Woodworking in the great white north.

Marble Tower – down the drain – part 2

Really, I was quite stumped to come up with a nice way to hold this funnel in place on the tower.  I toyed with the idea of just holding it there indefinitely, but I doubt anyone would be happy with that plan.

While I was mulling this over, my daughter came out to see what I was up to.  I was explaining the problem to her and I was holding the funnel by the rim (thumb under the outer rim and fingers over the top of the rim) when she says “why don’t you make a piece of wood that does that?”  She points at my hand and proceeds to make a ‘C’ shape with her own hand and hook it onto the funnel.  BRILLIANT!

I did a quick sketch and marked up a small block of ash with the ‘C’ shape and went off to the bandsaw.  I tried it out and lo and behold it works just as well as my hand does – better probably since I can’t attach my hand to the tower permanently.

One of these ‘C’ holders was not quite enough to hold everything steady, so I made a second one and tried it out in various places, ending up on an adjacent upright.  These were both screwed in from underneath (pocket hole style) to keep everything rigidly held in place.

Once the funnel was nicely attached and a few test drives with a marble I had to figure out how to get the marble from the exit hole of the xylophone spinning onto the funnel.

I tried a few approaches (cutting an angle directly onto a piece of rail that would angle directly onto a tangent around the rim, but I found that the results were less than spectacular, mostly the marble lost momentum quickly and dropped through the hole.  I ended up cutting some pieces of rail into little angled sections and forming a curve from which I could get both the downward angle I needed and the angular momentum to send the marble around the funnel.

Once again, the shallow depth of the cove in the rails came back to bite me on the angled strip feeding the marbles into the funnel.  On a regular basis, the marbles would skip over the edge of the rail and just drop right through the funnel, so I ripped very thin strips of ash and bent them around the top of the rail to act as a baffle to keep the marbles on track.  It works nicely.

Here’s a video of it at work:

I was a little worried that multiple marbles in the funnel at one time might collide and create chaos, but this doesn’t appear to be the case, they seem to spin around effectively avoiding each other and maintain their distance after them come out of the funnel.

Next…I deviate from the plan completely as I try to tie in the bell and the remaining space between the funnel and the splitter mechanism.

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