The Incredible Marble Machine!


The Incredible Marble Machine!
steel, sprockets, chain, bearings, pvc pipe, marbles, acrylic, plywood, flashing, recycled materials

This machine was the result of a sculpture workshop I ran at Baywood Learning Center in Oakland, CA. I gave each kid, or team of kids, an open-top wood box with a clear acrylic front. Each box has two marble inputs and two marble outputs. The kids’ job was to fill in their box with marble tracks. I built a giant steel frame with a spot for each box, a web of pipes connecting them together, a hand-crank marble elevator, and a plinko-style random path chooser. Users can crank the elevator to watch marbles flow chaotically from one box to next, on down to the bottom.

The workshop was my first experience in front of a class. It was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. We displayed our work at Maker Faire where we won two “Maker’s Choice Awards”. The kids were so proud and professional in presenting their work to peers. I was completely blown away.