Step 6: Making Ball Lifters
Scott wanted to make a roller coaster that didn't end. Once the ball bearing reaches the bottom of your track (the board) he worked out a way of lifting them back up. By doing this you can add in more track or send the ball bearings back to the start of your existing track.
Use multiple ball lifters for increased track length.
Making the ball lifters took many many prototypes - and slightly different styles may work better for your ball bearings / making technique. See the picture of all of Scott's different attempts.
The idea here is to make a screw thread from wire wrapped around a central piece of wire, then put this 'threaded' assembly inside a cage that allows the thread to push the ball bearing upwards.
You will have to work out some way of holding the rotating centre - Scott wanted to make as much of the track as possible out of the copper wire but you could try using other bearings/parts if you wish.
We found that an angle of ~35-60 degrees works ok, vertical lifting is quite hard and puts more pressure on the thread and cage.
Experiment with different thicknesses of wire for the thread. It will take a few attempts to get a nice smooth thread.
Attaching the motor: start by making a copper sleeve/adapter out of a tightly coiled length. Once wrapped around the motor shaft it will allow for a good solder connection point to the rotating shaft of the ball lifter.