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Lego Marble Machine

I don’t know what it is about this one but I like it. It sits on my desk and every now and then I turn the crank or run the motor and just watch the marbles go round. It’s fun. It’s hypnotizing. It’s pointless.

A few months ago my kids and I were building with Legos and making marble runs for the Geomag marbles. I started thinking about different ways to get the marbles raised up. I remembered seeing a device not too different from the one I built but made out of wood. I saw it in a craft fair years ago and although I never saw it in motion I knew what it was for and how it worked. I thought of making my own out of wood but so far have not. Think of this Lego machine as a prototype for … Well that’s a project for another day.

It is made out of various Lego, Technic, and Mindstorms kits except for the metal Geomag marbles. The yellow and green rails are from one of the Mindstorm add-on kits. There is no programming to this one. The programmable brick simply runs the motor which I turn on with the remote control. Alexandria and Isabella made the minifigs and Yoda’s hut. I added them to the video to liven it up.

I have wanted to try out YouTube for a while now and sharing the marble machine seemed like a good way to do it. I’m no musician but I think it is important for videos to have a sound track. For my home videos I usually use music from my CD collection. But because this one was going public I decided to see what Creative Commons had to offer. From there found “Fault in the air” by DJFer. The video was made with my old Sony digital 8MM camcorder. For editing I use Adobe Premiere.


  1. John Snyders
    John Snyders Friday, March 9, 2007

    Good point about the slow motion, David. I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

    Kris, Thanks for pointing me at georgerhoads. Looks like there could be some money made with crazy things like this.

    I should have included the direct YouTube URL to my video.

    And here is a Lego marble thing that is really cool. Notice that it has the same kind of mechanism as my machine as well as many other cool lifts.

  2. Kris
    Kris Thursday, March 8, 2007

    I’d say the appeal is pretty much universally male. I’d go so far as to say that the cave paintings in aix-la-chappelle France were by women (perhaps shopping lists for men). Why? Because if men had done them they’d probably have gears, flames or trucks in them. Not invented? Look at what my son draws.

    It does sound like you’re on your way to a larger work like has done…e.g. the one in the MoS, Logan, or the in vermont (where my son just spent 45 minutes worshipping at the alter of the clanging balls.

  3. David
    David Thursday, March 8, 2007

    I like the machine and the video. It is hypnotic; I’m not sure why. It would be a nice addition to the video to have a slow motion look at the ladder.

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