Monday, March 31, 2008

73 Finally finished building tracks...

Here is the final product. There are some cosmetic things to clean up, and maybe a support or two to add - but it's all done. Here is a somewhat long video showing how it will move when it's plugged in. This is with a 10 rpm motor which delivers a marble @ just about 3 per minute.

6ft high by 6ft wide. All stainless steel construction. The wood ring is made from Walnut with a nice oil/wax finish. See here for in progress photos of the ring being built.

I didn't build the ring myself as I like to work in metal....

If you'd like to see the video in full size, instead of reduced size and quality, then download it directly to your desktop:

#64 at: "Coolest Toys on Earth"

Sara was very nice and sent me some photos she took of my - (well, not mine any more) sculpture in the window of Coolest Toys on Earth. If your wondering it's #64. Check out the radiometers hanging from it to add movement in the sunshine...
Here is what Sara said to me-
"Here are a couple I photos I took when I visited the coolest toys on earth. It's a fantastic toy store. Not the run of the mill type. There's another shot of the other side of the store. I thought you might like seeing it since you said you never had.

Very cool! I was wondering what my (not mine anymore!) sculpture was doing these days....
...I should just make another....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brenda's Tulip Dream.

Side A

Side B
I went to Flickr to look at tulips just before making the flower. I think it came out pretty good. The track goes through the flower in two places before rocking into place at the bottom. 15ft of track and uses 1" glass marbles. Base, stalk and flower are 1/4" stainless rod, the leaves are made from 3/16" stainless rod and the rest is 1/8" stainless rod. All neatly TIG welded.

See it in motion below.

Loop d' loop before and after.

Here are the two wires bent for a loop d' loop. Notice the track spacer at the start of the track. There are two spacers, but you can only see one in this photo. The spacers are to hold everything in place so it cannot twist while I am working on the curves.

See how well the loops came together after some spacers were added.

Now the loops are added to the others - for 14 in a row.
4 in the first section, 6 in the second section and 4 in the last section.

Friday, March 14, 2008

More about making track

Track is the usually ignored aspect of building RBS. is surprisingly important and something you will do quite often if you build your own ball run. The most important thing about track is building the corners so the ball does not come off at any speed. That is why I think it is best when building a tall or multi-track run to start from the top and work your way down. You can let the ball go and see how fast it is going so you know how to bank the upcoming corners. The track you will need for the inside and outside track will vary depending on the amount of banking that you will need. A slow corner will not need much banking and the amount of track used on the inside of the curve is much less than the outside. But if your ball is going fast then it will just shoot off the curve if you do not bank the corner appropriately. The ball does not have to be going very fast to stay in a corner that is almost vertical. A vertical corner uses almost the same amount of wire on the inside and oustide rails.

My point is...make only a couple corners at a time. Add supports to that section and then send down the marble. Make your next curves match the speed of the ball while leading it all around your sculpture. My final advice? Keep the speed of the marble low whenever possible. A slow marble does not want to jump the track, and is less susceptible to ambient vibrations. More track...Oh no! Get a reliable way to space and hold your rails in place and it will be a snap! Well, almost... : )

Monday, March 10, 2008

Final spiral video

See the last video that will deal with just spirals...I will be working on tipping arms next, and the remaining track. Stay tuned.

Aluminum caps dress up the Drive and Idler wheels **BLING**

These caps are made out of aluminum, and mostly made on the mill. There are 36 grooves in each of the disks. The two pointy nose cones, which each have 12 sides, are polished.

Here are the parts, apart. There are two hidden set screws in the caps that go on the two idler wheels. The caps do not rotate, just the disk behind them, so you can see the disk's reflection in it's polished surface.

Here's the drive wheel. Both parts turn at the same time.

Here's the left idler wheel. And below is a quick Youtube video of the wheels in motion. Check it out!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

More spirals, and a track tune-up.

I built 5 more spirals. There are three counter-clockwise and two clockwise. It's easier to make several at the same time instead of installing and making one at a time. Track tip: Don't forget to cut and face the ends of your track incoming and outgoing your spiral. It may be difficult to get a grinder in there once it is in place.

Here are those 5 spirals installed and hooked up to track. It takes a little over a minute for a marble to get from the top to the bottom of this track alone. The track is pretty close to the bottom. I will leave it where it is. I may be able to fit on one more spiral, but until I know how high the tracks will be where the they starts to merge, I want to leave myself plenty of room. I'll try and get some new video next week.

I also fixed this ugly corner I had built after the last loop d' loop. It was not smooth and very loud. In the picture above I am refering to the 90 degree corner caged in at the bottom after the last tight loop - turing away from the wall.

Here is that same corner - except it is changed into a smooth, fast, quiet corner that looks better, too. Now the exiting marble glides through that section fast, and is ready to twirl through the next set of loops . (Not yet added). Also see the left idler wheel. Ready to be idle.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Now the spirals in motion

Here are the spirals, added and functional. The track does bounce around a bit, but I don't want to add the final supports until all of the track and elements are in place. In a way, you want it to be self supporting by connecting to itself and not rely on long supports you may not have needed. Although I'm sure I could add a couple...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spirals Online

Here are those same 4 spirals, installed, and ready to roll...


4 spirals. Two clockwise, two counter-clockwise.