Marble runs – every house needs one.

marble run 2

I spent hours as a kid making marble runs, using anything that was lying around my dad’s tool area. I’d usually start with a big chunk of solid wood (usually cedar, left over from deck-building) and make the marble wind around it in a spiral, down tracks made of elastic bands stretched between two pairs of nails, thin slats with grooves whittled out, leftover copper plumbing pipe etc. I was the artsy type l so I was trying for an aesthetic effect but that’s not necessary! My dad’s friends would play with the runs when they came over, so I know they’re not just for kids. On a whim I searched Flickr a few days ago and found many marble runs, none of which resembled mine at all, but all of which are amazing. This is only a tiny fraction of what I found. They’re not all DIY – there are some out there that span several floors and are permanently installed in museums, and there are many plastic commercial models – but they’re all interesting. Look at this ingenious one hipnerd made for his child. In memory of my childhood fixation, my sister recently bought me a beautiful, traditional woodblock marble run set, and naturalmom on Flickr has the same one! (Below.) Below that is a slightly less safe marble run made from glass tube, but it’s stunning. Click on the photos to go to their Flickr pages for more information. Thanks to all the photographers for designating these Creative Commons. If you’re searching, also try “marble roll” as a search term.

Marble Run Toy

marble track

Glass Sculpture

marble rolling

SC marble run

Action shot

marble run

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7 Responses to “Marble runs – every house needs one.”

  1. mary Says:

    great post! my grandmother took up carpentry in her 60s and made
    all her grandchildren amazing wooden toys. one of our favourite toys
    was indeed a marble run. unfortunately i don’t have any photos of it but
    it’s still at my parents house and loved by visiting children!

  2. LB Says:

    I really, really want to see photos of this!

  3. mary Says:

    i wish i could send some but the marble run is at my
    parents place in new zealand & i live in france!
    next time i go back i’ll take some pics.. maybe some time in 2010 🙂

  4. LB Says:

    No rush, but I’d love to see photos, if you happen to take any! Thanks!

  5. Alex Says:

    nice marble runs!

  6. persons Says:

    umm ok these are random pics of complicated marble runs, where can i find how to make marble runs homemade for a school project? nothing scientific plz

  7. LB Says:

    Make it up yourself! That’s what we all did as kids. That’s part of the exercise!

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