your safety and for the most efficient use of the tool.