ROLLING BALL TRACK WITH BALL ELEVATOR

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Introduction: ROLLING BALL TRACK WITH BALL ELEVATOR

About: Love my hobbies

This Instructable was created from an accumulation of scrap/leftover materials used in previous projects and my latest Instructable: TODDLER STEP / MOTHER'S HELPER STOOL (One Board Contest - see picture).

Marble roller racetracks made from various materials have been around for many years. Most of them are hand fed marbles. That is, feed the marbles and watch them roll down the ramps. There had to be a better way!

What to do? By adding an electrical component, would make this project not portable. So I had to think up of a simple mechanical way to do the feeding.

Ergo, the mechanical "caged" arm. This arm would catch the ball at the bottom of the ramps and mechanically raise the ball to its starting (unloading) position at the top of the ramps. Bring it on!

And so the mechanical arm with its cage was created. Wooden balls also replaced marbles. All it takes is a child to operate the arm. (Adults can too!).

All of the pieces of wood dowels serve a function as well as decoration

This project was created using hand-tools, with the exception of an orbital sander, cordless drill and bits.

Enjoy the adventure. Be creative and modify as you wish.

Supplies

WALL and RACETRACKS:

Some of the Supplies used were leftover from a previous Instructable. (TODDLER STEP/MOTHER HELPER STOOL)

Plywood: A. 24" x 9" tapered to 4" (scrap) x 3/4" [Upright wall]

H. 12" x 2-1/4" tapered to 1/4" (scrap) x 3/4" [Bottom rail]

I. 12" x 6" x 3/4" [Base]

Screen Stock - Pine (1-5/8" x 1/2"):

B. 4" C, 3 - 1/2" D. 3 - 5/8"

E. 4 - 3/4" F. 5 - 1/4" G. 6 - 3/8"

Wood Dowel - Pine (5/16"):

B-1. B-2. B-3.

C-1. 3 - 1/2" D-1. 3 - 5/8" E-1. 4 - 3/4"

F-1. 5 - 1/4" G-1. 6 - 3/8"

Wood Dowel - Pine (3/16"):


BALL - CAGE:

Balsa Wood Plywood (1/4") 2" x 2 - 1/2" (2 pieces)

2-1/2" x 2-3/4" (1 piece)

Wood Dowel - Pine (3/16") 1-3/4" (5 pieces)

Wood Square PEG- Pine 3//4" x 3/4" x 1-1/2" (1 piece)

Wood Balls: 1- 3/16" - 1- 1/4" Wooden Spheres (can be painted)

TILT ARM:

Quarter Round - Pine 3/4" X 1/2" X 24" (1 piece)

MISCELLANEOUS: Leftover materials from previous Instructable

CA Glue for Wood - NOTE: Follow directions and warnings on container.

Wood filler

Polyurethane

Paint color: as per your preference

Screws: 1-1/4" and 1-1/2" x #8 wood cabinet screws

Misc. Screws, washers and nuts for Arm Pivot and Ball Cage Pivot

TOOLS:

SAFETY GLASSES, DUST MASK, RUBBER GLOVES

Tape-measure, pencil, rule, drawings

Carpenter's Square

Cordless Drill with various bits and # 8 countersink tapered drill bit

Orbital sander with assorted grit sanding discs (100,120, 150, 220)

Hand Saw - Disston: General purpose 8 point

Round File, Flat File (wood)

Clamps: various sizes

and a Penny . . . . yes! For good luck and best wishes.

All my Instructables will make use of a PENNY.

Step 1: Mark Wood Scraps and Cut the Components

MAIN BODY UPRIGHT WALL AND RACETRACKS:

Transfer the layout onto the plywood scrap "A" using CUT LAYOUT Figure 1. (Part H of project - lower rail)

Transfer the layout onto the plywood scrap "B" using CUT LAYOUT Figure 1. (Part A of project - upright)

Transfer the layout onto the plywood scrap "C" using CUT LAYOUT Figure 1. (Part I of project - base)

I used a hand saw to make the following cuts (straight).

a. Part H: cut off 12". The final piece has a 2 1/4" to 1/4" taper.

b. Part A: The scrap piece from the "one board contest" will be used as is.

c. Part I : This scrap piece is to be cut to 12" length.

d. Parts B - G: From an 8 foot piece of 1- 5/8" x 1/2" Screen Molding

e. Parts B-1 to G-1 From 3 foot piece of 5/16" wood dowel.

f. Various pieces of 3/16" wood dowel for retainers and decoration.

BALL - CAGE:

Transfer the layout onto the following materials using CUT LAYOUT Figure 2.

Balsa Wood Plywood (1/4") 2" x 2 - 1/2" (2 pieces) Part 1

2-1/2" x 2-3/4" (1 piece) Part 2

Wood Dowel - Pine (3/16") 1-3/4" (5 pieces) Part 3

Wood Square PEG- Pine 3//4" x 3/4" x 1-1/2" (1 piece) Part 4

Using a Handsaw, make the following straight cuts on materials as noted.

TILT ARM:

Transfer the layout onto the Quarter Round - Pine 3/4" X 1/2" X 24" (1 piece)

Using a handsaw, cut off the piece of quarter round.

AND AS ALWAYS , , , , , "MEASURE AND DRAW TWICE AND CUT ONCE"

Step 2: Assembly of Main Body and Racetracks

PLEASE READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS PRIOR TO STARTING THIS STEP OF THIS PROJECT.

NOTE: WEAR SAFETY GLASSES AT ALL TIMES

NOTE: When using CA wood glue for fastening, use in well ventilated area. Follow directions and warnings on bottle.

a. All attachment points (screws) should be pre-drilled using #8 countersink tapered drill bit.

b. Attach Part H (lower rail) and Part C (base) to Part A (upright) using 1-1/4" x # 8 cabinet screws. Use Figure 1 and pictures as guides.

c. Attach Parts L, M and N (sides) onto Part A (upright) using 1-1/4" x #8 cabinet screws. Use Figure 2 and pictures as guides.

d. Attach Racetrack Parts B, C, D, E, F, and G to Part A (upright) using 1uides.g-1/4" x #8cabinet screws. Use Figure 1 and pictures as guides.

e. Attach the 5/16" dowel to the top outer edges of the Racetrack sections. B-1,2,3, C-1, D-1, E-1, F-1, Use Figure 3 and pictures as guides.

i. Prior to attaching the dowel, sand a flat on its length. See pictures and Figure 3.

ii. Attach the flat side of the dowel using the CA wood glue. Clamp the dowel to the Racetrack section using spring clamps until glue dries (approx. 15 minutes).

Step 3: Assembly of Ball Cage and Arm Lever

PLEASE READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS PRIOR TO STARTING THIS STEP OF THE PROJECT.

NOTE: WEAR SAFETY EQUIPMENT AT ALL TIMES

NOTE: When using CA wood glue for fastening, use in well ventilated area. Follow directions and warnings on bottle.

a. Insert the five (5) 3/16" x 2" wood dowels (part 3) into the holes drilled into top and bottom (part 1). Figure 4 and pictures.

b. Attach the side (part 2) using CA wood glue as shown in figure 4 and pictures.

c. Attach the 3/4" x 3/4" x 1-1/2" wood block on top of cage using CA wood glue as shown in figure 4 and pictures.

d. Drill hole as marked on figure 4 for the pivot screw which will attach to the Arm Lever.

This completes assembly of the Ball Cage.

e. The Lever Arm is made from a scrap piece of 3/4" x 1/2" x 30" quarter round. I used this because this is a scrap contest. You can use any other scrap or new piece of flat stock (1/2" x 3/4" minimum).

f. Drill a hole as per figure 4 used as a pivot point to fasten the Ball cage.

g. Drill a hole as per figure 4 to be used as the pivot point for the Lever Arm.

h. Fasten the the Ball Cage assembly to one end of the Lever Arm per

h. Use screw and washers to fasten/attach Lever Arm & Ball Cage Assembly to the back side of the Upright Part A. (see photos)

The pivot point of the Lever Arm may have to be moved (relocated) so that the Ball Cage sits on the base, (Part C), to catch the ball then raise the cage and ball so that it dumps the ball at the top of the Rails (Part B).

Step 4: Finishing Touches

IN THIS STEP YOU WILL DISASSEMBLE THE PARTS, FINISH SANDING IF NEEDED,AND APPLY FINISH COATS OF POLYURETHANE OR PAINT (colors). BE CREATIVE!

a. Disassemble the project.

b. Finish sanding using 220 grit sanding discs

c. I decided to Polyurethane the Upright, Base and Part H (lowest track). 3 coats work great. Follow the directions on the container for best results.

d. I decided to paint the racetrack rail sections White and the dowel attached to them Red. See pictures.

e. I decided to paint the various 3/16" dowels an Aqua color. See pictures.

f. DO NOT FORGET TO FINISH THE WOODEN BALLS. They can be stained, painted or polyurethaned. I found that a spray type finish works best on the wood balls.

Step 5: FINAL ASSEMBLY

YEAH ! ! ! ALMOST DONE.

a. Reassemble all the pieces as per the diagrams supplied. Use pictures to assist in this assembly.

b. After re-assembly is completed, it's time try the Roller Ball Track with the Ball Elevator.

c. With the cage in the lowest position, place the ball into the cage.

d. Using the Lever, raise the cage to the top of the upright wall.

d. When the cage reaches the top, it tilts forward and allows the ball to roll onto the track/rail B and continues down to the bottom (Part H) and back into the cage. REPEAT AS OFTEN AS YOU WISH.

NOTE: If you find that that the wooden ball falls off the track, (it should not), as it ventures its way down, cut and creatively place a piece of 3/16" wooden dowel to solve the problem.

Step 6: Final Thoughts

There are always scraps left over from various projects. Do save them as they will and can be used to create new and enjoyable projects. Not to mention help the environment.

The "ROLLING BALL TRACK WITH BALL RETURN" will be used by my grandson and hopefully passed down to his children. This thought makes me happy.

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    12 Comments

    0
    1-big-dog
    1-big-dog

    3 months ago

    It would be cool to see a video of it in action.

    0
    JoeF
    JoeF

    Reply 3 months ago

    Please see video at the end of step 5. I hope you enjoy 😊 the video

    0
    colbertdestiny
    colbertdestiny

    Reply 3 months ago

    sooooooooooooo coooooooolllll

    0
    1-big-dog
    1-big-dog

    Reply 3 months ago

    Yes, I missed the movie the first time through! Fantastic! I really enjoyed it! A+ project! And extra credit for use of scrap wood!

    0
    grapenut
    grapenut

    3 months ago

    I do like this, and interesting that you are a grandfather, as my father bought something similar for my daughter (metal, possibly with a spring launcher for reloading), because it reminded him of a toy from his childhood. I am trying to envision a version of this one, whereby one elevator goes up as another goes down, to possibly accommodate 2 marbles. Very nice instrucable. Thanks so much for sharing.

    0
    JoeF
    JoeF

    Reply 3 months ago

    If you add a carousel type elevator your idea should ??? Work.
    I would suggest a cardboard mock-up and maybe more than one cage because of the time it takes for the ball to roll down the rails. Let me know. Thanks again🙂

    0
    grapenut
    grapenut

    Question 3 months ago

    A lovely hammered copper frame on the wall. Is that Gandhi? One of the things I love about instructables is, so many such interesting people...

    0
    JoeF
    JoeF

    Answer 3 months ago

    It is actually a hand painted north china person that we obtained at the Art Institute College in China. Thank you for your thoughts

    0
    zolv
    zolv

    3 months ago

    Very nice idea. It can be used as a dice tower! I need to build it.

    0
    JoeF
    JoeF

    Reply 3 months ago

    Let me know how it works for you. Thanks 😊 again.

    0
    terrefirma
    terrefirma

    3 months ago

    I love this. Well documented and inspirational, gently nudging us to just Do It. My problem is #1 I have so many things I want to do that I end up doing none of them and #2 Being that I never start I never gain confidence or experience. You may have just got me going...

    0
    JoeF
    JoeF

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad to be your inspiration.