Introduction: Citadel Knex Ball Machine

Picture of Citadel Knex Ball Machine

Hello everyone! After 3 years, my ball machine Citadel is finally finished! This machine features around 50 new elements, 5 different lifts, and 2 new path separators that separate into 17 paths. It's also themed, with Knex men all over the place working on it, giving it a factory-type feel with catwalks and stairs. There are 3 total motors, one of which powers all 3 floor lifts. The actual time it took to build is one year, there was just a long break in between. All of the paths (except one) were built in 6 months, starting in December 2015. I hope you enjoy!

Here are the element instructions!

Click here for more pictures!

Here's the video:

Here's the construction album.


Started building: Jan. 21, 2013

Finished building: June 20, 2016

Height: 8 feet

Width: 5 feet 3 inches

Depth: 4 feet 2 inches

Pieces: 50,000 - 60,000

Thanks for viewing!


random_builder (author)2017-02-21

Can you get me instructions for the elements at 1:25, 2:17, and 3:28? I know you are busy, but it would be much appreciated if you could get instructions or lots of pictures for them. I am going to make a medium sized ball machine and would love to have these in it. Thanks!

Are you making a knex ball machine out of those?

I won't make it with those, but yes, I am making a ball machine. The reason I won't use those is there wasn't very good pictures.

Ya. I got some too. They aern't very detailed but I still made them.

Alright, I sent you a PM with the links.

ManMister (author)2017-02-18

How are the instructions for the elements/lifts coming along? Do you have an idea on when they would be posted? I've been trying to re-build the jigsaw lift with the pictures given on your Flickr page. I was able to figure out the design and of the lift, but I'm now struggling with motorizing it.

Shadowman39 (author)ManMister2017-02-19

They're going well, school takes up most of my time so it might be a while. I still have to get pictures for 14 elements and organize the instructions. For motorizing the jigsaw, you have to connect the top crank and bottom crank with a shaft, and attach the motor to that shaft (this part can be seen in the video).

random_builder (author)2017-02-14

I think this is one of the best knex ball machines. I love all the lifts especially the 4 ball one.

Thanks! I plan on making instructions of the vertical jigsaw and stair-arm lift.

blackmage1988 (author)2017-01-14

Hi. Is it possible for you to do an instrucatable for the path separator and also for your lifts? especially the 4 ball lift shown at 0.50 seconds? looking at tackling my first custom ball machine and would love that lift at the heart of mine :) Understand your likely busy but would very much appreciate it if you can :) many thanks

I wasn't really thinking of doing instructions for those, as they use up a lot of pieces. Furthermore, someone made instructions of a twin elevator lift before I had the chance to post mine. I think it would be possible to rebuild the elevators and path separator from pictures though, since the concepts are simple. I will be eventually posting the other lifts, after the elements which I'm working on now.

KneXFAN200 (author)2016-12-20

When do you think you will be done with the new elements instructable? Thanks, KneXFAN200

Shadowman39 (author)KneXFAN2002016-12-20

Sometime near the beginning of next year. I'm not sure how long it will take but hopefully I can get most of it done before school starts.

KneXFAN200 (author)Shadowman392017-01-08

Sorry to bug you again, but are you almost done with the element instructable? About how many more days till you finish it? The reason why I asked again is because I'm in the process of making a ball machine and want some of those elements on there, but I can't put them on because they don't have instructions. I really wan't some of the elements on it! No rush though! Thanks, KneXFAN200

Shadowman39 (author)KneXFAN2002017-01-11

The full guide might take a while longer since I'm starting school soon. But, if you want to build any element in particular I could make the instructions of those elements first and send you a link to the pictures.

KneXFAN200 (author)Shadowman392017-01-12

The element at 3:26 of the video, 4:13, 6:45, and 9:05. THANKS!!!

Shadowman39 (author)KneXFAN2002017-01-14

Alright, I sent you the links in a PM.

KneXFAN200 (author)Shadowman392016-12-20

Awesome!!! I can't wait!!!! I loved ciradel sooooo much and really wanted to build the elements! Thank You!

KneXFAN200 (author)KneXFAN2002016-12-20

Citadel, not Ciradel : )

Proassault (author)2016-12-18

Amazing it's incredible the time that you passed on it!

Great job, like everytime ;)


Shadowman39 (author)Proassault2016-12-18


OfficialKNEXGUY (author)2016-10-24

Shadowman... Still waiting on those elements/lifts! (not in a negative way)

Good work by the way


Sorry for taking so long, it just takes a while as I have to rebuild all of them for the instructions. Thanks though!

Ethan1023 (author)2016-10-03

You know quite how many pieces there are yet?

Shadowman39 (author)Ethan10232016-10-09

No, the machine is still up.

Ethan1023 (author)2016-10-03

You should totally post instructions to those elements.

Shadowman39 (author)Ethan10232016-10-09

I will, I've been busy with school lately.

Ethan1023 (author)2016-09-29

Oh. My. Word. That's MASSIVE!

Shadowman39 (author)Ethan10232016-09-30


Quidditch33 (author)2016-09-27

My jaw literally hit the floor upon looking at this. Truly ingenious and inspiring.

Shadowman39 (author)Quidditch332016-09-28

Thank you!

Quidditch33 (author)Shadowman392016-09-28

...and I felt my jaw breaking the wood flooring when I witnessed that green 'sector' at the bottom. This really has inspired me, Shadow.

Shadowman39 (author)Quidditch332016-09-29

Haha, I'm glad you like it, that part took a while to build.

Quidditch33 (author)Shadowman392016-09-29

Love the creativity, never seen anything like it!

koolcoasterkid (author)2016-09-14


No but seriously, outstanding job buddy! It's going to be hard for me to top this one haha Hope to see more :D

Haha, thanks Koolcoaster!

Borisv9 (author)2016-08-31

It's so beautiful. I almost got tears in my eyes. this looks SO cool!

Shadowman39 (author)Borisv92016-08-31

Haha, thanks!

Borisv9 (author)Shadowman392016-09-01

seriously, no joke, I really LOVE this one. The lifts, elements and everything just looks good together! I also like the Portal reference and the little guys everywhere :)

sandroknexmaster (author)2016-08-26

Great machine, worth the wait! Its overall look is just amazing, I don't know why but it touches my knex heart that, though a bit inactive the past months, still exists :)

Thanks Sandro!

myOmy (author)2016-08-19

Wow, I'm speechless, great work!

Shadowman39 (author)myOmy2016-08-20


Knex Lego Maniac (author)2016-08-10



Excellent work, I knew you would finish it! It is more than worth the wait: with all the brand new element ideas and the theming, I am left speechless. (Beautiful use of hinges in this machine!) Citadel is a new pinnacle for ball machines. Thanks for going out of your way to make this machine almost completely new material, as it is a rarer treat these days. Glad to see you still have "The Shadowman Touch" as you continue to lead the Instructables community in ball machine innovation. :-)

Thanks MCM! I didn't know you were still around, how have you been?

Good! I've been around, though I haven't posted any new ball machines due to my first year of college keeping me occupied. I look around Instructables gleaning ideas for projects and seeing all the new gadgets. I intend to get more creations out there at some point, just taking it easy like you did for awhile. I'm just glad to see big time ball machiners still active.

Ah, I see, what are you studying in college?

About This Instructable




Bio: On my page you'll find lots of different Knex projects, from ball machine lifts to useful items. I hope you enjoy!  _______________________ Current avatar ... More »
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