Introduction: Knex Modified Stepper Lift

Picture of Knex Modified Stepper Lift
Hello everyone! It sure has been a long time since I made an Instructable.  This lift is based on the stepper lift that was in a Knex set, except it doesn't use as much friction when the carts have to slide on rods. Instead, the carts are on small towers that are attached to axles. So, you can make it as high as you want! This lift was originally built in my unfinished Knex ball machine (pictures below). Since then, I have improved it, and it works much better than the original. :-) Also, I decided I would make this lift in the Power Tower Crane/Lost Mines color scheme, mainly because I was out of yellow connectors at the time of starting it. :-P

Here is a video of the lift in action:

Note: This version does not work with newer Knex balls (from Motorized Madness, Big Air Ball Tower, etc). But, you could modify it to fit those types of balls.

I hope you like it!
Also, I thought I might mention about my inactivity. I haven't been building Knex for a year or active on any websites because I was playing Minecraft the whole time. :-P But now I'm back into Knex again, and I'm building a big project (not a ball machine) that I will keep as a surprise as usual. I'm excited about being active again! :-)

Step 1: Piece Harvesting

Picture of Piece Harvesting
You'll need these pieces to make the modified stepper lift. Note that the pieces are labeled as their classic colors, but of course you can use any color you want.

Rods: 826
  • green- 140
  • white- 92
  • blue- 302
  • yellow- 185
  • red- 88
  • gray- 19
Connectors: 634
  • dark gray- 54
  • light gray- 25
  • red- 66
  • green- 37
  • yellow- 107
  • white- 21
  • orange- 46
  • blue- 48
  • purple- 230
Other: 371
  • Y-clip- 42
  • tan clip- 20
  • blue spacer- 152
  • silver spacer- 150
  • battery-powered motor (new style*)- 1
  • ball socket clip- 2
  • small gear- 2
  • medium gear- 1
  • large gear- 1
Total: 1831

Of course, you'll also need original Knex balls.

*You don't have to use the newer style motor, but you'll have to slightly modify the motor section to fit a different motor. Also, keep in mind that using the electric plug-in motor will make the lift run faster.

If you don't have all of these pieces, then you may be able to use less in some areas, but it may not work as well.

Now that you've gathered all of the pieces you'll need, let's get building!

Step 2: Base Tower Part 1

Picture of Base Tower Part 1

Let's start off with something easy: the base towers. You will build the right and left side, and then combine them.

Pic. 1- This will be the left side of the towers.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- The other side (right side).
Pic. 4- Another view.
Pic. 5- Another view.
Pic. 6- Close-up.
Pic. 7- Now combine the two sides.

Step 3: Base Towers, Part 2

Picture of Base Towers, Part 2

Now you'll make the next section of towers to complete the base towers. Like in Step 2, there are two sides that you will attach together. Then put it on the previous section you built (Step 2).

Pic. 1- Left side.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- Don't forget the gray connector!
Pic. 4- Now make the right side.
Pic. 5- Another view of the middle part.
Pic. 6- Another view.
Pic. 7- Attach the two sides together.
Pic. 8- This is the first axle thing.
Pic. 9- Another view.
Pic. 10- A close-up of the spacers.
Pic. 11- Another close-up of the spacers.
Pic. 12- Now add the axle to the towers.
Pic. 13- Another view.
Pic. 14- Another view.
Pic. 15- Get 4 yellow rods (or gold rods in my case).
Pic. 16- 2 yellow rods will go to each tower, attached on the axle connectors.
Pic. 17- Grab what you made in Step 2.
Pic. 18- Combine them like so.
Pic. 19- A view of the middle.

Step 4: Entrance Track Section, Part 1

Picture of Entrance Track Section, Part 1

This track section will be part of the base.

Pic. 1- This is part of the entrance track.
Pic. 2- This is the other part.
Pic. 3- Build these two thingies.
Pic. 4- Connect all of the 4 parts you have built together, including blue spacers.
Pic. 5- Another view.
Pic. 6- Two more thingies to build.
Pic. 7- Attach them like so.
Pic. 8- Another view.
Pic. 9- Don't build these. I just took the picture for viewing pleasure. (But seriously now, build them). :-P
Pic. 10- Attach the sides to the sides of the track.
Pic. 11- Another view.
Pic. 12- Add another section onto it.
Pic. 13- A closer view. There is a dark gray connector in between the green connectors.
Pic. 14- Now add the track section to the base towers.
Pic. 15- Don't forget to connect all of the connections!
Pic. 16- Another view, at the front.

Step 5: Entrance Track Section, Part 2

Picture of Entrance Track Section, Part 2

After you're done with this step, you'll be done with the entrance track.

Pic. 1- Build this part of a tower support.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- This is another section.
Pic. 4- Another view.
Pic. 5- Now Get both sections.
Pic. 6- Attach them together.
Pic. 7- Make this track piece.
Pic. 8- Connect it to the tower section.
Pic. 9- A new section to build.
Pic. 10- Gather all the stuff you have built.
Pic. 11- Connect the gray rods to the axle.
Pic. 12- Attach one of the sections to the base.
Pic. 13- Another view.
Pic. 14- Another view.
Pic. 15- Now get the other section.
Pic. 16- Attach it to the rest.
Pic. 17- Another view.
Pic. 18- Build this small track piece.
Pic. 19- Attach it like so.
Pic. 20- Another view.

Step 6: Towers, Part 1

Picture of Towers, Part 1

This is the first section of the towers, which have the second axle.

Pic. 1- Build the towers.
Pic. 2- Axle.
Pic. 3- Another view.
Pic. 4- Another view.
Pic. 5- Build these, they will attach to the axle.
Pic. 6- Attach them like so.
Pic. 7- Another view.
Pic. 8- Now you will combine to make the entire thing taller.
Pic. 9- Combined.
Pic. 10- Another view.

Step 7: Towers, Part 2

Picture of Towers, Part 2

This tower section is similar to the previous one you built. It has yet another axle.

Pic. 1- Build.
Pic. 2- Another view of the axle.
Pic. 3- Another view.
Pic. 4- Another view.
Pic. 5- Do these supports look familiar?
Pic. 6- Attach the supports to the axle.
Pic. 7- Get the rest of the lift.
Pic. 8- Attach it like so.
Pic. 9- Another view.

Step 8: Towers, Part 3

Picture of Towers, Part 3

This is the last section of the towers.

Pic. 1- This is the left side of the towers.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- Another view.
Pic. 4- The right side.
Pic. 5- Another view.
Pic. 6- This is the top axle.
Pic. 7- Another view, showing the spacers.
Pic. 8- Another view.
Pic. 9- Get the other tower sections.
Pic. 10- Attach the axle to the towers.
Pic. 11- A view of the center.
Pic. 12- Another view.

Step 9: Exit Track Section

Picture of Exit Track Section

This will attach to the third tower section. After you're done, the towers will be finished.

Pic. 1- Exit track.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- This is the entrance track support.
Pic. 4- Another view.
Pic. 5- Now get the towers you built in Step 8.
Pic. 6- Attach the track support.
Pic. 7- Another view.
Pic. 8- Connect the track.
Pic. 9- Another view.
Pic. 10- Get the rest of the lift.
Pic. 11- Combine the towers to the rest.
Pic. 12- Another view.

Step 10: Motor Section

Picture of Motor Section

Now you will begin on finishing the very top of the lift by building the motor section and gears.

Pic. 1- Build this small section.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- Make sure to install batteries in the motor before you attach it!
Pic. 4- Connect the motor to the small section.
Pic. 5- Another view.
Pic. 6- Here is another small section.
Pic. 7- Another view.
Pic. 8- Attach it to the motor section to make a larger motor section.
Pic. 9- Another view.
Pic. 10- The gears will attach to this section.
Pic. 11- Another view.
Pic. 12- Now build the gears.
Pic. 13- Attach the gears to the gear section.
Pic. 14- Another view.
Pic. 15- Connect the gear section to the motor section like so.
Pic. 16- Another view.
Pic. 17- One more small support to build.
Pic. 18- Attach it to the motor/gear section.

Step 11: Top

Picture of Top

This section will almost complete the top.

Pic. 1- This is one of three sections that you will build.
Pic. 2- Another section.
Pic. 3- Another view.
Pic. 4- Another view.
Pic. 5- And yet another view.
Pic. 6- The last section.
Pic. 7- Now get all three sections.
Pic. 8- Attach them together.
Pic. 9- A view showing the connections.
Pic. 10- Get the motor section.
Pic. 11- Combine the two parts.

Step 12: Crankshaft

Picture of Crankshaft

After you build this and attach stuff together, you'll be done with the towers!

Pic. 1- Build this crankshaft.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- Another view.
Pic. 4- A view of the crank.
Pic. 5- Another view.
Pic. 6- Get the top. Guess what you're about to do? No, not attach them together!
Pic. 7- Just kidding, attach the crankshaft to the top. Make sure you don't forget any connections.
Pic. 8- Another view.
Pic. 9- A close-up of the gears.
Pic. 10- More combining! Get the rest of the lift.
Pic. 11- Attach the top to the top.
Pic. 12- Another view.
Pic. 13- Another view.

Step 13: Top Cart

Picture of Top Cart

This is one of the carts that will carry the balls up to the top.

Pic. 1- Build this bit.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- Here is another small bit.
Pic. 4- Another view.
Pic. 5- Now combine the two bits.
Pic. 6- Another view.
Pic. 7- Build these two rod things. Ignore the image note.
Pic. 8- Attach them to the cart.
Pic. 9- Build the cart support.
Pic. 10- Attach it. The rods will slide into the red connectors.
Pic. 11- Just one more section. Ignore the image note.
Pic. 12- Another view.
Pic. 13- Now attach it.
Pic. 14- Another view.

Step 14: Bottom Cart

Picture of Bottom Cart

In this step, you'll repeat Step 13. But, there are some changes you'll need to make, as shown in Pic. 1-3. The red rods should be yellow rods, and the red connectors should be yellow connectors.

Pic. 1- This is the bottom cart. Notice the differences between it and the top cart. (yellow connectors and yellow rods).
Pic. 2- Those red rods will be yellow rods (refer to Pic. 1).
Pic. 3- The red connectors should be yellow connectors (refer to Pic. 1).
Pic. 4- After the bottom cart in Pic. 1 is done, build these.
Pic. 5- Attach them to the bottom cart.

Step 15: Cart Tower

Picture of Cart Tower

This small tower will connect both of the carts.

Pic. 1- Build the small tower.
Pic. 2- Another view.
Pic. 3- Now get the top and bottom carts.
Pic. 4- A view of the top cart attached.
Pic. 5- A view of the bottom cart attached.
Pic. 6- Another view.

Step 16: Repeat

Picture of Repeat

One side of the carts is finished, but you will build the other side now. Repeat Steps 13-15, and then you'll have both sides.

Step 17: Adding the Carts

Picture of Adding the Carts

You're almost done! Just attach the cart sections to the axles. Make sure the supporting parts of the axles are facing up!

Pic. 1- Get the rest of the lift.
Pic. 2- Attach the cart sections to each side of the axles. It doesn't matter which side goes where, since they are the same. Notice the supports on the axles are facing up.
Pic. 3- View of the middle.
Pic. 4- View of the top.
Pic. 5- View of the bottom.
Pic. 6- Another view.
Pic. 7- Attach the part of the crankshaft to the top axle (two blue rods attach to two dark gray connectors).

Step 18: You Are Done!

Picture of You Are Done!

Give yourself a pat on the back for finishing the modified stepper lift! No really, do it, you know you want to. Now get balls, load them in, and turn the motor on! Make sure the switch is pushed to the outside, not towards the crank.

If you build the lift, then post a picture in the comments, and I'll add it to this step. :-)

Remember, there are many ways to modify it, like making it taller, using different-colored pieces, etc.

Thanks for viewing this Instructable! If you have any questions/comments/concerns, post them below. And, as always, subscribe follow and rate as well if you want to. I won't force you to of course. ;-)


imans314 (author)2015-07-28

Thank you!

hunter999 (author)2014-02-06

I would use this lift, but man dat piece count! :-P

Nice job on it anyways. Innovative as always

Shadowman39 (author)hunter9992014-02-06

Thanks man! And yeah, this is probably the most piece-consuming lift that I've posted. :-P

OZKNEX22 (author)2013-04-07

I'm up to this step can't wait to finish,I mite build a ball machine with this lift if I can??? Anyway it's a wry cool,awesome and crazy lift.

Shadowman39 (author)OZKNEX222013-04-08

Cool, and thanks! You should build a ball machine with it. :-)

cooljupjup (author)2013-02-25

hi i make it a little bit faster i replace the yellow gear with the red gear and it also works :)

Shadowman39 (author)cooljupjup2013-02-25


cooljupjup (author)2013-02-22

hey dude this lift works with the newer balls i change some time in the cars. but iàm goning to use this in my ballmachine :D

Shadowman39 (author)cooljupjup2013-02-22

Yeah, it requires modifying to work with the newer balls.

cooljupjup (author)Shadowman392013-02-22

but it works and thank you for make isntructions for this lift :D

cooljupjup (author)cooljupjup2013-02-22


cooljupjup (author)2013-02-21

hi can you tell me how to fix it with the newer balls?

cooljupjup (author)2013-02-18

i wnat ot make this 2 cars higher. but it ruined my motor?

Shadowman39 (author)cooljupjup2013-02-19

How did it ruin it? And what motor are you using?

cooljupjup (author)Shadowman392013-02-19

it will bad my green motor don`t work :-(

cooljupjup (author)2013-02-07

this lift doesn`t work with the black/white balls it falls of the cars. and it cost to much pieces for me sorry i`m nog going to use it

Shadowman39 (author)cooljupjup2013-02-08

In the Ible intro there's a note at the bottom saying that. And yeah, it's a pretty expensive lift. :-P

sandroknexmaster (author)2012-06-07

Great lift! It works very good. It's in my next ball machine!

Nice! Glad it worked out well. :-)

poil87 (author)2012-06-06

mine does not work, my knex balls fall out to early out of the carts. Can you help?

Shadowman39 (author)poil872012-06-06

I don't know what exactly your problem is, but if you post a couple pictures of the carts I'll be able to help. :-)

poil87 (author)Shadowman392012-06-06

never mind i fixed it =)

Shadowman39 (author)poil872012-06-07


Sorunome (author)2012-04-29

What is that knex tower in the background of picture 8? (Intro)

Shadowman39 (author)Sorunome2012-04-29

It's a lift I was building for a collab, but we gave up on it.

Sorunome (author)Shadowman392012-04-29

The one between you and rnb?

Shadowman39 (author)Sorunome2012-04-29

No, me Tornado and ALocke.

Sorunome (author)Shadowman392012-04-29

I never knew of that one D:

Orangeprofessor (author)2012-04-14

What was the error with multiple balls

The balls wouldn't transfer from one side to the other due to its height, and the force that it took to push the balls out. That's why I modified it to this version.

In the previous version couldn't you have just a stronger motor or used a counterweight

I don't think that would've helped. Each side was basically balanced anyway, since there were two sides that alternated.

So what was your way of fixing it

Building it like this one. :-P

Shadowman39 (author)2012-04-12


KneXtreme (author)2012-03-24

Picture seven looks like my room, messy.

Shadowman39 (author)KneXtreme2012-03-25

Messy rooms are da bomb! :-D I need to clean it up and vacuum, the rugs are growing hair it seems.

KneXtreme (author)Shadowman392012-03-25

Absolutely! :) Luckily I have hard wood floors ( witch doesn't really help much) I've got dust bunnies running around all over the place :)

Shadowman39 (author)KneXtreme2012-03-25

Having three cats doesn't help with the hair issue haha.

KneXtreme (author)Shadowman392012-03-28

If you think three cats is bad I have four and two dogs.

mathsboy314 (author)KneXtreme2012-04-10

And bunnies

KneXtreme (author)mathsboy3142012-04-10

Thanks for reminding me. I forgot about the bunnies :)

Shadowman39 (author)KneXtreme2012-03-28

Haha, and I thought three was a lot!

albydesign (author)2012-04-06

Great design, just built it! :) However, I've gone through the instructions to make sure I've followed them correctly because when the arm things meet, the ball doesn't transfere... Have you got any idea why this might be happening??

Shadowman39 (author)albydesign2012-04-06

Did you remember the pieces that push the balls out, or make them too short?

albydesign (author)Shadowman392012-04-07

I made them with a grey and a Y clip, but they aren't pushing the balls :(

Shadowman39 (author)albydesign2012-04-07

May I see a picture of the cart?

albydesign (author)Shadowman392012-04-07

I can't! :( for some reason I cant add them to this comment.

Shadowman39 (author)albydesign2012-04-07

Hmm... Try making an unpublished Ible, post the pictures there, and give me the link to the Ible. If that doesn't work, you could email them to me. If you want to email, I'll give you my address in a PM.

albydesign (author)Shadowman392012-04-08

Thanks, I'll do that later :)

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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