Wintergatan Marble Machine Text: Martin Molin Photo: Samuel Westergren

Most intense period

When I was completely buried in the process of building the Marble Machine, time and space seized to exist. Pleasant as it may sound this feeling did not come out of any creative overflow. It was the sheer pressure from trying to make the machine work that blurred days and weeks into a never ending problem solving marathon. In the middle of the most intense period, late summer 2015 I had a visit from Samuel Westergren. Samuel was at that point one of the very few persons that had seen the machine. I noticed immediately that Samuel grasped the main mechanisms of the machine and meanwhile he was shooting all the pictures you will see below we talked and discussed some of the problems with the machine. It was that day and when discussing with Samuel that I realized that I had built in a design mistake in the machine concerning the marble gate function. The day after he left and with our discussion in fresh memory I removed six months’ worth of work and started over. Seeing these pictures reminds me of that feeling. A very mixed feeling. Sure, you just stepped six month back in time but at the same time it’s the only way forward!

It’s a couple of months now since we released the video. During this period I have seen a viral avalanche from the inside. Seeing these pictures takes me back to the middle of the process. Back to the workshop. I hope you will enjoy it.

The feather shaped thing is the marble separator.
This room is where all the sawdust is generated. It’s like half a centimeter all over the floor. I did not have a professional dust removal system. And judging from the pile of scraps in the far left corner I’m not very professional with planning cuts either. It’s always a sport for the good woodworkers: keep scraps to a minimum. But in my case I was working with a kind of ”Moulage” technique. Like when you design clothes without a definitive pattern and just try the ideas directly on the test doll. I was improvising the whole construction and there were a lot of round shapes so that will generate more scraps than if you have plans and mostly straight cuts.
I think this is the cleanest I have ever seen my working table.
Top right is a Japanese tiger saw. It’s my Friend Johanna Larsson who has taught me to use that. Cuts like butter and you can always access at any cut angle.
In the roof you see we have a big plastic sheet hanging, It’s because It’s raining in. My colleague Marcus Dimbodius built a very clever little contraption so all the water goes into the bucket you can see standing on the top of the far wall. The water in that bucket usually looks like beer but we never tried it. You can actually see it’s color in the picture, there is 10 centimeter of water in the bottom of that bucket.
Bottom left is my french ruler! I learned this from the wood whisperer on YouTube. If you freehand a curve and then go over it with the french ruler you will have something very pleasing to the eye.
"Connecting the marble elevator with the marble separator."
Crooked blade. That’s just how it should be. Tools are tools, and tools are to create something with!
Connecting the marble elevator with the marble separator. If you look carefully for the tubes in the middle of the epicure on the right side, that was the system I had been working on for six months that I scrapped the day after this picture was taken. I so wanted to make a video series covering the millions of mistakes during the build. But one brain or at least my brain wasn’t enough to both film and edit video and build the machine simultaneously. I love all the YouTube woodworkers for the fact that they dedicate 80% of the time in their videos to the mistakes and how to work around them. Makes far more interesting videos than only a successful build. I want to learn from them. I will redesign the machine now to make it playable on a live stage. During this process I will make sure to cover the mistakes equally elaborate as Matthias Wandel, Bob Clagett, Jimmy Diresta and Frank Howarth does.
I put as many gears as possible on the left side of the machine as I always pictured that side to be facing the camera.
This is a picture that I send to Samuel to show the progress of the marble gate building the day after he left. It was the most difficult problem to solve but essential to get it work in the end.

8 months later!!!

The day before starting to film the video!

Samuel fixing the lights and also using the Japanese tiger saw to groom the machine before shooting the picture that later became the press pictures and the single cover for the Marble Machine song.
The machine kept spewing marbles everywhere. During all 14 months. The ”It feels like I am losing my marbles” joke was constantly on my tongue.

Hannes Filming!

Hannes shared my feelings for the machine and worked tirelessly to get the good takes. The machine kept malfunctioning but he never complained once. When I was down after a hard days recording when the machine was worse than normal Hannes told me that the Steven Spielberg film ”jaws” became successful because of the malfunctioning mechanical shark. Thanks to this malfunctioning shark we don’t get to see the shark at all during the whole first hour of the film. And this is the magical thing with the movie.

Most of the video is filmed with this Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.
Haha! This picture always makes me smile. In Sweden we have a genre of music called Dansband. It is Swedish chanson, dance music with texts about love. The album covers photos in the Swedish Dansband genre always looks like this photo.
Samuel and me with a tool each.

Thanks so much Samuel for understanding the machine and for having captured these moments!

Created By
Samuel Westergren
Samuel Westergren

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