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Picture of Marble Solitaire

Marble Solitaire is a puzzle involving a board with 45 holes for 45 balls. The goal of the puzzle is to remove all balls from the board leaving just one in the center hole. Making this is a really fun, relatively simple weekend project. At least it's simple until you try and solve it.

How to Play:

  1. Place all 45 marbles on the board, one in each hole.
  2. Remove the center marble.
  3. You can remove marbles by hopping over another marble to an empty spot, similar to checkers. You can only move horizontally and vertically, not diagonally. After hopping over a marble remove that one that was jumped over.
  4. Continue until there are no more possible moves left. The goal is to get one left in the center.

Step 1: Material and Tools

Picture of Material and Tools
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Materials:

  • 2 feet of 3/4" walnut board (~6 inches wide)
  • 45 x 1" marbles (I recommend ordering fancy boulder marbles from MoonMarble.com)
  • A drawstring bag or box to hold all of the marbles

Tools:

  • Miter Saw
  • Drill Press
  • Random Orbital Sander or Mouse Sander
  • 1/2" Drill Bit
  • Assorted Sandpaper - from 120 grit to 400 grit
  • Wood Glue
  • Long Clamps
  • Table Saw
  • Danish Oil
  • Spray Adhesive
lcoelhone made it!9 months ago
Hi,
thanks for the tutorial,
It inspired me to make one too. I made the English layout 33 marbles.

Regards.
Luís
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Zachary Goode (author)  lcoelhone9 months ago
I'm glad that my work inspired you to build this. Good luck trying to solve it! :)
Alex in NZ9 months ago
This is a really nice version of the puzzle, and well done for including the solution as well. I remember my grandfather keeping a yellowed piece of paper which recorded his moves from the first time he solved it.
To stick the template to the base, double-sided tape is pretty good in terms of holding it tight but peeling off afterwards. I used contact cement in this 'Ible and that was a mistake.
Thank you for sharing your work :-)
Zachary Goode (author)  Alex in NZ9 months ago
Thank you. My inspiration for making this was a similar board that my AP Econ teacher has in his room. I spent all of this semester trying to solve it but never managed to, so I decided to make one to have at home and continue solving it.

Double sided tape should work, but I believe spray on adhesive would be optimal (because the template needs to stay on while drilling). Any gummy glue will not work because it will just gum up the sandpaper and make it impossible to remove. Or you could just tape it on, use a punch to mark the location of the holes, take off the template, and drill where the indents are.