Let's make a 3D Printed Marble Maze!!!
This marble maze uses 3D Printed parts and an Ikea photo frame (Ribba) to make a fun thing to play with, and have something to hang on the wall when you're not playing with it!
I've been working on this since the 3D Printing contest was announced, its gone through several iterations and finally its finished but stupidly I didn't check the closing date for entries and so I just missed the deadline :( Never mind, its time to get planning and making next year's entry! Enough about that, let's get making!
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Step 1: Materials & Tools
You'll need the following:
- 1x Ikea Ribba frame (23cm x 23cm x 3cm / 9" x 9")
- a 3D printer. Don't have one yourself (yet)? Head over to 3DHubs.com
- OPTIONAL: a sheet of paper or card (must be 23 x 23cm / 9" x 9"). I used some card from another ikea purchase. Patterned paper would add another level of complexity, giftwrap paper would work well.
- glue (standard white PVA glue works great) or a glue gun
And most importantly,
Step 2: 3D Print the Marble Maze Parts
I designed a variety of simple 3D parts using 123Design.
You can use my parts, they are shared on thingiverse.com, or design your own! If you have a cool idea for a part, but havent gotten into 3D design yet, drop me a comment here or on thingiverse, describing the part (sketch and add a photo if possible) and I'll try my best to create it.
There's no single way to make your maze - the more unique they are, the better! So simply choose the parts you want to use and print however many you would like. It might help to sketch out a design on paper first, to help figure out how many peices you'll need, but I didnt do this myself.
Tip: use a bright colour, something that will really stand out against white. I used green PLA filament.
Here's the parts I used:
10x long walls
3x short walls
4x deadends, I used these as the goals as well as dead-ends. TIP: glue some paper to these and label them for your "start" and goals - I have two goals so I labelled mine as 100 points and 50 points, to make one of them more enticing!
Head over to thingiverse to get the STLs:
Step 3: Test Your Maze Layout
Position the 3d printed parts and test the layout.
There's no rule to this, each maze will be unique so feel free to move peices around, check the marble can pass, try repositioning peices to make it more difficult to play etc.
TIP: write on some paper which of the tunnels are blocked so you can keep track as you're mentally following the maze - easy to lose track if not!
Step 4: Glue the Maze Parts in Place
Once you're happy with the layout, start glueing the 3d printed maze parts to the sheet of paper, in the same position.
If you get it really wrong, just rip the paper off and start again on a fresh sheet.
TIP: use some spacers a little wider than your marble, I used some tape and the lid of the glue for this. Use these to ensure a nice uniform width to the marble paths.
Step 5: Frame Your Maze
Open up the Ikea Ribba frame.
To do this, there's some little metal clips you need to prise open - use a screwdriver if they're stiff, then you'll be able to remove the hard board - place this to one side.
Remove Ikea's peice of paper with a dummy photo and the dimensions etc.
Then place your frame glass-down on a table.
Grab the peice of paper that is now your maze, add the marble, and then lower the glass plate and then the frame itself onto the maze. Turn it over and replace the board, but don't clip anything yet.
Turn the frame over, so the glass is facing up and check your maze fits well in the frame and that everything is all in the right place. If not, lift the frame up and move things around until you're happy with the positioning.
Turn the frame over again, glass-down, and push the clips back into place over the board.
Thats it, you're done!!
Step 6: All Done!
We're all done on construction, all that remains is to play!!
Have fun with your maze, I hope you like it, and when you're done you can hang it on the wall to keep it tidy and safe for next time.