the compact marble machine man
July 8, 2010 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Denha is a synthesizer enthusiast who also builds very small and fairly complex marble runs out of brass wire, carved wood, and 9/32" ball bearings.

Judging from his videos, it looks like he and his son are big fans of the Rube-Goldberg-esque interstitials of the children's show PythagoraSwitch, and after making several homages of their own, denha steadily became more and more focussed on miniaturization.
posted by luvcraft (24 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for posting this.
posted by drezdn at 7:36 AM on July 8, 2010

That tiny one NO. You CANNOT DO THIS. I already have plenty of projects on my list. Stop.
posted by DU at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2010 [6 favorites]

This one shows how he makes the rails. Awesome. And his wire cutter is on a retractable wire. I think he could save a step by having his jig have grooves (or outer bumpers)--then he wouldn't have to tape the rails down.

Oh and his camera must be head-mounted.
posted by DU at 7:58 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man, I thought of this a couple years ago and tried to make it in Lego. And failed. I never considered having the outer layers be active.
posted by DU at 8:03 AM on July 8, 2010

Dammit luvcraft, now I have to go buy a blowtorch.
posted by endotoxin at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I bet that guy has thousands of those little ball bearings all over the floor.
posted by medium format at 8:55 AM on July 8, 2010

That tiny one NO. You CANNOT DO THIS

DU - exactly my thoughts too.

Though... the house IS kinda hot, and the basement workshop is so cool and refreshing... and I prolly can't find all that brass wire I stashed... oh wait, there it is...


oh goody, here's some nice teak scraps.....
posted by Artful Codger at 9:19 AM on July 8, 2010 [4 favorites]

posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:28 AM on July 8, 2010

I love his retractable pliers.
posted by Tacodog at 9:38 AM on July 8, 2010

posted by SLC Mom at 9:55 AM on July 8, 2010

I might have a new hobby.
posted by reductiondesign at 10:04 AM on July 8, 2010

A planetarium near me has one of these marble contraptions. Only it's HUGE. These things have a way of hypnotizing the mind. I'll be here for hours.
posted by hot_monster at 10:26 AM on July 8, 2010

Ok, but which ball bearing is the fastest?
posted by orme at 10:44 AM on July 8, 2010 [5 favorites]

Making the system modular is awesome. I used to build towers out of scrap cardboard glued together with wood glue. It was hours of cheap, endless fun.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:32 AM on July 8, 2010

Assuming they did the Pythagoras Switch ones in the living room, this guy probably has the most entertained kid and the most pissed off wife in Japan.
posted by griphus at 11:47 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Whoa coooooool.

I wanna make one too!
posted by Cygnet at 1:01 PM on July 8, 2010


Indeed. Even the OED is baffled. Could he have meant fork?
posted by IndigoJones at 1:14 PM on July 8, 2010

*IM's Ms. slogger*

"Hey hon, can I have a new hobby? Please???"
posted by slogger at 2:12 PM on July 8, 2010

@mei and indigo: he means "yoke", referring to the yoke-shaped wires he's using to tie the two rails together.
posted by luvcraft at 4:14 PM on July 8, 2010

When I was a teen I made things like this (although much bigger) out of Construx using golf balls.

Well, not automated. Okay okay, or nearly as cool.
posted by JHarris at 4:16 PM on July 8, 2010

I love marble runs. I used to spend hours building them out of rather lower-tech materials (cardboard tubes, books, wooden blocks, and tape, mostly) as a kid. I still have a few plans for some in the works... but this adds a whole other world of possibilities. Dammit!
posted by limeonaire at 4:44 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Awww, come on guys, it's so simple. Maybe you need a refresher course. Hey! It's all ball bearings nowadays. Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads. And I'm gonna need 'bout ten quarts of anti-freeze, preferably Prestone. No, no make that Quaker State.
posted by terrapin at 5:57 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I secretly wish he was my Dad.
posted by archivist at 9:22 PM on July 8, 2010

Late posting here, but can someone tell me what character encoding to use in Firefox? I'm especially interested in the synthesizer stuff.

posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:18 PM on July 8, 2010

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