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Servo Controlled Marble Maze

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This is version of the classic marble labyrinth, where the pan and tilt are controlled by hobby servos. With the servos, you can work the maze with an R/C controller or a PC etc.

We built this one to be used with TeleToyland, and you can try it out live at the TeleToyland Marble Maze, and a second bigger one, the TeleToyland Marble Maze 2.

To make setting up and changing the maze easy, we used a Lego plate and bricks.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
P1000132.JPG
The materials for this one are pretty easy - should all be available at your local home store (except the servos).

Metal - for the following, we used about 5 feet of each:
1" wide x 1/8" thick aluminum bar for the X axis
1 1/2" wide 1/8" thick aluminum bar for the Y axis
1 1/2" wide by 1/16" Aluminum angle

Wood
1x4 pine for the base - need about 34"

Hardware
#6 nuts/bolts - a few lengths, a couple 1" ones, and the rest 3/4 and 0.5 inches long
#6 washers and #6 split lock washers

Servos
We used Hitec HS-625MG servos. Even though the mechanism is well balanced, standard hobby servos tended to jitter a bit. Note that for TeleToyland, we also turn the servos off when they are not moving.
rclotea1 year ago
Would buying servos from the hobby shop be already programmed to use a mouse of some sort?
CarlS (author)  rclotea1 year ago
Hobby servos use pulse width modulation for control - a standard created by the R/C industry long ago. There are a lot of web pages on how that works, so I won't repeat it here. So, for robotics etc., we use separate electronics to connect the controlling device to the servos. Since hobby servos are so popular, there are a lot of ways to do this. If you search the web for something like "mouse servo control", you will find some examples.

Good luck!
This is an awesome adaptation of a great classic toy.

I'm curious how difficult it would be to fully automate it. If the base (that the marble rolls around on) was grounded metal, connectors could be placed on the walls of the corners (2 makeshift "switches" per corner). If you used a known layout of the maze, would it be feasible to have an arduino solve it (by changing the slope based on the switches closed)?
CarlS (author)  huck alexander1 year ago
Thanks!

Since this one has no holes, it would be fairly easy to solve it with an Arduino. You'd want to know the starting position, or with one sensor switch it may be possible to have a series of moves that guarantees it will get to one location. For TeleToyland, I removed extra maze pieces that were not needed to catch the ball to make it seem less obvious from looking at it, but adding those back may make the automatic solution easier. This one is web controlled, but it's just two servos, so an Arduino can easily manage that.

FYI, RoboRealm did a solution using vision, and demoed that at the MakerFaire a few years ago: http://www.roborealm.com/tutorial/Marble_Maze/slide010.php

dpcollins4 years ago
I did a project just like this, only more elaborate. My setup also included a microcontroller, wiimote nun-chuck, and tilt-angle indicating LEDs. You can see a video of mine in action here:

plz send instructions
yours is insane and nice idea to have interchangable layouts! But a problem i see in video of yours is that its not sensitive enough and i seen some parts where you slowly and slighty tilt the controller and it would give alittle jerk.
akithecool4 years ago
hey can we use  electromagnets.............
for making this.....
just went on the website, what about a live action camera and controlling the movement with the arrow keys. I don't know programming, so i don't know how easy/hard this would be, but it would definitely improve the playability of it. that said, it is still amazingly cool and better than anything i could ever do! :D
E-R-IC4 years ago
great instructable, i love the idea. but just saying, i believe it is called a labrynth
yup it is... i used to own one
CarlS (author)  slimguy3794 years ago
Thanks - we updated the description.
Awesome, but in my opinion, the best bit is the website and live control of it! It's awesome! Well done.
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