Marble Pump

by elfnor, published

Marble Pump by elfnor May 3, 2013
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Marble Pump by elfnor is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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Turn the crank handle and the marbles are pumped up the vertical shaft to return down the spiral.

Based on the mechanism seen here: http://www.sentex.net/~mwandel/marbles/pump.html.

This marble pump could be combined with many of the other marble runs found on thingiverse.


I made the front, back and top panels in acrylic so that one can see the internal cylinder and piston mechanism. I've provided both stl and dxf versions of the panels for either printing or laser cutting. I actually cut and drilled mine by hand

As well as the printed plastic and cut acrylic you'll need:
8 small panel screws. (4g x 10 mm)
2 metal rods 3 mm diameter, 110 mm long.
12 glass marbles ~15 mm diameter
~1.5 m of 3 mm filament for the rails and supports.

The spiral rails, vertical supports and right angled bends were made by bending up 3 mm HIPLA (http://www.diamondage.geekofarm.com/?page_id=150). If using ordinary PLA it will probably be necessary to gently heat the filament to get nice curves and avoid breaking it.

2 side_panel
1 piston
1 cylinder_block
1 set of crank_pieces
2 clip_90deg
4 clip_4_rail
8 clip_2_rail

Print or Cut
2 front_back_panel
1 top_panel

Have a look at the marble_pump.blend file, the photo and the render to work out assembly. Depending on the printing quality you may need to sand the piston and cylinder to get a good fit.

The crank could be connected up to a motor for amusement.

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Very nice... For anybody that has printed this, do you have video of it?

Very clever little pump. It's beautifully simple. And quite clever to use the marbles themselves to lift vertically. And it looks like it should be very easy to adapt to http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:63210http://www.thingiverse.com/thi..., which really needs a vertical lift mechanism!

LairdWarp Rollercoaster
by laird

I hadn't seen your rollercoaster up till now, but the pump and the rollercoater definietly go together. I had something like this is mind to do next. I think you've done a better job of the clips and support than mine, and I'm guessing my pump part will work with 1/2 inch ball bearings. So using your rig on top of the pump should work fine.

Cool, sounds like a fun project!