Solar System With Glass Marbles and Light




Introduction: Solar System With Glass Marbles and Light

Maker guy with a lot of love for paper and cardboard. Recently also working with recycled plastics.…

Supercool 3D physics science model of our Solar System just finished! Learn how i made it and if you feel challenged, get the template to lasercut the basic elements for this model! :) Glass Marbles are orbiting around the sun and there circular path is illuminated. Also the marbles glow to give this solar system lamp object a very outer space feeling :)

This galaxy space model is made with pretty basic materials such as acrylic sheet, plywood, cardboard, paper, glass marbles, led strip, transformer and electric cable.

Watch full video of the proces over here:

Step 1: Lasercut the Parts From the PDF Template and Collect the Ingredients

Materials needed are:

glass marbles in various sizes, 5mm thick plywood, 3mm clear acrylic sheet, led strip, led transformator, power cord, solid cardboard, a bit of paper/plastic strip that can diffuse the led light a little, paper card to decorate in the latest step, cablestop


online lasercutting service or your own/friends lasercutter, soldering tool, wood glue, multi glue, hot glue, second glue, Stanley knife, ruler, waterproof marker, pencil, screwdriver, i think i didn’t forgot anything :)

Lasercut the plywood parts and measure your marbles.

Adjust the holes in my acrylic glass part drawing to the sizes you need for your marbles. it’s better to make the hole a tiny bit smaller then the actual thickness because it needs to be hold by the acrylic. If the hole turns out a little bit to big, you can try a similar looking marble that might fit. Most marbles have small size differences. If that doesn’t help you could try a glue that doesn’t damages the acrylic sheet (be careful with this!)

Lasercut your acrylic part. The red lines are engraving lines.

Test if it holds the marbles that you wanted to use.

If that’s good, its time to continue :)

Step 2: Time to Make the Base!

use your marker to darken one side of the plywood rings.

remove the protective foil on the acrylic part only around the outer rim. The rest is useful to protect during the project.

Glue 1 of these rings to 1 of the plywood base parts and keep the black side up. when dry, use the glue ( a glue you should test before use) to mount the acrylic disc. glue the other ring on top it, with the black side towards the acrylic. The black sides are to reduce the visibility of the light in your final model.

Make a 12mm strip of paper or something else around the circles, so the led light dots get a little bit diffused. It needs to let the light go true so test before assembling this strap.

Make a 12mm strip of solid cardboard that is going to function as led strip holder. Note that it should not be so thick that it sticks out of the plywood base part.

Cut a led strip on length and solder the ends.

Glue the led strip on top of the cardboard strip and keep it well centered.

install the cardboard led strip using hot glue around your base. The beginning should be at the bottom so you can wire it there later.

Step 3: Electric Installation

adjust the two wooden sides and install. Use the cable stop to lock a cable in position. Solder the cable to the led strip and make sure you don’t mix up the + and - ! When tested the led strip for working correctly, glue the second plywood base part on top of the model and keep it well centered.

Continue with glueing the wooden foot of the base.

Decorate your model with paper strips if you like. I did it to give the model a bit of a finishing and to hide the cardboard led strip that doesn’t look that great :P

Step 4: Remove Protective Foil and Insert Glass Marbles

time to remove the leftover protective foil and pop in the marbles!

this is the moment that the magic starts to happen so switch of the lights in the room and enjoy your solar system!

Step 5: The Effect With the Lights on :)

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    1 year ago

    Most inspirational. I just got my first 3D printer. (I know, welcome to the party.) I am inspired to figure out how to do this project on the 3D printer with translucent filament and embed the marbles in the print. Thanks so much for posting! Great Instructable.


    1 year ago

    Very cool project! Might have to figure out how to do this without access to a laser cutter. Instead of marbles, I might try to create resin spheres that resemble the actual planets in our solar system! Thanks for the inspiration!


    1 year ago

    Please add the caveat: the model is not a scale model!


    1 year ago

    Beautiful. I like all takes on our solar system.

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    3 years ago

    This is really neat! I love the way the marbles look!

    Do you have the templates you used you could share here?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you very much Penolopy! :)) I just edited that, forgot the template :P it is in the last step! :)