Introduction: K'nex Pinball Machine

Picture of K'nex Pinball Machine
Hey everyone!  I'm proud to present my latest project; a full sized, playable, arcade-style K'nex pinball machine!  It took around four months to complete and way too long to film.  Feel free to ask any questions and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed building it!  Comment and subscribe!

A couple notes:

There are three main "features" of the machine.  There are two holes in the floor leading to lifts.  The first path shown in the video is one of these holes, and it leads to a chain lift.  Out of the lift, the ball drops into a flipper and onto a tubed path which winds its way around the entire machine, then back into the middle of the machine where it gets slightly more complicated.

Another feature is next to the left flipper.  The ball drops underneath the machine, and a lift carries it all the way back to the top, where it drops onto the red/green track.

The last feature, which I spent the most time on, is the other hole in the floor.  The mill lift carries the ball to the top, and the ball then drops into a holder.  A second ball is required to release the first one, and both are carried up the back by two small chain lifts.  Once they drop off, they both descend the entire machine, going through a double loop, then another single loop to reach the table.  An interesting note about this feature is that one motor powers all three lifts.  There's a picture showing the gearbox that transmits power to the two small chain lifts.



Knexmaster888 (author)2014-09-04

I just made a pinball machine

seth hettinga (author)2014-01-26


bearfield (author)2013-06-12

it is absolutely amazing that someone could build that in their basement. my 11 year old daughter and her girlfriend have built the 3 circus rides which include the ferris wheel and 2 others, with very little help from me. k nex is awesome stuff, and what you have done is nothing short of spectacular. WELL DONE.

dickheijboer (author)2013-05-16

Massive! Huge!

metalsonic (author)2013-04-18

awsome !!!

dr. richtofen (author)2013-02-16

This is just beautiful! Amazing job!

BlueSuneLIght (author)2012-11-22

That is amazing!
Great Job!

btrog (author)2012-11-14

How do you do it?

kewrw28 (author)2012-11-07

That was worth every penny...The Mind Blower. Absolutly Fantastic.

JoJoJo00 (author)2012-11-04

Dude, no way!
AWESOME! What shadowman said!

SenKat (author)2012-10-18

OHMYGOD !!!! THAT is Splendicularilly Phantastikal ! Other than the obvious fortune you musta spent getting all of those parts together, the amount of time it took had to have been VAST ! Thanks for sharing, this is by far the most impressive machine I think I have EVER seen !

Alocke (author)SenKat2012-10-27

Thank you so much!

Edgar (author)Alocke2012-10-28


bunnydeath (author)2012-10-18

Wow, that's a lot of work. Beautifully done! I second the post on your patience.

Alocke (author)bunnydeath2012-10-27

Thank you so much! It's one of my favorite pastimes, especially after a crappy day at school. I just put in headphones and can build for hours on end :D

Edgar (author)2012-10-18

A great idea, and a great Video for watching, over 5 minutes time off and a Beer!

Gone to my Portuguese Gizmo Blog:

Alocke (author)Edgar2012-10-27

Thank you so much!

KWHCoaster (author)2012-10-19

Wow!! Impressive. Even more impressive is the ability of those four leg to hold up all of that weight!!

Alocke (author)KWHCoaster2012-10-27

I've actually heard this from a couple of people. When I first started it, that thought wasn't even in my mind. The plastic that K'nex are made of are really really great in compression (think about trying to squish a blue rod by its ends), and not so great in tension (think pulling apart). From what I can tell, none of my rods were bent from the weight.


www139 (author)2012-10-27

very cool and I like the filming job :D

Alocke (author)www1392012-10-27

Thank you! This was the first thing I've really shot and edited entirely by myself, and I'm really happy with how it came out :)

Alocke (author)www1392012-10-27

Thank you! This was the first thing I've really shot and edited entirely by myself, and I'm really happy with how it came out :)

audioadvisory38 (author)2012-10-21

Inspired, calming

MootScience (author)2012-10-20

How many tubs of knex did it take to build this?

Deseada (author)2012-10-19

Awesome... I totally agree with tjesse above. Inspiring.

Instruction is not just a step by step process that we lead people through, pointing out each step along the way. It is also the process of the mind in which discovery and imagination fires off and explodes outward in creativity.

What is the title of the song please? It has a very nice sense of discovery and playfulness to go along with your video, good choice.

Alocke (author)Deseada2012-10-20

Thank you!

The song is Approaching Nirvana - Worth a Thousand Pictures

Deseada (author)Alocke2012-10-20

Thank you! Already checking out their other titles on youtube. :)

knexpert#10829476 (author)2012-10-20

Holy Freakin Out!!

wanna beco (author)2012-10-19

I bet that video took as long to make as the pinball machine. Very nicely done. I'm so glad to see this kind of creativity!

jameshumig (author)2012-10-18

As an engineer, all I have to say is:

Where do you put the quarters?
And WOW, nice work!

Alocke (author)jameshumig2012-10-18

I really wanted to make it coin activated, but time was a big factor in this build. If time weren't an issue, I would have made it coin activated, as well as keep score. I also would have made it more like a typical pinball game, with bumpers, short tracks, and things on the playing field, but I ran out of time.

pdee-1 (author)2012-10-18

This is not a set of instructions and offers no useable information.

I don't know how much money this site gets promoting K'nex but it's enough to make me want to stop using it.

Go show off your toys elsewhere, if you wish to assist others in the development of DIY projects, get a new set of tools.

Don't get me wrong, this is kind of cool, but I don't see how this, or any other K'nex project is appropriate to this site.

Alocke (author)pdee-12012-10-18

You're right -- I don't have instructions for this. I posted it in an attempt to both show others what K'nex are capable of, as well as inspire others to push their own boundaries. If just one person decides to pursue a technical career due to the inspiration this post hopefully gives, then "no useable information" is not valid. By the way you spelled usable wrong. Your negativity is unnecessary and not welcome here, hence the "be nice" comment policy.

tjesse (author)pdee-12012-10-18

This site offers a way for anyone to showcase their projects. Instructions for this may be useful for someone with the drive, skill, and time to do a project like this; however, someone with these qualities typically only need the inspiration and not a step-by-step tutorial. Toys like these have a place on this site due to the fact that they allow younger builders to explore the fundamentals of design, engineering and trial and error with only a minor degree difficulty (compared to other methods). I'm not saying that the person who built this was a child or unskilled, I am just merely defending the choice of using this site to display projects like these. I have heard stories about top engineers using erector sets in their work or were inspired as a kid by using such products.
Pdee-1, If you do decide to stop using this site, the DIY community will move on with your absence. For the record, the only time I have ever used this product was maybe a few times, I certainly have never bought K'nex or work for the K'nex company, but I do see there value.

Microbe (author)pdee-12012-10-18

Looking at your list of negative comments and the fact that you have yet to actually post an instructable yourself, perhaps keeping silent is a better option.

RobTurrentine (author)2012-10-18

Just amazing. I'm all for posting things like this just because it opens up the mind to the possibilities that are out there. I don't see how you could explain how to build this anyway. The instructions for building a jet aircraft don't exist in any one place but they still get built. Thanks for sharing this with us!

chabias (author)2012-10-18

All I can say is 'WOW'! Just WOW!!

LMAO @ the person who asked 'where are the instructions?' Seriously?? LOL

jakmant1221 (author)2012-10-14

holy hell

bunnydeath (author)jakmant12212012-10-18

pretty much!

Angelbane (author)2012-10-18

This is awesome but ... where are the instructions

torstenp16 (author)2012-10-18

This is amazing! I have a friend who used to be totally into k'nex, but he never got into stuff this awesome, he kind of just moved on...

I like how you were able to make all the different devices and features flow into each other. All the stuff I've been able to make is very modular and boring, because that's usually all you can do with k'nex.

I think you would make a fortune if you sold this to k'nex and they gave you royalties and such. you should definitely try!

alcurb (author)2012-10-18

That is so fantastically amazing. You hit this one out of the park! An even higher dimension to pinball machines!

I like the video shoot and editing. Very nice.

If you could scale one up, 50x or bigger, you will have designed an incredible amusement park ride (minus the flippers of course). The rider sits in a well-padded rolling cage.

shaune23 (author)2012-10-18

Fantastic work. You amaze me with your ability to construct the whole thing.

woodworker123 (author)2012-10-18

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!! I would never have the patience to make something like that.
Great Job!!!!!!!!!

MarkPowell (author)2012-10-18

Beautifully Done!

jameshond (author)2012-10-17


KneXtreme (author)2012-10-15

Wow! Awesome job! By far this is the most epic pinball machine ever.

Shadowman39 (author)2012-10-14

This is a great combination between a pinball machine and several ball machine components. Definitely my favorite pinball machine. :-D

Alocke (author)Shadowman392012-10-14

Thanks man!

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi! I'm Andrew, an engineering student at CU. I like building with k'nex, and learning how to cook. I'm currently working on ... More »
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