The Dale Maley Family Web Site


Large Marble Dispenser - Aug 2021

Kids and adults like to play with the small marble dispenser I made several years ago.  I decided to scale up the model and make one designed for the larger 1" diameter marbles.

I also want the dispensing area to be more visible so people can see how the mechanism works. I may do it by using plexiglass.

Sketchup Design of 1" Marble Dispenser

Making the depressed marble track in Base

The original plan for the smaller marble dispenser assumed you did not own a scroll saw. Since I do have a scroll saw, I decided to make the base from 3/4" thick hard maple, and cut out the track section with my scroll saw.  I drilled the start hole under where the marble tower goes, so you won't see it.

After I scroll sawed out the track, I marked it on the side with a pencil, so I knew how much material to remove. I used the hand saw from my old miter saw set to saw out the taper. I then drum sanded it smooth on the drill press.  It came out very nicely.

Improved Design to Make ball transfer more visible

Resawing Maple on band saw

Since thin boards are needed for this project, I resawed some maple, which saves the amount of wood I have to buy. My new Olson blade really worked nice on the resawing!

Modified Design Again

Rather than 3 pieces for the front of the marble storage in the tower, I decided to make it from 1 piece that is scroll sawed.

When I assembled the tower, the front piece that  holds the marbles in was not the full length to match the rest of the pieces.  Will have to check and see why that was.

Making the Tower


When I got the tower and slider done, I tried them out. Worked ok except marble got stuck in the exit slot at the bottom of the tower. It is supposed to be 1-1/16" wide, but it is slightly less than this.  One of my two bottom pieces, or both, must have been a hair wider than blueprint..........I did not check this width when I glued them to the back.  I think I can fix by Dremeling out the opening.

I was able to Dremel out material on the thick side using the green deburr or carving attachment, I then drum sanded in the drill press.

To make the marble tower as attractive as possible, I sanded each side and the 2 ends on my horizontal belt sander, followed by 220 grit drum sander on my drill press. Then I thinned up the sliding member so there was some clearance between it and the front side of the tower.  I want to avoid rub marks on the plexiglass, that is why I wanted some clearance.  I tested it by moving the sliding element by hand and everything now works ok :)

DAMN.......trouble with plexi-glass

Had the piece all cut, marked where screw holes go and went to drill press.........and broke plastic on first hole !!!!!

Made new piece, pre-drilled hole with pointed screw starting bit first, then starting with very slow RPM on hand-held battery drill, drill holes ok.   Remember not to use the drill press on next project with plastic !!

I used 1/2" long brass wood screws to attach the plexiglass to the maple. I bought them from McMaster-Carr.  I uploaded a Sketchup model of the screw to the warehouse.

Sketchup Warehouse

I uploaded my model to the warehouse so anyone can build one. Use this link to download this model.

YouTube Video of Model in Action

Finished Project

Closing Thoughts on this Project

Both kids and adults should enjoy this model. I plan on making a similar model, but use a worm gear so it takes longer to dispense the 6 marbles than this model does.