Turing Tumble Community

Oversize board using glass marbles

I am toying with the idea of making a 2X size board and pieces so that it can use standard 16mm glass marbles. I realise that the current size of this is intended for desktop and classroom use, and to be portable and cheap to make, however scaling up the design allows for different manufacturing techniques, such as making the board from wood and using glass toy marbles.

If anyone has thought about this idea, or tried it, please get in touch!

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ruswerner–Could you elaborate on the advantages your device would have over the TT the way it exists now.–DonV

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My initial reasons for considering this approach were:

  1. to be able to use standard glass marbles which are easier to get than painted steel balls and also easier to handle due to their size
  2. Ease-of-fabrication of the board and pieces. Milling a larger board is easier due to tolerances being less of an issue.

I haven’t completely engineered my way through this, so there maybe be some showstoppers lurking about.


I totally agree that conventional marbles are easier to handle than the ball bearings that TT currently uses. While my second graders have no trouble manipulating the ball bearings, my fourth graders prefer to use a tweezers.

I think that the larger size of the board that is necessary to accommodate glass marbles would be too cumbersome for a desktop and–together with the larger components–would be too difficult to store. Furthermore, I’m guessing that a teacher, for demonstrations, would prefer to use one of the virtual TT’s rather than a large board.

You might want to see if a market exists for your enlarged TT.

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I can see it being a tool for social distancing right now. I thought how can the Boys and Girls Club use this with social distancing and frequent wash downs. And I decided the demonstration would be the route. This is where your idea of a bigger board would be ideal. I like the physical objects and virtual but in order to study components you need physical.

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The magnetic pen to my kids alphabet game is working ok, thought the balls don’t quite hang on. It would definitely help if some sort of “handling tool” was included.

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the link below is to the marble collector that you can 3d print.

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@DonV it is interesting to hear you say that your 2nd graders manipulate the ball bearings well, but that the 4th graders prefer to use tweezers. I wouldn’t expect this! Thanks for your feedback.

A larger Turing Tumble is a great idea. We did have a Children’s Museum in Ontario, Canada make a larger board, but I don’t have any information on how they went about it. I also think that they used ball bearings and not traditionally sized marbles. I know this because they asked about how to paint the ball bearings - they had used a dying method and the pigment was coming off on their hands. Here are some pictures of their display.