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Even though marble machines are things from the past, it is still a toy that many people young and old enjoy. Imagine what it was like when you got your first marble machine kit. You couldn’t wait to open the box and put it together as fast as you could. Once you’ve attached all the pieces together you’re excited that it’s finally complete. Your heart starts pumping because you can now place your marbles at the starting line and watch the marbles wind down the tracks.

For “as long as I can remember I had an interest in marble machines, chain reactions, technical toys, etc.,” Tulio Laanen said. However, it wasn’t until Laanen built a “little wooden marble machine” in his garage that began his fascination.  “I really like the physics that are happening, the gravity that pulls the marbles down while the shape of the marble machine restricts the balls from falling, causing them to follow the path you design for them,” Laanen explained.

His curiosity grew when he had the opportunity to use a 3D printer about two to three years ago at the Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts in Tilburg, Netherlands. Combining physics, art and design, Laanen has created a simple 3D marble machine print that is easy enough for people who are new to the 3D world. Laanen calls this “print and play” which means that a user could “build without needing any support and still have a system to elevate a ball to a higher level”.

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Click here to “print and play” with a 3D version of Tulio Laanen’s marble machines.

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