This thing is a "cable-car" add-on for the Gravitrax Marble-run Game set.
I thought it would be cool to have a way for the marble to reach areas that were quite far away from its current position without having to sacrifice a lot of precious height or wasting lots of hexagonal spaces on the floor to build bridges.
Hence, I came up with this cable-car model, which uses a 2mm section aluminum wire as a guide. The wire can be easily bought (I got mine quite cheap on Amazon, here: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B07M98PWH1/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_jtAlDb265MJCE )
You can replace the aluminum wire with other materials, but I found it to give the best performance. It is soft and easy to bend to make curves, yet stiff enough not to deform under the combined weight of the marble plus the car.
Feel free to experiment with different materials, if you find something that works better than aluminum wire let me know!
Besides from the wire, all other parts are fully 3D printable, and most do not require supports. Please read the Print Settings section to know more.
Assembly of the car does not require glue, but can be a bit tricky, because you will have to force the plastic a bit to make the black arm fit the car body, and also to make room for the pulley to fit on its supports.
To make things easier, I held the black arm piece under very hot water for a couple of minutes, so it became more flexible, fit the pulley in it and then fit it on the car, held it tight while it cooled down, and the trick was done! :)
The rest of the assembly is pretty straightforward, you will need decent precision from your printer for the clip in the pillars to hold the wire the right way. If that doesn't work out too well (consider that a clip too thick will interfere with the car's movement) heat up the clip slightly (hot water or, if you feel brave, a cigarette lighter) and try to shape it around the wire to make it more precise. If printing goes well, however, this should not be something you need to worry about.
Printing the parts containing the word "pillar" is not strictly necessary, if you just want a straight cable-car track or if your track only has very small bends. If you plan on making large bends, or if your cable-car wire is very long, consider printing one or more pillars to support it, though.
Please note that each pillar will also require printing one of my 6-Exit Basic Tile to be mounted upon.
I am providing two different models of "pulley", one with a narrow bed for the wire, one with a larger bed. The narrow one will guide the car better, although it requires a more precisely printed "pillar clip". The wider one will be more forgiving if your pillars don't come out too nicely printed, but will guide a bit worse, making the car wobble a bit.
It is really up to you which one to use, you can experiment with both, but if you only have a straight wire, and don't use pillars, I'd definitely recommend the narrow one.
If you would like to see it in action, here is a slow motion video of it!
If you make this, it would be awesome to see pics of your makes!
Note: I am in no way associated with Ravensburger or Gravitrax, this is just a design that is compatible with the Gravitrax system that provides functionality the stock parts do not.
I do this just for mere fun, but if you find my projects useful to enhance your Gravitrax experience, consider the idea of tipping me, I'd really appreciate it! :)
bq, Sienoc PLA
White, Black, Grey, Yellow
Supports are not needed if you print the models oriented like I am providing them, except for the part named StartWireHolder and for the two white tiles.
The only other part that requires supports, if you decide to print it instead of the "narrow" versione, is the "LargeBedPulley".
Once you are done printing all the parts, take some time assembling the cable-car.
Sand the black shaft for the "mouth" of the car to make sure that the part the marble will sit into can turn easily and without friction.
Also sand the inside of the pulley's hole to make sure it will turn freely on its supports.
Sand the holes on both sides of the "car release hook" that goes on the "start" tile before mounting it. Make sure it turns freely once mounted.
If you plan on making complex wire shapes for your track, be aware that it will take some time to "shape" the wire, you should be careful in avoiding sharp angles and irregularities in the wire as they will have a strong impact on how the car slides on the wire.
See the cable-car in action in slow-mo along this very large bendy track!
All my custom designed parts in one track!