This instructable does not give steps on any particular ball machine, but rather how to build one in general.
Ball machines are the luxurious side to k'nex; these use thousands of pieces. If you do not have thousands of pieces, but rather have somewhere around 400, this is not for you. Sorry. You could always try, though.
These steps are essentially what I do when making my machines.
Step 1: Preliminary Issues
Second is possibly the most important step, as it will save you countless hours. It will be painful, but, SORT THY PIECES! Yes, take apart ALL your models and get many, many bags (or Boxes). Sort them all!
What you Need to build a Ball Machine:
Thousands of pieces
Bags or Boxes
Lots of Spare Time
And next, the building? Hecks no! You still have much to learn, young Skywalker! do NOT start building your first ball machine yet, or you might make a FATAL ERROR! (Like I did when building Project DESTINY)!!!
You should be done with your painful sorting after a few days, so then, again, onward ho!
Step 2: The Golden CONCEPT!
Anyways, the concept is the idea that your machine will be built upon. This concept is basically a recurring element in the ball machine.
Examples of Concepts are:
-A Very TALL machine! (Vendetta and Reaper)
-A Very SMALL machine! (Nano and Deux)
(those two are among the simplest concepts)
-A machine with multiple separate Towers! (Quadrivium)
-A machine with multiple lifts! (Destiny)
-A Machine supported by its own Elements
(These are more structurally based concepts)
-A machine utilizing a NEW lift method!
-A Machine centered around a Roller Coaster Drop! (Not really the -xXxXx-)
-A machine with an ORANGE drop!
-A machine with mostly paths!
-A Ball machine with an infused FERRIS WHEEL! (maybe the ferris wheel can even be part of the machine!)
-A machine with OBSTACLES! (Across the Nightmare. A very icky machine)
-A machine of SPIRALS! ( A vamped up Archimedes?)
-A machine with multiple synchronized paths(An idea I had, it would be incredibly difficult.)
-A machine of staircases
-A machine of Choice Separators (A machine of choices?)
-A Machine infused with a Roller Coaster!
-A Machine For MARBLES! (Not very fun)
-A Machine that goes around an area! (Not a ball tower, but rather a giant area)
-A machine linking separate rooms!
-A mail delivering machine!
-A Sheer Drop
If YOU have any other good Concepts, PM me and i shall put them up!
So, now you can choose one of these concepts (though many of them are Guru concepts), or make up your own, and now, BUILDING! (Just kidding, back to work young Skywalker)
Step 3: Tips On Concepts: Tall Towers (Optional)
At heights of 11+ feet, you will surely want to use Red Rods, unless you can afford to splurge a lot.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, use gray rods to secure the tower. That is why Reaper failed.
And at heights of 14+ feet, you surely want a ginormous foot and support towers. Just the weight of the tower is enough to send it crashing down at 15+ feet if it is not perfectly balanced.
When you finally get to building elements, obviously you will not want to climb up to put on individual pieces and parts.
What you SHOULD do is instead to take off section of the tower, build on them at regular level, then place them back.
Step 4: Design (Optional but Recommended)
You should use one unit as either red, blue, or yellow rods, depending on what size you're doing.
Draw it from the top, bottom and all sides.
Then building the tower will be far easier!
And now, young Jedi, it is finally time to BUILD!!!
Step 5: The Foot and Lift system
First, I'm going to presume that you are going to be using a chain lift. in this case, you may want to use the classic 1x2 method - each section of the tower being one one unit wide and two units long.
The picture below portrays what I consider the best loading system. HOWEVER, you can extend the Area for larger machines. The one below is intended for tiny machines.
Step 6: The Tower
You will be building anywhere between 9(2') and 30(7') individual 2x1 pieces. This will take a while. You will need (Per piece, on average):
8 Purple Connectors
2 Blue Connectors (But white connectors would work as well)
12 Blue/Yellow/Red Rods
6 Yellow/Red/Gray Rods
So then you stack these to make a wave-like pattern, like
Until you reach your desired height. But don't use too many pieces, you'll need more for the ELEMENTS (Gasp!)
Onwards to the next step!
Step 7: The Top
There is little freedom in the top. You can change around parts a bit but in general, it stays pretty constant.
Step 8: Support Towers
To add a support tower, build a tower of lesser statue next to your original tower, and connect the two, best in two ways.
Step 9: The Chain
Step 10: The Choice Seperators!
If you want more than four, wait now and put another Separator further down the line, like in -xXxXx-
Step 11: The ELEMENTS!
How should you arrange the elements? I like making them from the top up. If you work down, if you make an error you can quickly change it.
The best way to make elements is to either,
A: make up your own (Not easy)
B:Take a previously made idea and modify it a little bit. This is what i do MOST of the time, I don't directly plagiarize it but i change it's build or size.
The elements, hmm. I'll make a whole 'nother Instructable on them...
But for NOW, just look at some of my videos for inspiration.
ALSO, to connect, use pathing.