Marble Machines is an essential @Tinkering Studio activity, and an excellent means to learn about gravity, momentum, and the creative potential of your recycling bin. Interested in making one at home? A trip to the hardware store should get the ball rolling. #tinkeringtuesdays


You’ll need:


• two sheets Peg-Board with ¼ inch holes

• one 1½-inch-thick pine spacer and two pine feet

• wood glue

• screws and screwdriver

• masking tape

• clothespins

• ¼-inch dowels

• pine board

• cover molding (decorative trim with a slight arch)

• marbles


Scavenge your home for tubes, pipes, funnels, berry baskets, toy parts, and cooking tools—anything that can catch, support, or propel a marble. You can also add motorized components or electronics activated by strips of foil (and a metal marble) attached with alligator clips.


To set up your board, glue the spacers along the edges between the two sheets of Peg-Board. Then screw in the pine feet so that the board can stand upright. Next it’s time to stick in some pegs. Attach your bumpers, tunnels, and the like to the pegs using masking tape and clothespins, and think up a fun finale, like a marble bouncing off a bicycle bell. Test your creation frequently and tweak its connections until the ball makes it through in one go.


Want more details or suggestions? This activity and over 150 more from artists and tinkerers are featured for you to try yourself in The Art of Tinkering, available now at http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/the-art-of-tinkering

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