DIY Science Project: Marble Roller Coaster

by - Friday, October 19, 2012


Hi guys! How are you doing so far? Me, I'm definitely fine and so excited to share another DIY I had. This DIY project I'm talking about is not just about crafting it's also related to SCIENCE.

I think a lot of high school or even college students had encountered this project at school so this would be a great help for you. Your teachers in Physics might give you this project because they believed that you're going to  learn and realize a lot of laws or concepts in Physics on the way. They were right with that.

SO let's get started...
The project is not really my idea, it's actually not my own project but my sister's. And since they made the project at our house I did some documentation so I could share with you what they had. I just helped them a bit with some painting and polishing so their project would be pretty enough.

The project I'm talking about is How to Make a Marble Roller Coaster out of cardboards. This is not that easy to make but with planning and experimentation you'll definitely make your Roller Coaster working.

Materials needed:

  • Cardboard or used folders
  • Masking Tape or any adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Marbles
  • Poster paints


Let me divide the procedure into different parts so we'll not get confused.

I. Beams
Ok, the first part would be making the beams. Actually, before doing this you should have at least the plan or whatever you visualized your roller coaster to look like. So, going back to the beam, the height and width depends on you. My sister made different sizes of beams. She had 2ft x 1in, 1ft x 1in, 6in x 0.5in. It all depends on your planning. Be careful with the measurements because the beams would carry and hold your roller coaster in place.

First, make rectangles and divide them into 5 equal parts (lengthwise) using your pencil. Again, length depends on you. Add another 2 inches on the length for clearance. Then, trace the dividing lines with a ballpoint pen so you can fold them easily.

On the picture, we had a 14in x 5 inch rectangle for a 1ft x 1in beam. (*To be explained later)

Fold the cardboard inwards giving you a rectangular prism. The 1st and last division should overlap so we can fasten them.

Apply, glue on the last division of the rectangular prism leaving the 2 inches clearance. Let it dry while holding them in place. Next, put tapes around the overlapped area to secure them.

*On the 2 inches clearance, cut the sides as shown on the picture. This would be the legs of the beam so we can attach them on the base.

Fold the legs outwards as shown above.

Test the legs. The beams should be able to stand alone after the legs had been folded. If not try checking the folded area if the lines are straight. 

II. Track
Now, for the track get another piece of cardboard or used folder. The measurements are again up to your plan. You can make a lot of tracks of different length. These are the steps that my sister did. 

Make a rectangle and divide them into three parts. The upper and the lower parts should be of the same width while the middle part should have the combined width of the upper and lower parts. 

On the picture, we divide the rectangle as this: upper = 0.5 in, middle = 1 in, lower = 0.5 in.

Trace the lines using a ballpoint pen and fold the upper and lower part inwards.

For curved tracks, you can cut a part of the track and fold them upward or downward. Fasten the sides with a tape.

You can also draw curvy tracks as shown above just be careful with the folding.

III. Spirals
To add style and excitement on her Marble Roller Coaster my sister used spiral tracks. This has the same procedure and measurement as of the simple track. However, we are going to cut out some spaces. 

After dividing the rectangle into three parts, divide the lower part into 0.5 inch partitions as shown above. Then, on the middle part draw triangles above the partitions. You should have a pencil-like flaps after that.
Cut the outlines and you should get something like this.

Then, fold the upper and lower part inwards.

Try forming a circle first. Next, fasten each flaps below to form the spiral. Do not join the ends.

This is the top view of the spiral track.

And this should be the back view.

Make as many spirals as you opted.

IV. Loops
Next accessory is the loops. Be careful because the shape of the loop can affect the marble's speed. Same measurements as the track.
Same procedure as the track. But be sure to divide the upper and lower parts into 0.5 inch partitions.

Attach the flaps with tape after you have formed the perfect loop. You can always adjust the height.

V. Funnel
To add more spice to your roller coaster you can use another accessory part like the funnel. 
 Cut out a circle and locate the center. Draw another small circle on the center and cut it out.
 Overlap the ends and secure with glue.

 Now, you have the base of the funnel. For security, you can add side panel so that the marble wouldn't be out of place.

Put all parts together...
Attach the beams to the base. Next, mount the tracks above and secure them in place.

Paint them to make it more real.

We painted my sister's Marble Roller Coaster with pink and white stripes. 

And add a few more details...

And we're done! You can now test your very own Marble Roller Coaster.

PS. Do a few trials until you have encountered all the possible flaws of your marble roller coaster. Then, try repairing them. And oopps, sorry about the messy backgrounds. It can't be avoided especially if someone in the house is making her project. 

Link this up to:

Happy Project-making!!

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12 check comments here

  1. Did the marble travel pretty fast around the spirals or did it slow down?

    1. Hi Joanie! The marble traveled at the same speed from the loops to the actually boost the speed of the marble as it went through the spirals down the funnel.

  2. Where did you buy the cardboard pieces from? I'm doing this for my Eight grade Science project and I'm completely at a loss for what to build. But, this DIY looks promising. I need help ASAP ha!

  3. Where did you buy the cardboard pieces from? I'm doing this for my Eight grade Science project and I'm completely at a loss for what to build. But, this DIY looks promising. I need help ASAP ha!

  4. I'm doing mine for 7th grade.

  5. helo this is Michael Jor5dan. Stop get some help

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I'm doing this for a high school project :D

  8. I bought the cardboard at a local grocery store

  9. my classmate hates this but we are doing this.. lol


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