In two videos, YouTuber Ivan Miranda has documented the construction of a marble clock that dispenses with conventional hands and instead uses marbles to display the time digitally. He combines mechanical know-how with the precision of 3D printing.
In his clock, each digit represents a certain number of marbles that are cleverly arranged in a matrix. The main challenge here was to develop a system that reliably rearranges the marbles every minute and places them with the utmost precision.
To achieve this goal, Ivan designed a mechanism that guides the marbles into different channels, and all of this is held together by a robust 3D-printed frame. A central role is played by a marble elevator, which transports the marbles back up after their run.
It uses solenoids, which are precisely controlled by a microcontroller, to precisely control the marbles. To identify and sort the marbles, he uses infrared sensors, a technology known from robotics. He has successfully adapted this for his watch to distinguish between black and white marbles.
However, Ivan encountered the problem that the marbles were not always the same size. This meant that the 3D-printed parts had to be reworked manually. After numerous tests and adjustments to various prototypes, he finally managed to refine the system so that it worked reliably.
Ivan’s marble watch is an impressive demonstration of how creativity, technical skill and perseverance can come together to turn a vision into reality. Although he has already presented a working prototype, the YouTuber does not consider his project to be finished yet. He is planning further optimizations and wants to document them with another video.