A Merry Marblevator Christmas Tree

by gzumwalt Dec 18, 2014
Download All Files

Thing Apps Enabled

Please Login to Comment

What type of motor setup did you use?

-Luke Froeb

I used this motor: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AUCGJX0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

There are many motors of similar format, just select one that runs around 75rpm.

You may want to check out this thing: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1852963. It is a smaller but sturdier design, and prints in fewer pieces.

A Mini Merry Marblevator Christmas Tree

Two failed prints so far at about the same height... maybe 50mm :( Are people who succeed printing this with support? When I looked at getting Slic3r to generate support, it was going to fill the auger tube as well :(

Incidentally, I've cut the track into two parts to fit on my 180mm diameter Delta, and designed a couple of joiners to reconnect them. Will publish a remix if that works.

Incredible design.
However, I printed it four times (0.1mm), without succes.
When the nozzle passses. it breaks the flimsy track.
Is it possible to make the track slightly more rigid by closing the slot at the bottom.

Number five was O.K.!

Can you make a version at 1/2 scale as my printer is very small. Thanks.

This design is hard to shrink. But stay with me, I'll be designing a new version this year.

This is my first foray into 3D printing. I got a Lulzbot Mini a week ago and it has not stopped since. Being an electrical engineer, your designs are exactly the kind of stuff I am looking for. I am currently printing your dovetail do nothing box and your armed marble machine. I have downloaded a bunch of your other designs and will build them all. The Christmas tree Marble machine track will not fit on the Lulzbot platform. I can scale the X axis to .67 to get it to fit but then the spiral mechanism will not fit. I scaled the spiral and figured I would use smaller bearings but things did not work out too well. I usually give my kids some homemade gadget at Christmas time that use Arduinos with LCD displays, etc. but the tree looks like the perfect thing once I add a few personalized add-ons. If you have a chance prior to Christmas, would you make the tree track fit on a 150 x 150 mm platform? Great work! I build movie props as a hobby and you can see them at www.guarnero.com

Thanks again

I was scratching my head for a while trying to work out how you got an Archimedes screw to work vertically - Surely the balls would just sit at the bottom. Then I had a look at the STL files; The spiral is just a spiral, but the vertical column . . . AHA - All is revealed!
(Just printing off your bowl mini marblevator ;¬)

Anxious to see your results!

this will be a challange for my diy 3d printer :)
first attempt :D

Although I didn't have any problems printing the track using 0.2mm layers and 10% fill, the walls of the central pillar ended up way too thin and flimsy and broke apart almost before I touched them which was not good. Has anybody else had this problem?


Yes, i experienced this problem as well ... i ended up printing at 30 percent infill and it made it nice. The only problem i still had was the top of the auger tube still split on me after 3 different prints of track.stl. it is still functional though.

Gzumwalt... I am having a problem trying to print the top star. I believe its a slicer error but i'm not sure how to fix it. The 2 star points on the bottom corners of the star do not actually touch the bottom snap away plate once sliced... the printer attempts to levitate the corners in the air which obviously is not successful lol. Any thoughts on how I can correct this? the bottom star points show up in either layer 7 or 8 when i view the layers in the slicer program. I'm using Cura and printing on an ultimaker 2.

Thanks for any thoughts on this!

mikebaier -

I've uploaded a new file "Star 1mm Base.stl". See if this helps and if not, I'll increase the base height even more.

Printing now... looks like it took care of the issue...

Thanks for your time ! It's greatly appreciated.

You are very welcome, and looking forward to seeing your results!

The snap off base is only .4mm thick, and the star tips were designed to be level with the center mount. If you need, I can elevate the top of the base higher (e.g. to 1 or 2mm, just remember it will be more difficult to remove the snap off support), I just need to know, in mm, how much more you would like me to elevate it.

I'm very sorry for the problems you've experienced, hopefully, we'll get a fix for you.


I uploaded "Track Test.stl" that I have not tested. I thickened the spine along the area where your photo showed the gap. Let me know if / when you try it and what results you attained. Also, it passes my Sketchup "Solid Inspector" tool, for what it's worth.

I am sincerely sorry for the problems you have encountered.


No need to apologise, as I mention below, the problems I have had are down to slicer settings I think. New GCode prepared and ready for tomorrow afternoon. (Hoping to get home early from work as it is Christmas Eve :-) ).
Many thanks once again,



Best of luck, and if you need further design revisions, don't hesitate to let me know and I will do my best to incorporate them.

And Merry Christmas to you and yours.



Is it flimsy everywhere or in just a particular section?

I can try to add additional structure to an area you are having trouble printing.


Thanks Greg, The entire column, that is the section which encloses the auger, from where it emerges from the motor housing right up to the top seems very fragile. I am not sure whether I could solve this by amending slicer settings in some way but the walls of this part of the model are very thin and are made up of filament strands which all line up in the same direction. It is this which is at the root of the problem I think as there is no "cross support " (if that makes sense).



I designed the spine with an .8mm wall thickness in order to save PLA and decrease print time (not realizing of course it would cause difficulties). I've printed 8 of these that work fine on my Rep2 at 10% infill, .2mm layer height, 2 shells and with the Rep2 standard .4mm nozzle. Does this match your setup?

The spine contains two tubes; auger and marble. I see the gap along the length of your auger tube, however, is the marble tube ok? If so, I can add additional structure down the length of the auger tube.


From what you say about your setup and the success you have had, I continue to think that the problems I had were with slicer settings. (I also have a 0.4mm nozzle). I am going to have another go tomorrow with different settings and inspect the GCode more diligently using Repetier beforehand - not sure whether to use your original or the revised untested version though!


Printed out the track... had some warping towards the top...

the augers printed out pretty well with the exception of the bottom of 2 of them there were 2 small holes.. not sure if it's my printer or what.

Other then that looking forward to assembling and seeing it run.

I'm hoping the small holes you are referring to are the interconnect holes between the screw parts. For example, on "Screw Lower.stl" there should be a hole for the motor shaft. On "Screw Middle.stl" and "Screw Upper.stl" there should be holes to accept the shafts from the lower screw components.

If not, keep me posted as there should be no additional holes.

Sorry for any problems.

sorry missed this comment from before... there were 2 small holes on the side of the auger that mounts to the motor shaft... the motor shaft hole fit perfectly but there were 2 additional holes on the bottom side of the auger right where the "screw" begins. I'm sure it's an error in the slicer....

Hey what were your infill settings?

I used Makerware "Standard" settings which include 10% infill, .2mm layer height and 2 shells.

Getting ready to try and print this now...

you keep amazing me with these designs you do...

Thanks for posting!

Thanks for your kind words!

You are certainly welcome and glad you like it!

I just love the animated things which you design and share - thank you. I am going to have to print this!



Thanks for your kind words, and help! Both are very much appreciated.

Anyway to get a 2-3 part track ? Please? Won't fit on my Printrbot , :( (185x100x165 mm print area)

Maybe a shorter "mini" version? If so, what are the axis of the dimensions you listed?


ditto....original printrbot. X,Y,Z print area of 130x140x120

Comments deleted.

I say "Another Marblevator (yay!!)" -- Thank you.

Thanks! Glad you like it!

I am always impressed by your work and this one does not disappoint. This is yet another well thought out design with an exceptional attention to detail and presented in a way to make it easy for others to duplicate.

Nice work and Merry Christmas!


I am truly humbled by and appreciate your kind words.

I attempt to design mechanical / motion things that can be printed by everyone; sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail. But I keep trying.

Again, I thank you for your kind words, and am always inspired when someone such as you enjoys my work, and most important of all...

Merry Christmas to you and yours!