Intro: Compact Marble Elevator
This is simply a marble elavator I designed with the intent to work smoothly without taking much space. I did not want to use a chain elavator or use something conventional. Although a screw elavator came to mind, I wanted something with gears. I am really pleased by the outcome of this print.
Step 1: Designing the Parts
To start out I would suggest using Inventor from Autodesk to design your individual parts. You'll want to have two axels, one for the main components moving, and one for the handle. Use a callibration jig to make sure that some of your parts will be able to spin when you want them to. You'll also need a wheel with slots for the marbles, connected to a gear for smoother, slower turning. I personally reduced the speed to half by using a 3-toothed gear attached to a 6-toothed gear. Although not necessary, you'll want a cover to conceal all of the main moving parts; this will also make it easy to design a stand. All of the parts I printed can be seen in the images, but I would suggest using whatever shapes or sizes you want. If you design one, it does not have to be cylindrical. Keep in mind that when you do design it, it is supposed to be tilted towards the user/handle so the marble can roll.
Step 2: 3D Printing
I personally don't own a 3D printer, however I quickly found out that I could use the school makerspace printers or ask a friend. I loaded the designs onto a flashdrive and gave them to a friend to print at home. If you used inventor with inches, it is okay if the print shows up small on the printer, simply scale it up since the printer measures in millimeters. I later loaded it onto a school printer and made a pocket sized version just for fun.
Step 3: Assembly
To assemble, just make sure that you use an adhesive like superglue to bond the axels with the gears/wheels. Keep in mind that only some parts will stick, while others are designed not to move with the axel.
Step 4: Enjoy!
I hope you can use this for a marble run you own or even design one by yourself!