Automatic motorized marble run

Arduino Fun & Games
Automatic motorized marble run


From the MAKE Flickr pool

Carl gives an old-fashioned marble a shot of electric oomph with this upgrade –

Arduino with motor shield controlling a continuous rotation servo. The wheel turns when marbles are detected by the infrared phototransistor and LED pair next to the wheel.

Full set here, includes Arduino source and demo video.

Neat – I’m guessing it would only take a bit more power and leverage to quickly turn this into an ‘outdoors only’ toy. Check out more project pics in the Flickr set.

4 thoughts on “Automatic motorized marble run

  1. Zee says:

    The Arduino is overkill for this application. All you need is a DC motor controlled by a FET that gets activated when the phototranzistor activates because the motor is spinning at a constant speed not varying.

    Total parts without motor: 5$

    1. jammit says:

      I’d be the first to admit that an arduino (or any other micro) might be overkill, but I could see where you would need precise control over motor speed. Too slow would be boring and too fast wouldn’t grab marbles, but chuck them around. Plus, you need a way to stop the motor only after the marbles are dumped off of the wheel. A simple 555 timer set up for a one shot would be able to handle that, except you need to, again, get the timing right. After setting up the micro processor and getting the timing right, you can then build the simple 555 + mosfet + voltage regulators to emulate what the micro did, and save the micro for another project. The micro is being used as a test for the final circuit, or else this is a one off design that gets disassembled after you get bored with it.

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