Build your own marble run out of wood – that’s how it works

Small children are often very enthusiastic about rolling balls and the laws of gravity. With a self-made wooden ball track you create a fascinating toy.

What you need:

  • Square sticks (about 2 cm thick, four or more, 25 to 50 cm long)
  • Wood for fretwork (about 2 mm thick, amount depends on the choice of square timber, min. 30 x 30 cm)
  • jigsaw
  • Milling machine (for holes about 1.5 cm in diameter)
  • sandpaper
  • Holzleim
  • Marbles (maximum 1.3 cm in diameter)

You have to work very precisely on the marble run so that the marbles can roll properly through the channels. If you don’t have a milling cutter, you can also use a suitably shaped file. However, this increases the workload enormously.

Manufacture the runners for the ball track

  1. Mill a semi-circular groove into each square piece of wood on one long side.
  2. Using the router attachment, drill a hole in each end of the wood. Start on the rounded side.
  3. Lay all the logs next to each other in the same direction. The holes are on your left, with the chute facing away from you.
  4. Move the timbers so that the rectangle formed by the gutters tilts slightly to the right. (Inclined at an angle of about 5-10°)
  5. Draw the line of the imaginary rectangle at the ends and cut all the pieces of wood accordingly.
  6. Sand the chutes as smooth as possible.

Determine the dimensions for the wooden frame and cut to size

  1. Lay out the gutters in front of you as you would when cutting them to size.
  2. Flip every other gutter so the hole is on the left.
  3. Now incline the wooden gutters so that the beveled edge is parallel on all of them.
  4. Increase each smaller distance to three centimeters without changing the angle.
  5. Now measure the height of the ball track. (Consider an inch of space under the last gutter.)
  6. From the fretwork, cut six straight strips the width of the gutters, as long as the determined height.
  7. Saw a floorboard that is a little longer and about three times as wide as the runners.
  8. You need strips about two centimeters wide for the edge of the base plate.

Glue the wooden ball track together

  1. Glue one of the strips of wood to the sloping sides of the gutters.
  2. Make sure to keep the distances.
  3. Reinforce this connection with two strips each, which are glued to the ends from the right and left.
  4. Glue the edge strips for the floor panel to this.
  5. Attach the ball track to the base plate. (The remnants of the square timber provide additional stability if they are glued to the ball track and base plate.)
  6. Once all the connections have dried, the marble can be placed on the top gutter.
  7. This now rolls down and falls through the holes at the lower end onto the next chute.

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