View Full Version : Marble Madness

Michael Mccain
08-31-2011, 05:03 PM
Anyone have a method for making almost full spheres out of furnace glass fast and en mass? the need is for 900 a day so ringing 'em out one at a time at the bench is inefficient. I'm thinking of a bunch of two part graphite molds, several sizes ranging from 1 1/4" to 2", then I could drop out a gather and come away with 7/8 of a full sphere.

Richard Huntrods
08-31-2011, 05:19 PM
You are talking serious production (over 100/hr in an 8hr day).

Have you checked out the "how it is made" on marbles? These are the small ones (1/2in - 1in) but the technique is probably your best bet.



David Patchen
08-31-2011, 07:39 PM
Buy them from China.

James Ennis
09-01-2011, 05:40 AM
Dude, off hand or find a good old boy a little north of you to fire up the old school marble machine, or call ro purser, he would know how to do this.

Alexander Adams
09-01-2011, 07:54 AM
Sub out some or most of the marble making to multiple studios. It need not be studios as far away as China. I would also charge the customer big money and if they balk, they aren't serious and there will be future headaches. (I like Ed Skeels's story about getting the job for making the mammoth Rondels for the LDS Cathedral)

Subbing out work will not yield the best profit, but it will free up your time to make other work and prevent you from becoming a marble factory. Or worse, turning down better, easier, more profitable jobs because of a prior commitment.

Or turn down the job. There will be others.

Dennis Hetland
09-01-2011, 07:55 AM
Make marble stock. Long thick rods with the color already applied and encased. You block the end, jack the other side of your sphere down, then use a butcher knife to finish separating the marble from the rest of the stock and fire polish

Pete VanderLaan
09-01-2011, 09:43 AM
when you fire polish, use oxy-hydrogen if you want a clean line. propane will scum it.

Joe Pfeifer
09-01-2011, 01:07 PM
[QUOTE=I like Ed Skeels's story about getting the job for making the mammoth Rondels for the LDS Cathedral)

Where is this story found?

Tom Fuhrman
09-01-2011, 01:20 PM
get a very large "cork screw" like the old marble machines used and cut globs into it as it is turning and let them roll out the end nice and round. The secret is getting a nice clean cut and having your glass consistently hot to enable the nice cut. Maybe Peltier Glass has one they would sell you since they closed about a year ago. They used to make 1000's of marbles. you might also contact Jebo marble Co. or Vitro Agate, or Marble King , all are in WV or southern OH. Hopefully they're still in business.

Doug Sheridan
09-01-2011, 02:11 PM
I hope they are willing to pay well to make those by hand. But, if you can't find domestic marble production, these guys can make them up to 19". I know we're 'posed to hate Alibaba, but that's big. http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/50555751/Crystal_Clear_Glass_Marbles.html

Here's Marble King's take on Fenton closing, sucks all over:

Eben Horton
09-01-2011, 03:37 PM
this job might... just might.. oh it pains me to say it... it just make you loose your marbles.

HA! sorry:)

Alexander Adams
09-01-2011, 04:05 PM
Learn to make robots
Ed Skeels, Giant Rondels for LDS Cathedral.

Michael Mccain
09-01-2011, 04:35 PM
Why would I buy from China when I employ Cuban nationals? Tom thanks for the connection, I'm gonna do it my way first and when that doesn't work I was gonna lathe my own corkscrews out of graphite. To clarify they're just clear, semi full spheres of various diameter. They make me use system nuggets so the perfection factor is what it is.
As far as robots go, I've got an auto frit loader/shaker/sifter in the works for recycling strip glass.

Tom Fuhrman
09-01-2011, 04:53 PM
I don't think graphite corkscrews will work, The graphite won't take enough heat out of them as they need it and I think you'll have problems. Also get a good look at the corkscrews that have been used. As I recall there are a few details to them that aren't apparent on first looking at them. Not an easy thing to machine either. I think the guys in WV can probably do it way cheaper than you can even think about it. They get their cullet delivered for pennies/lb. Much cheaper than Gabbert. They can sell marbles as cheap or not cheaper than others sell cullet. I've taken several on the "board" to one of these factories and they were amazed. They run 24 hours/day, non stop. When you get over about 1 1/2" is when it really gets tricky doing with the corkscrew method.

Eben Horton
09-03-2011, 08:30 PM
what are the marbles for?

Larry Cazes
09-04-2011, 12:34 AM
what are the marbles for?

For Art of course.

John Riepma
09-04-2011, 06:37 AM
maybe for "facilitating" someones art.

Lawrence Duckworth
02-22-2014, 08:15 PM
when you fire polish, use oxy-hydrogen if you want a clean line. propane will scum it.

Will O/A work? I get a haze on the outer edge of the heated area. Can a flame adjustment fix that?

David Hopman
02-22-2014, 09:08 PM
I think Acetylene scums a lot more than propane.

Pete VanderLaan
02-23-2014, 06:57 AM
Acetylene is too dirty and leaves carbon deposits. They keep trying to use it in the China factory and I keep making them go back to propane . Flame adjustment will not work. To be really clean, you need hydrogen and oxygen.

Lawrence Duckworth
02-23-2014, 07:45 AM

the "Scum" can be polished out though - is that correct?

Pete VanderLaan
02-23-2014, 07:52 AM
It's just not worth the time and effort. It would be faster to make a new piece than to repair one. It also looks repaired.