NOTE: This page has been restored from our archive and gives you information about Marble Run track elements. We do NOT sell any tracks and parts yet.
The rolling performances are based on a 5% slope angle (5 cm height per 100 cm track)
A track commonly made from metals like copper, aluminium, steel, etc. Sometimes made from plastics (skyrail, Spacewarp).
Rolling performance: Speed is stable, however curves must be banked or extra side rails needs to be added in curves to prevent marbles or balls fly off track.
A track made from wood or metals.
Rolling performance: The V-gutter is similar with the rail track, but is more suitable for different ball dimensions. Disadvantage: It’s very difficult to make good bends or turns. It’s easier to make direct corners.
A track made from wood or metals
Rolling performance: Rolling speed is ok, but marbles or balls take more roll resistance when they hit the side walls.
Chute or U-profile
A track made from wood (routing) or cut through tube.
Rolling performance: The chute is similar with the tube, but the track is open and marbles or balls can fall off track when not good build or going too fast.
A closed tube where marbles rolls inside it.
Rolling performance: Very high speeds possible, marbles or balls cannot fall off track. A transparant tube is needed to see the marbles / balls. There’s one disadvantage: It’s difficult to clean and remove stopped marbles or balls.
Non-movable track parts:
The properties are based on a 16 mm glass marble.
A marble or ball will swing in the halfpipe until it lose speed, then it will leave the halfpipe on the lowest point on the side. The halfpipe itself must be slightly tilted sidewards so the marbles can leave the halfpipe on the side when it has no speed anymore.
A marble or ball roll down a steep sloped track with a short vertical bend to uphill, then the marble or ball fly though the air and land back in a landing track or something else. You can also place some bells or chimes on the landing site of the marbles to create som nice sound. Or place a trampoline or drum on the landing site for a second jump.
Trampoline / drum
A marble or ball speeds down a steep sloped track and lands on a drum or trampoline to bounce off and making a high jump and a funny sound.
A marble or ball bounce between two drums, massive steel blocks or bricks until it fall through the gap between the 2 objects. You can also use bouncy balls for this trick.
Loop the loop / looping / vertical loop
A marble or ball can make a vertical loop without falling down, the height acceleration track must be at least twice the loop diameter for good performance. It’s possible to add more loops when marbles has enough speed.
Plinko Board / Nail Board
A marble or ball fall down between nails, screws or pins attached on a wooden board. It makes a funny noise when more marbles or balls bounce down. You can also attach bells or springs for more sound.
One of the most used track layout in Marble Runs. A marble or ball swings down along chutes or rails until it reach the bottom.
Funnel / bowl
A marble or ball rolls down a funnel until it drops through the center hole. A funnel can have multiple holes to different paths. A hyperbolic funnel (like a witch hat or trumpet cone) create a tornado effect when marbles or balls spinning in it with high speed.
Spiral / helix
A marble or ball twist down a spiral track. It’s possible to make very long tracks using this layout. Simply with use of a hose or curved model train tracks you can make a tall spiral tower.
Movable track parts::
The properties are based on a 16 mm glass marble.
This device divides marbles to multiple paths and can replace multiple switches with only one moving part. It contains a rotating sloped chute on a platform surrounded by paths, the chute rests on a pin or nail in the center of the platform and can easily rotate. When a marble drops on the chute, it will hit a wedge mounted on the side of the chute (see image), so the chute will rotate slightly and the marble rolls over the platform and will drop into a path. The next marble will rotate the chute further and take the next path. The platform must be level for good working. A wider path will take more marbles per round.
Rotating Snail House
When a (heavy) marble or ball drops into the center of the snail house shaped wheel, it will rotate and release the marble after a few turns onto the underneath track part.
Flipflop / splitter / switch
This device divides marbles to 2 paths, when a marble hit the switch, it will tumble to the other side so the next marble will take the other path and tumble back the switch. This is very useful to prevent jamming on paths with obstacles and other devices. It’s possible to place multiple switches like a 1, 2, 4, 8, etc system.
When a marble falls onto the pendulum, it will rotate and the marble falls onto the next track part or a second pendulum.
Tipover / collector
This device will spare up marbles until it tips over, then all marbles in the container will escape from it and rolls down a path. You can make a small tipping container for a few marbles, but big ones with hundreds of marbles are also possible. The biggest one ever build holds more than 10 000 marbles!
This device will spare up some marbles like the tipover, the difference is that not all marbles will be released in one go, but one by one. 2 pins mounted on the seesaw will release the first marble but blocks the next one, when the seesaw falls back, the next marble will be leaded to the first pin, when the first released marble hit the seesaw, the second one will be released, repeating the progress until the queue is empty.
This device looks like a spiral elevator, but is not. When a marble or ball hit the spiral, the marble or ball slides slowly down the spiral and let it rotate, a heavy (steel) ball wil rotate the spiral with high speed.
There are many different ways to bring the marbles or balls back to the top of a Marble Run, Marble Machine or Rolling Ball Sculpture.
A chain with forks bring the marbles / balls to the top.
Advantages: It take little floor space. Big height difference possible allowing tall projects.
Disadvantages: Somewhat difficult to make (especially the forks who bring the marbles up), need some maintenance and adjusting. Marbles can fall off the forks if the chain sways (especially by large heights) so guide rails and wheels can be needed.
A rimmed belt brings marbles to the top, the belt has rims to hold the marbles in place.
Capacity: Medium to high
Advantages: Great capacity (especially if a wide belt is used), useful in big projects.
Disadvantages: It takes some floor space depending of dimensions and slope. Somewhat difficult to make (especially the belt itself), need some maintenance and adjusting.
Crank / lever lifter
A moving crank push marbles up to the top. The lever is mounted on a rotating wheel or crank with an axle that slides through the long slot in the lever, the lever goes slowly up and go down faster. A barrier prevent marbles fall off the queue, when the lever is at the bottom, it will push down the barrier and pick up a marble / ball. The lever bring up the marble / ball until it roll off the lever through a hole (or over the rim) in the guiding plate behind the lever.
Advantages: Very fascinating way to bring up marbles / balls. Relative easy to build.
Disadvantages: Needs some adjusting and finetuning. Limited height difference. Limited capacity (but useful in projects with moving track parts). Takes some floor space.
Spiral lift (archimedes screw)
A rotating spiral or coil bring the marbles / balls along a guiding rail to the top.
Advantages: It take little floor space, multiple guiding rails possible to multiple starts or paths. Big height difference possible.
Disadvantages: Difficult to make or adjust. Marbles or balls can sometimes fall off if not build properly.
Stair stepper / moving staircase
A marble or ball climb up a moving stairway to the top.
Advantages: Very fascinating way to bring up marbles / balls.
Disadvantages: Difficult to build, needs lots of adjusting and finetuning. Big amount of moving parts can cause malfunctions and wears off quickly, so advice is to use high quality materials. Limited height difference.
A rotating wheel or gear with holes bring the marbles / balls to the top
Capacity: Varies depending of number of holes in wheel.
Advantages: It is very reliable and very low risk of malfunctions if build properly. Great capacity depending of the number of holes in the wheel (or gear). Relative easy to build.
Disadvantages: It take much floor or wall space. Difficult to make large height difference (the wheel will be very big and heavy) or multiple wheels are needed.