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Marble Run "jubiläumsedition"


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Hi together,

first I need to explain the german title: Jubiläumsedition just means jubilee edition

I designed it to join this years special annivesary event "50 years of fischertechnik". That is why all the blue flags are spread around the marble run.

Starting with the "A Tribute To Imperfection" project stage of 2014 I extended the marble run to have three linked tracks for marbles and a fourth track dedicated to ping-pong balls. The lifter for the ping-pong balls is driven by the glas marbles running through a 'mill' just as water drives mills along rivers. In 2014 already there was this type of mill but it just energized a small globe to turn slowly. And due to some problems of the 2014 construction I needed to redesign the mill as the arriving tracks now come in roughly 1 1/8 inch (30mm) lower.


There is so much more to say, but I first need to find out about your gallery system. Stay tuned.



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Ah, yes there it is. Rob Van Baal did it again; he made a nice video of the FanClubTag (fan club day) "50 years of fischertechnik". Enjoy it all, there are very fine models in the clip. The last 2 minutes he gave to me - I swear he did it on his own intention. I am so glad he makes so good videos.


If you like to see a ping-pong ball run from the dutch ft fans then just give the Schoonhoven 2014 compilation a visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLhLM1bLIoQ The ping-pong run is directly from the start. I love this machine they build.

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It is just a "Shaun" toy figure with flexible legs and arms that I put there. For some strange reason I think that 'he' must be somewhere in the installation to get success when its show time. Maybe its madness, who knows? kbobam eventually?

Tell me, is "Shaun the Sheep" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaun_the_Sheep) something you already heard about it? If not then watch here a clip: http://shaunthesheep.com/watch/fossils there are more around.

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Wallace & Gromit are really fine. I know 3 of the old episodes and in one of them shaun and some of his mates occured the first time ever.

Well, back to topic. Currently I have identified some trouble with the mill - okay, it is an older problem but now I am about to find a solution. The mill,


driving the ping-pong-ball-lifter, has its entry on a too high level. Not way too high but some marbles have not enough energy to arrive here. In fact the tracks are rising a few millimeters causing the marbles to slow down. If the marbles are not fast enough from the start they stall and return on the tracks the wrong way.

You might think: Now, let's have them start a little bit higher and we are done. Unfortunately there is no way to have them start a little bit higher. The lifting wheel


has fixed diameter and can not be made some fractions of an inch (a centimeter oder so) higher. The issue is related to the fischertechnik parts available and how the hollow wheel is constructed.

The mill itself can not be lowered since then their exit tracks are getting too low, loosing steepness and then there are jams that block the machine. So the only chance is to get the tracks to the mill a few millimeters down - which means a new arrangement of the arriving platform. The issue here: the marbles need to enter the mill-wheel without blocking which is also related to a well defined geometry. Normally the mill-wheel could also be lowered but there is also an issue: below the mill-wheel there is this tub collecting the marbles and guiding them to one of the two exits. Lowering the mill-wheel interferes with the headroom the marbles need and wheel and marbles block each other then. Stay tuned ...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay, here is the latest news.

The mill got a new entry section. The mounting parts for the tracks are 2.5mm (1/10") lower now. Not much but things work reliably since two weeks. As a consequence the rail (yellow) and the plate guiding the marbles into the wheel got a rework also. This plate needed to get lower a few mm also on the front end. Its back side kept its height. In addition the back side of the housing also got some changes to better help the marbles find their new way into the wheel.


Just compare this with the picture above. The outlet at the bottom side got an additional construction (red parts) to send marbles really back to the tub. But this I added a few weeks ago. It has nothing to do with the entry section on top.

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