Introduction: Convolution - K'nex Ball Machine

This is Convolution, my latest ball machine! It's been a long building process, enjoy!

Some stats:

-6 lifts

-6 motors

-15 balls

-24 tracks

-30 834 pieces

There are many new elements in this machine, such as the inverted top-hat, the giant helix and the quintuple interlocking loops.

Construction lasted from July 2013 to August 2014.

If you've always wondered how a room machine is built, here in the next few steps, I show never before seen pictures of the planning and construction of the machine.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Picture of Make a Plan

I always make some plans before I start my new machines. First, I plan it out roughly in my head, then jot down some sketches, and sometimes make a digital blueprint (both seen above). These plans serve purpose to where I want to place my furniture, as well as the main support beams of the machine. The plans may change slightly over the course of the construction of the machine as well. The second picture is closer to the final product than the first one, but both were useful in the planning of the machine.

Step 2: Do Some Testing

Picture of Do Some Testing

Before I started this machine, I did some testing to see what beam would serve best for the supports of the machine. I took the 2 best designs and placed the same amount of weight on them, with equal spans until one broke. Here you can see the initial testing results. The beam that did not fail was indeed the beam design I used in the machine.

Step 3: Begin the Frame

Picture of Begin the Frame

These are images from the first day of construction of the machine. I always make the main structural supports first, to get a feel for the machine, then begin to make the tracks from there.

Step 4: Begin to Make Elements and Lifts

Picture of Begin to Make Elements and Lifts

Once the supports are done, its time to get creative. From this point on, its just a matter of making the paths and connecting all of the lifts to each other. This is the most time intensive but fun part of making the machine. I've included a few pictures of my construction process, just to spark a few ideas. Now you know how I make my machine, go ahead and make one for yourself!

Hope you like my creation I've worked so hard on, and thanks for viewing!


gamergrill420 (author)2016-02-04

i want to get a new set of parts around the same amount but im worried its gunna cost a fortune, and tips on most used parts so i can make a realistic list?

Check above for a piece list. Sorry, for some reason it bugged and did not reply to your comment. If you have any other questions feel free to ask :)

koolcoasterkid (author)2016-02-04

Here is the piece list:

Rods (16190)
17 carbon red rod
1949 red rods
3335 white rods
649 gold rods
785 grey rods
3757 blue rods
2830 green rods
2606 yellow rods
103 flexible yellow rod
147 flexi
12 carbon grey rod

Connectors (12978)
277 tan lock clip
40 small blue clip
461 y clip
932 ladder
1807 gold tab connector
2248 yellow connector
268 two slot grey connector
858 grey one way connector
761 green connector
508 snow flake
1249 red connector
2028 purple 3D
1340 blue 3D
2 orange angle connector
199 orange track splice

Gears/Motors (68)
1 battery motor
10 small gears
33 medium red gears
5 large yellow gears
4 medium yellow gears
5 worm gear
5 electric motor
5 power adaptor

Pannels (82)
10 square panel 9 hole
3 triangle panel 15 hole
6 triangle panel 36 hole
3 square panel 1 hole
37 triangle panel 3 hole
23 triangle panel no hole

Misc (1506)
6 medium tire
6 large tire
12 large wheel hub
6 small tire
6 small wheel hub
7 head top
381 chain
6 large ball joint ball
6 large ball joint socket
469 blue spacer
370 grey spacer
52 hinge half blue 0.09
52 hinge half black
64 ball joint ball
67 ball joint socket
5 flexi tubes
5 clear tubes
6 tube connectors

Total estimated price is $4723.94

koolcoasterkid (author)2015-12-04

Haha, well there are actually a few people on this site who have more than me for sure! :P

EpicMinecrafter870 (author)2015-02-13

When you're sleeping, it falls on you.

Fission Chips (author)2014-10-22

Amazing! How many pieces?

Thanks. I have yet to take the machine down to get a better estimate of the amount of pieces, but I'm guessing around 25000.

www139 (author)2014-09-27

congrats on winning 1st prize... and for the feature! Nice job! :P

koolcoasterkid (author)www1392014-10-11


www139 (author)koolcoasterkid2014-10-12

you're welcome! :D

www139 (author)2014-08-11

Very cool! How many pieces?

koolcoasterkid (author)www1392014-08-12

Thanks! I'll find out how many pieces when I take it down, I'm going to do a piece count.

www139 (author)koolcoasterkid2014-09-27

oh ok.

ryry2011 (author)2014-09-09

nice set up and planning

poil87 (author)2014-09-05

Wow this is just amazing =)

Portaldominates (author)2014-08-19

what did you use for the blueprint?

If you mean what I used to make the blueprint, it was a app for iPad called PadCAD Lite.

oh thanks

Knextus (author)2014-09-03

I think Convolution is really cool.

Doc Penguin (author)2014-09-01

just imagine that collapsing when youre sleeping

Sorunome (author)2014-08-12

Wait, you actually made a plan? O.O

koolcoasterkid (author)Sorunome2014-08-12

Of course I did! I always make plans before I begin my machines. :p

I actually never do that :p But I guess it can be usefull for this kind of machines, the structure is different than the kind of machines Sorunome and I make.

I was thinking the same :p

hmbmideas (author)2014-08-17

Wooooooooooow I would spend all my money on that

Victor805 (author)2014-08-12

That's huge! Looks like it could crush you if it falls on you. LOL

koolcoasterkid (author)Victor8052014-08-15

Don't worry, It's not going to fall any time soon :p

www139 (author)2014-08-15

Congrats on making it to the finals!

koolcoasterkid (author)www1392014-08-15

Couldent have done it without you guys ;)

hunter999 (author)2014-08-15

Congratulations on being a finalist!!! :D

koolcoasterkid (author)hunter9992014-08-15


sathothy (author)2014-08-15

The dutch knex facebook page shared a picture of it!

sathothy (author)2014-08-14

That's awesome! I like the weird loop thing!

hex4d617474 (author)2014-08-13

That must have cost thousands in parts

Milz2000 (author)2014-08-13

How do you sleep at night with that over your head great build I applaud you good sir

Ben Finio (author)2014-08-13

The sheer scale of that is mind-boggling. Great job!

jbrauer (author)2014-08-12

I don't know if I should call it a work of art or a marvel of engineering, it's a little of both - maybe I'll call it an engineering masterpiece. Very nice work.

Verticees (author)2014-08-12


Sorunome (author)2014-08-12

Also, congrats on feature :P

Lucas The Boss (author)2014-08-12

Dang this is amazing

fozzy13 (author)2014-08-12

I'm not usually one for K'nex projects, but this is one hell of a ball machine. Thanks for sharing the process with the rest of us and nice work!

enelson8 (author)2014-08-12

Wow!! Great job! Keep up the good work! I'm definitely voting for you!

legochest (author)2014-08-12


Tater Zoid (author)2014-08-12

WOW! This is one of the most amazing feats of engineering I have ever seen.

sandroknexmaster (author)2014-08-12

Looks amazing, one of the best ball machines ever made!

tofugami (author)2014-08-11

Massively beautiful!

Gargamel-Knex (author)2014-08-11

Cool k'nex ballmachine :)

nerfrocketeer (author)2014-08-11

Cool! Great job!

www139 (author)2014-08-11


Knex2thelimit (author)2014-08-11

Fantastic job! I love how you showed how you made the machine; I always wondered how these giant ones were built. ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, I'm Nick. On most sites (like YouTube and SSCoasters) I'm known as koolcoasterkid. I mainly build K'nex ball machines(the kind ... More »
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