Friday, 18 January 2013

Marble Machine #1



There’s an unwritten (albeit oft-spoken) rule among the Midlands Puzzle-clan that we all blame Oli ... not just for our puzzle purchases, but mainly that! His blog has encouraged an awful lot of us to spend piles and piles of hard-earned cash on little toys ... feel free to blame him too if that will help your addiction.


Anyway, on the subject of blaming Oli, back in May last year, Oli blogged about “The Ultimate Useless Machine” – an excellent kit available from the wonderfully named Frivolous Engineering Company in Canada. I had to have one, and I blamed Oli! It’s been sitting on my desk for ages and still gets a smile whenever I turn it on, only to have it whirr into action and turn itself off again... I know: small things...
 

Anyway – in that sort of vein I recently stumbled across a similarly useless contraption that I knew I just had to get – it’s called Marble Machine #1 from an outfit called Busted Bricks

After watching their online videos for a couple of seconds I was on their website ordering a kit... the kit contains everything you need (except the glue – and they’ll sell you some of that too!) to build a terrific little kinetic sculpture. The wooden bits are all perfectly laser cut in thin ply and MDF ... the pieces go together absolutely perfectly and it’s a joy to build.
 

It took me three or four hours on and off over the course of a Saturday – with several breaks in between while various sub assemblies were drying. Apart from removing the remnants of the tiny tabs that keep the pieces in their sheets at the start and introducing the slope on the steps, there’s very little sanding to be done – the fit is spot-on everywhere. 
 

The design is quite clever and results in a self-jigging assembly process so it’s hard not to end up with everything square and fitting as it should. 


The electric version has a super little geared motor to drive the lift and the batteries are hidden away inside the base ... or you can opt for the manual version that gives you a crank on the side to drive the lift. 


...a great little thoroughly useless contraption to sit and stare at or run in the background while you’re doing something that requires serious concentration – like puzzling! 

...now if only I could find a way of blaming Oli for this one... :-) 

11 comments:

  1. I may well be responsible for you ordering the Ultimate Useless Machine, but you are definitely responsible for me ordering one of these! Call it even? ;)

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  2. Of course I need to finish making the custom boxes for my Useless Machine. These look like fun though!

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  3. Love marble machines! I might have to get one.

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  4. looks like something I should try to make... :)

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    1. Know anyone with a laser cutter? ;-)

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  5. well I ordered the manual version of this. I could have tried to reverse engineer it, but I have to give this guy kudos for a nice design... I might make one of my own once I get finished with the RMBs...

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  6. Well built and thanks for the mention :-)

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    1. You're very welcome and thanks for dropping by Michael!

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  7. #2 prototype is finally complete and I start production this week. Still have instructions to do though.

    http://youtu.be/lWdoksRDz54

    Michael

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    1. That looks fantastic Michael! You can definitely sign me up for one of those as well!

      Allard

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