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April 1, 2016

Marble Mountain, a themed marble* machine

The maker chose to name it "Marble Mountain" though in fact it employs ball bearings.

Regarding this conflation a YouTube commenter remarked, "Ball Bearing Mountain just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?"


My inner geek swooned when I saw the lift [below], an elegant Archimedes screw, at 1:17.


YouTube caption:


Marble Mountain is a large marble machine still under construction.

It consists of 25 sections that mesh together to form one kinetic sculpture.

Every element is themed (or will be upon completion) to an aspect of my life or to something that I find interesting.

Some of the elements include a roller coaster, ski jump, Times Square, Lombard Street, and a skate park.

It took three years to get to this point of being able to turn it on and watch it go, and I will continue to work on it until it is fully completed.


Facts and Details:

• It has a footprint of 12' x 8' and stands 8' tall

• The tracks and supports consist almost entirely of wood

• Everything is custom-made from materials bought mostly from craft and hardware stores (mainly Michaels and Home Depot)

• The lift is 11 feet long, holds 90 marbles, and rotates at one revolution per second (60 RPM)

• It takes at least 250 marbles to keep it running continuously but it works best with 300

• There are 32 possible paths for the marbles

• There are 14 rockers that distribute the marbles onto the different paths

• The first year and a half of construction happened in my apartment before I moved it to a small warehouse

• The original design was smaller and not as cool, so a redesign took place making it much bigger, morphing into the current half-conical shape with the lift right down the middle

• I know how much it cost to make thus far — but my fiancée doesn't know that number

• It takes just under an hour to set up or tear down Marble Mountain

• Since it is modular, I could remove a section and rebuild it as something else as long as the tracks matched up with the other pieces 


[submitted to reddit by The_Gus_Destroyer]


Wait a sec — what's that 1924 novel by Thomas Mann I'm reminded of and now considering rereading?

April 1, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink


By the time they got to the half pipe, I could just feel the ball bearings having fun. Maybe I'm just weird.

Posted by: tamra | Apr 1, 2016 10:58:46 PM

There is something that is attractive, immensely enjoyable and curiously uplifting about spending that kind of time, effort and money on something so elegantly useless.

Posted by: Puptentacle | Apr 1, 2016 2:16:38 PM

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