Michael Shultheiss's marble machine

Michael Shulteiss sent me some pictures of his amazing marble machine. I very much enjoyed oogling these photos and figuring out how his machine works. Its a truly amazing machine.

So, with Michael's permission, I am posting the pictures of his machine for others to enjoy as well. Larger versions of the first three photos can be viewed by clicking on them.


The machine is hand cranked. It uses several elements that I also employed in my marble machines - the geared marble elevating wheels, the flipflop, and the marble pump.

It was a challenge for me to figure out this machine. I ended up drawing a sort of flow diagram of it to figure out completely. The flipflop, center right, is mostly hidden from the view above, but key to understanding the flow.

Parts drawing in black are on the front of the machine, while parts drawn in blue are on the back of the machine.

Its best to understand the flow starting from the bowl. The bowl feeds the geared elevating wheels, which in turn feed the flipflop at center right. Half the marbles subsequently go through the elevating chain, while the other half go to a very clever lifting arm, which in turn feeds a marble pump.

These two shots show the flipflop. The shot at left shows the flipflop hidden behind the bowl, which is the flipflop at center right in the diagram of the machine.

Some detailed shots of the elevating lever, which is on the right of the machine. The last of these photos shows the output of the elevating lever, feeding into the marble pump. The elevating lever is attached to the slider part of the marble pump, so that the lever moves up and down in sync with the pump.

The chain is also quite clever. I specially like how the links are shaped to pick up the marble, and how the marble is unloaded at the top.

A Video of Michael's machine in action:

More projects by Michael Schultheiss:

Secure M&M dispenser

Jenga pistol

Gerared desk lamp

More marble machines on Woodgears.ca

To my  Woodworking website.