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A little over three years ago I designed, 3D printed and assembled a "horizontally stacked" domino dispensing machine for the kids and grandkids, which they named the "Pink and Green Domino Machine" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K12tqdOb0f0).

I've have seen numerous variations of horizontally stacked domino machines over the years, but I have only seen two "vertically stacked" domino machines, so I decided to design, 3D print and assemble this vertically stacked domino machine, which the kids and grandkids have creatively named the "Pink and Green Domino Machine II".

When designing a mechanism such as this, I start by isolating the design constraints that will determine the overall design of the model. In this model, the primary design constraint was the size of a "standard" domino (which I quickly discovered was not that "standard" after all) which would determine the size and swing of the guides, the size and stroke of the piston, the length, width and arc of the track from the vertical stack to the piston, the circumference of the drive wheels, and finally the width and height of the entire model. Along with the domino design constraints, the motor and battery pack dimensions must also be considered. After incorporating the various design constraints and dimensions and positioning the various components, the design is completed by "filling in the blanks" required to connect the various dimensions and components with structure, and in this model, with gears, control arms and axles.

As usual, I probably forgot a file or two or who knows what else, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask as I do make plenty of mistakes.

Designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, sliced using Cura 4.2, and printed in PLA on an Ultimaker 2+ Extended and an Ultimaker 3 Extended.

Step 1: Purchase, Print and Prepare the Parts.

I purchased the following parts:

  • 500rpm 6VDC Gear Motor (search for "DC 6V 500RPM Micro Speed Reduction Motor Electric Geared Motor").
  • One 6VDC AAA battery pack with switch (available on line).
  • Eight R-24 (31mm ID, 3.5mm section, local hardware store) O-Rings.
  • Four AAA batteries (local hardware store).

The included file "Parts.pdf" contains the part names, quantities, layer heights, infill and support settings of the parts I 3D printed for this model.

This is a high precision print and assembly model. Prior to assembly, test fit and trim, file, sand, etc. all parts as necessary for smooth movement of moving surfaces, and tight fit for non moving surfaces. Depending on you printer, your printer settings and the colors you chose, more or less trimming, filing and/or sanding may be required. Carefully file all edges that contacted the build plate to make absolutely sure that all build plate "ooze" is removed and that all edges are smooth. I used small jewelers files and plenty of patience to perform this step.

The model also uses threaded assembly, so I used a tap and die set (6mm by 1, 10mm by 1.5) for thread cleaning.

Spankyty22 days ago
I love this! I remember I bought one as a kid. This looks more like fun since you get to build it! I wish they sold them as DIY kits.

I challenge you to make it turn. That was my biggest issue as a kid. lol
gzumwalt (author)  Spankyty20 days ago
Thank you very much!

Turning (via WiFi and smartphone) is coming...

Greg
PLLman22 days ago
If you want to see another great domino machine, but built from wood, look at https://woodgears.ca/domino/wooden.html. Love his stuff, too.
gzumwalt (author)  PLLman22 days ago
Hi PLLman,

Yes, his machine was built at or around the time I completed my first horizontally stacked domino machine mentioned in the introduction. He does some excellent work with wood.

Greg
PLLman gzumwalt22 days ago
I didn't realize the wooden one was made quite so recently, and it worked like your first one, but there was a Lego version Matthias built in early 2010 from which he rebuilt in wood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de4xdOVVRO. The top loader is quite unique.
n4mwd22 days ago
Very clever piece of engineering.

gzumwalt (author)  n4mwd22 days ago
Hi n4mwd,

Thank you, I hope you enjoyed it!

Greg
lebowski22 days ago
Super fun! Very nicely done.
gzumwalt (author)  lebowski22 days ago
Thank you very much!

Grewg
wclapie22 days ago
I am constantly intrigued by the genius in some of these "toys". I am also awed by so many folks with access to "cad" or some other computer language design program with access to 3d printing. I cannot afford such. So, awed. This is a neat little toy!
gzumwalt (author)  wclapie22 days ago
Wi wclapie,

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

The CAD program I use is Autodesk Fusion 360 and is free for beginners and hobbyist, which is why I use it. In my home town, our Fab Lab has 3D printers available for the public so you might check to see if there is a Fab Lab near you with a 3D printer.

Thanks again!

Greg
AndrewA16722 days ago
Pretty neat little machine! Kinda fun just watching it do its thing...

Potential improvements to think about:

1. Larger hopper for more dominoes (probably easy to do)
2. Some way to change the spacing between the dominoes (right now they look a bit "loose")
3. Turning to allow the ability to make arcs?
4. Automation - one way to accomplish 2 & 3 would be to eliminate the mechanicals (I know, boo, hiss) and use servos to actuate the drop mechanism - and control the speed and turning. Add a simple microcontroller, and allow for programming a path!
5. Alternatively, you might be able to make it mechanically super-complex, and use some form of cam or "roller-peg" mechanism to actuate steering and such?

Wish I had a 3D printer and design skills to try the above. Someday...
gzumwalt (author)  AndrewA16722 days ago
Hi AndrewA167,

Thank you, I'm glad you have fun watching it!

The hoppers (I called them funnels in the design) are stackable, you just have to use a lighter domino with stacks in excess of 12 or so (use the 3D printed domino, or purchase the very lightweight slender ones). The wheel diameter controls the spacing and ease easily adjustable at design time. Turning ability is upcoming via WiFi.

Best wishes!

Greg
wirekat22 days ago
WOW - Excellent! Forget grandkids (I don't have any yet) I want this! Thank you!
gzumwalt (author)  wirekat22 days ago
Wi wirekat!

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and you are very welcome!

Greg
hagar704422 days ago
Lucky kids, your grandchildrens.
gzumwalt (author)  hagar704422 days ago
Hi hagar7044,

I have two inspirations for designing models such as this. The first is for our kids and grandkids, and the second is for everyone else, to learn and enjoy!

Thank you,

greg
M.C. Langer22 days ago
This is FREAKING GENIOUS! I love this instructable! As soon as the PLA arrives for my 3D printer, I will build mine. Great job gzumwalt!
gzumwalt (author)  M.C. Langer22 days ago
Hi M.C. Langer,

Thank you very much, I'm glad you liked it! It is a lot of fun to play with and I hope enjoy yours!

Greg