March 28, 2013 AT 11:00 am

Free-Form 3D Printed Marble Elevator #3dthursday

From the Ponoko blog.

This Thingiverse project from dedicated enthusiast gzumwalt has what it takes to give a 21st Century twist to an age-old favourite toy.

The Marblevator (marble elevator) is at the heart of it all, endlessly stepping little balls up until they meet with the whims of gravity. Additional track segments easily snap together and clever height-adjustable tressels combine to allow you to build with complete freedom, creating one of those mesmerising toys that you could happily lose yourself in for hours on end.

Click through to see more detail on the tressel mechanism, as well as a collection of video clips of those balls going round and round and round.

One of the great aspects of this design is that the outcomes are quite versatile. Experimentation and play will lead to tracks diverse tracks that send the ball on a wild ride, as gzumwalt explains:

“For example, you may start with a rapid descent and end by slowing the descent via increasing the tressel height at the end of your track before returning to the Marblevator. Gravity is relatively constant (for the time being), so experiment with tressel heights to obtain the best combination between track slope and track length. The tracks I’ve assembled run for days without a marble jumping the track.”

Read more.

Marbelvator display large


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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!

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