Intro: Lazy Susan From Scrap Wood and Marbles
This lazy susan is made from marbles and wood, rotates freely, and can accommodate weights over 100 pounds. Originally conceived to rotate food using a small motor, this un-motorized version has proven to have uses also! These include as a display mount for products, or as a platform for photographic panoramas.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- A laser cutter capable of engraving into wood*. We used an epilog fusion 60 watt laser cutter.
- 2 plywood or solid wood boards around ¾” thick cut into 8”X 8” sheets. These dimensions can be nearly any size to suit your needs.
- Around 25 marbles of equal size. The small generic marbles work well because they are small enough to line up well with the cut out races.
- A fine, sharp chisel.
- A slide caliper
* The races of the lazy susan can be made using a variety of different tools including CNC routers or band saws/jigsaws before being glued together. However, we used a laser cutter as it proved to be the most accurate and simplest method.
Step 2: Measure Out the Races
Once you have your marbles, you’ll need to measure them and determine a suitable race size. Our marbles had a diameter of 0.640” and our races were cut with a width of 0.415”. This ratio worked well for us and meant our races were approximately 65% the width of our marbles (about two-thirds).
Step 3: Engrave Into the Wood and Cut Out the Races
Using the laser cutter, we engraved our races into the wood. This took several passes to ensure the marbles didn’t come into contact with the bottom trough of the race. We engraved the top (good side of wood) on the bottom plate, and the bottom (bad side of wood) for the top plate. A fine chisel was used afterwards to flatten out any wood anomalies.
Step 4: Install the Marbles
We placed about 25 marbles in the engraved race making sure not to pack them too tight. We left some extra space between marbles as this allowed the lazy susan to spin easier.
Step 5: Place the Top Plate in the Device and Give It a Spin!
If not spinning smoothly, try removing a marble or two from the races.