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Thread: Quadrilla Marble Run tower-bases

  1. #1
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    Quadrilla Marble Run tower-bases

    (post 1 of 2)

    Three years ago I documented some enhancements that I made to the wooden marble run sets sold under the name Quadrilla. See the thread: http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ead.php?t=1646

    At the time, I expected to make additional enhancements fairly soon. But, I have not gotten around to doing so until now.

    The idea for tower-bases came when I was making a Quadrilla marble run with Jamie (my 5-year-old granddaughter) a couple of weeks ago. We ran out of blocks but still had available rails. More than half the blocks that we were using served no purpose other than to hold up the towers. This is somewhat of a waste because each of the many Quadrilla blocks is built to serve some other purpose as well.

    It occurred to me that it would be easy to manufacture some blocks whose only purpose was to support a tower. Once I started talking to Jamie about such a block, we came up with two “extra” features for it. First, the blocks can incorporate a wide base in order to make the towers more stable and second, the blocks can be built in multiples of the standard 6 cm height.

    I have been storing some 2x10 Avodire wood in my garage for a few years that is idea for this project: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Avodire that I bought at the Century Mill Lumber clearence sale -small.JPG 
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    Avodire is a medium-hard hardwood, the is almost white in colour and is straight and knot free.

    I started by cutting off a chunk about one metre long, Then proceeded to rip strips that were slightly wider than the Quadrilla blocks. Then I set the fence on my table saw using a Quadrilla block as a “story stick”: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 01 -Starting to cut 2x10 rough-sawn Avodire -small.JPG 
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ID:	41096 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 02 -Using a Quadrilla block to set the width of saw cut -small.JPG 
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    and ripped several pieces to the same thickness as the blocks.

    Next a chamfer was routed on the corners of all the pieces to match those on the Quadrilla blocks: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 03 -Routing the corners so that they match the corners on Quadrilla blocks .JPG 
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    The round pegs on the Quadrilla blocks (as seen on the orange block in the above picture) are a little under 30mm in diameter and about 12mm in height. To accommodate the pegs, 30mm holes were drilled 14mm deep into the top of each of the tower bases: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 04 -Drilling a 30cm hole in the top of a base -small.JPG 
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    The vertical piece was glued to a 11cm x 11cm 12mm thick piece of Baltic Birch and a pair of 18mm thick L shaped pieces were glued around the vertical piece in order to add support. Here is a photo of the glued and clamped assembly for one tower base: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 05 -Clamping a glued base piece -small.JPG 
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    Before the glue-up the pieces were sanded with 120 / 150 / 220 grit paper in order using my Festool Rotex sander. After assembly and between coats of finish sanding with 220 grit was done using my Festool linear sander. In the photo belowI am about to remove some dried glue: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 06 -Sanding -small.JPG 
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    The tower based were finished using three different colours (one for each height) of water based aniline dye. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 07 -Mixing dyes to use on the bases -small.JPG 
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    I mixed one quarter teaspoon of dye with one half teaspoon of water to form a paste then added this past to one quarter cup of water-based gloss Varathane.

    Each tower-base received a coat of the stain followed by two coats of straight Varathane with light sanding between coats: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 08 -A dyed tower base drying -small.JPG 
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    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 01-08-2010 at 03:08 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  2. #2
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    (post 2 of 2)

    The picture below shows some completed tower-bases, some Quadrilla blocks, and some parts: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 09 -Some completed tower bases and some parts for same -small.JPG 
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    The green tower bases are 180+12 mm in height, The yellow ones are 240+12 mm, and the red ones are 300+12 mm.

    Finally, I got to test things out.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrila tower bases 10 -A few pieces in use -small.JPG 
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    The bases work exactly as I expected them to. They certainly add stability to the marble towers.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 01-08-2010 at 12:16 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  3. #3
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    I gave some of the tower bases to my granddaughter Leah on her ninth birthday a couple of weeks ago. When I visited her early last week, I found that she has already put some of them to good use:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Quadrilla tower blocks in use by Leah -small.JPG 
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    It is very gratifying seeing something you have designed and built being put to good use.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 02-02-2010 at 01:06 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  4. #4
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    Very cool, Frank. Looks like a lot of fun, and also looks like Leah hasn't wasted any time putting them to use.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  5. #5
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    That was a lot of work Frank A real labor of love. Looks like she is having a real ball with them.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    That was a lot of work Frank A real labor of love. Looks like she is having a real ball with them.
    Thanks Bob, but it really was a very simple taqsk and did not take much time.
    Cheers, Frank

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