Introduction: Tiny Marble Run, Almost Marble Machine

All right so to start out the reason why I'm making this indestructible is that I have these small sphere ornament thing ground and I decided, you know what I want to make something out of this. And well know tiny Instructables challenge gave the spark I needed for this project.

That being said, I started on this project intending on making a marble machine. Something that would be able to be driven by a motor and continuously has the marbles go up and down. I did not manage to quite accomplish that, but I still managed to make a tiny marble run and learn a lot in the prosses. This instructables will dictate how to make what I did. You may try and improve on what I have done and make the motors spin at the right speed, or you can be satisfied with the tiny marble run that you know have.

Either way, I hope they are able to get something from this project. Well with that out of the way let's get started.

Step 1: What You Will Need

To start these are the components I used, in more or less the quantity you will need. as always during a project sometimes something goes wrong. during this particular project, I ended up having to remake the entire Machine part of the project after the bottom sphere part broke.


  • old RC helicopter
  • 4 paper clips (I used the larger size)
  • Fillable Plastic Clear Ball Ornament
  • Reindeer Moss and moss stones, (i got mine from the Doller Tree)
  • 8 Golf tees
  • Paver Sand
  • Plastic eye dropper
  • Tiny ball bearings
  • Paint (if you wish to recolor the castle)
  • Electrical tape
  • Sheet Plastic (i used some I had lying around but you could use layers of sand and glue instead)
  • Mechanical pencil
  • wood Stain
  • a cotton ball


  • Super Glue (notes at the end about glues)
  • Insta-Set Accelerator (linked to the one I used)
  • Exacto Knife
  • Paint Brush
  • Pliers (i used my set of the Letherman Surge)
  • Wire Cutters (if you do not have them in on your pliers)
  • Cutting board (not needed but subjected)
  • Tweezers (i used Constant tension tweezers, I think is what there are called)

Step 2: Making the Machine Part

So to note, this is the part the does not work all the way. the only thing that does not work 100% with this is that I can not seem to get the motor to spin at the right speed, that being said manually spinning works, so maybe I will make a stand for is later with a crank, but for now, this is what I have.

First, start by removing the helicopter's motor assembly and blades. next, you will need to make a small hole to be able to mount it. Then superglue that in place. trying to keep it centered and straight.

Next is the Corkscrew part. I used an eyedropper to make it. cutting a part that was about an inch I wrapped a paperclip around it to make the little elevator. I used electrical tape raped around the plastic part on the larger shaft to make it so that it slides on tightly.

To make the base were the castle will sit, and a base to build on, I used half of one of the moss rocks. I cut it in half and rounded it, then using a second eyedropper I made a hole in it. I suggest making slits in the foam to make it conform easer. then I glued it in place. Make sure that you do not glue the corkscrew in place.

After that, I used a golf tee and carved eventually what was the ball return, do this by cutting it more or less in half and making a groove inside for the ball to roll. cut to length and set in super glue to keep it there. spritz it to fix it in place.

Lastly using a second golf tee I made the shaft. the prosses is similar to the first. cut in half, carve channel, and then make a notch where the ball will fall out. I did not make my channel deep enough so I had to glue paperclips onto the side to help keep the balls in. when you glue this in place make sure to have a ball in as a spacer. spritz it to harden the glue.

Step 3: The Castle Part 1

For the castle I used the small plastic tube the comes in a mechanical pencil, cut into about fourths. I cut small pieces of plastic to the size I wanted my walls, cut slits in the tubes for the walls to sit-in, and filled it with super glue. as a note using the insta-set makes this so much faster than if you have to wait.

Next, I cut the door where the marbles/bearings will get through, it should let your castle fit over the woold peace you put in earlier.

After that, I trimmed up the plastic tube and added more glue. and there you have it, the castle is built and just needs to be decorated.

Step 4: The Castle Part 2

To decorate the castle I coted each wall individually with supper glue and dipped it in my cup of sand, then spritzed it, coated the next one, and so on until I had coated each wall. originally I just panted it, but then decided to do this and it looks so much better.

After coating the walls I made sure to make sure that the Towers were coated as well. Then after the Insta-set had dried I Painted it by dabbing it with a brush. I liked the darker grey color, but you could leave it as is sand-colored.

Then, I cut used the heads of 4 golf tees to make the towers. using the Exacto knife I cut little grooves into the tips to make the tips look more like a pine cone, or thatched roof. to make it more solid I coated it with superglue, let it absorbed, and spritzed it to harden it.

Then all I had to do was cut off the heads and glue them onto the towers. Finally, I glued the castle onto the grounds and added little rocks from the sand and spurts of reindeer moss to the sides to make it look better

Note: Make sure that when you are adding the sand that you do not block the door.

Step 5: The Run

First off I would say that this is the hardest part of the entire project. I am not going to give dimensions for two reasons, one being that I did not take any, and the other being that yours will be difrent than mine, so you will need to make it custom to yours.

I used a paper clip stratend out and then bent into the shape in the first picture as the first part. as an adapter i glued another golf tee part to make the ball slide down easier. I found that by raising the outer side of the paper clip track, the ball followed along better.

The bottom was made similarly, using a small golf tee support to hold it up. If you don't manage to bend the paper clip right the first time don't worry, I had to try each one 7-10 times to get it right. So even though it only takes about 4 paperclips overall in the end, I ended up needing about 20 to make the thing.

Finally, as a finishing touch, I made a small door out of another golf tee. Using some stain I had lying around I darkened the door to more fit the look of the castle, then glued and spritzed.

Step 6: The Clouds

As a last final touch, I superglued the cotton ball on top of the cop helicopter blade attachment. Going to give it a little bit of character I use a marker to darken a bit.

Step 7: The Result

Well, I'd say the videos speak for themselves. I may not have achieved what I was originally planning, and making a marble machine. But in the end, I still learned and ended up with a tiny marble run.

I hope that while reading this Instructables you will be able to learn something from it as I did.

Step 8: What I Learned

I learned quite a lot from this project. First and foremost is that you can't always dress wire a battery to a motor and expect it to work as you intend. I tried playing around with a motor controller but it didn't end up working because it's still spun too fast.

Other than that I would say that the biggest thing that I learned is about what super glue to use when. In this project, I used two different types of super glues. The first one was gel which I found to be really good when you want his put something at a place and not have the glue move from where you put it. The other one was just your normal superglue. When I put it on wood it happens it absorbed and was good for when I wanted to harden the word or darken it. But it also has the tendency to slide around and pool.

And as a final note, this perfect would not have worked out nearly as well had I not used the insta-set. It allowed me to do far more work because I did not have to worry about letting the glue set and dry. Like it's simply just Spritz it and it would harden. Well, I hope that you are able to learn something from the sling structural, I know that I certainly did.

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