Macbeth Marble Machine


  • Wintersession 2017: Fiction and design
    Instructors: David Pittman and Aaron Simmons
    Time: 3 weeks


            For the final project in "Fiction and design" winter session class, we were asked to create a physical design that responds to a piece of literature we read in the past few weeks. The goal of this assignment using the process and ideology of industrial design to communicate elements in the world of fiction.

           I choose the famous Shakespeare play "Macbeth".

           My thought was to see Macbeth first as a play then as a literature since a play has many visual elements that are relatable to Industrial design.

           I decided to build a marble machine that would represent a scene or two in Macbeth through mechanisms and movements, with the marbles being my actor. 

         There are four marbles; one is Macbeth while the other three are the witches.



  • Final Machine:
  •        The color palette and the structure of the machine were designed to give the resemblance of a medieval castle.
  • Sketches for MMM mechanisms:
  • Construction:
  •        This mechanism below is called the "Macbeth the trigger" in which the Macbeth marble releases the three marbles that represent both the witches and his achievements. Macbeth is boosted not only by the witches prophecies but also his own pride in the previous war.
  •        This Mechanism is called "The Witches are off" shifting the focus to the three witches: Macbeth's reaction towards their prophecies allowed the witches to do more. 
  •        This mechanism is called "The never ending fate" illustrating the story of Macbeth is one that would eventually happen again. It is a resetting system that renews the marble run.
  •        This marble holder has a counter weight equivalent to a bit more than the weight of two marbles so that when the third marble comes, it releases the accumulated marbles into the next contraption.
  •        I called this staircase mechanism "The Dance" because I thought the motion in which the three witches climb up seem like a dance of some sort.
  •        I admit that besides finding the topics relatable, there was a little self-indulgence in making this project. This marble machine I made below in freshmen year's spatial dynamic class gave me tons of fun! I just couldn't resist building another one with the new skills I learned in industrial design.