Introduction: The Official Guide to K'NEX Ball Machine Elements

Picture of The Official Guide to K'NEX Ball Machine Elements

Since I wanted to make details of new elements I might make in the future, and when I feel like adding other elements here for easier reference, I decided to make this guide to comply as many simple to astounding elements as possible to make reference easier for others as well as myself. This guide will use new elements I make and elements I modify from other ones REMINDER: Most of the elements that are posted on here are modified for the newer, larger balls.

EDIT: Since there were starting to be too many elements in this guide, I've have made a separate guide on just the regular "paths" which can be found here

If you want a guide to lifts, check out 39Shadowman's guide to lifts here.

Step 1: Side Winder

Picture of Side Winder

This is a variation of one of Yardking's elements used in his ball machine Arcane, the one used above is in my ball machine Propulsion.

Step 2: Obstacle Path

Picture of Obstacle Path

This is the larger version of Knextreme's design. The ball will go bonkers moving from left to right.

Step 3: Freefall

Picture of Freefall

Possibly the dullest element ever. The ball simply falls down a chute which is mainly used for connecting elements.

Step 4: Swivel Freefall

Picture of Swivel Freefall

A freefall that is actually interesting but still easy to build, not my idea. 

Step 5: Path Separator

Picture of Path Separator

These path separators are found in any multiple-path ball machines in existence. These act as a shuffleboard for a path a ball will randomly roll on. Multiple ways are possible for building path separators. They can also be diagonal or horizontal (last pic).

Step 6: Ball Alternators

Picture of Ball Alternators

These are like very simple red ball drops except they receive and deposit balls, usually onto other Balll Alternators. The one with the red rods was the alternator used in my ball machine Configuration at 1:07.

Step 7: Red-Ball Dropper

Picture of Red-Ball Dropper

This is an original element from the Stepper Lift building set which receives a ball, lowers its arm, and deposits the ball on the opposite side.

Step 8: Dropper

Picture of Dropper

My alternate take on the red ball dropper first seen in my ball machine Evolution.

Step 9: Ball Arms

Picture of Ball Arms

This is an element originally from the BBF (pic. 5) that cradles the ball, tips over, then deposits it at a lower level. It's reliable and it's any ball machine builder's friend. There are quite a few ways to build a ball arm.

Step 10: Ferris Wheels

Picture of Ferris Wheels

These take a lot of pieces depending on how big you make yours. These spin when a ball lands on it which makes it very interesting to watch.

Step 11: Diagonal Ferris Wheel

Picture of Diagonal Ferris Wheel

A perfect successor to regular/vertical ferris wheels, this was invented by martijnb95.

Step 12: Flippers

Picture of Flippers

The ball falls onto this and flips over directly underneath the other side. It looks cool in rapid sucession as well. There are many ways to make these flippers.

Step 13: Lowering Flipper

Picture of Lowering Flipper

A flipper I made that lowers as it flips balls underneath the other side that was first seen in my ball machine Evolution.

Step 14: Flipper Path

Picture of Flipper Path

This element was made by Thibault used in his ball machine the Exception. There is no resigning the uniqueness and simplicity of this element.

Step 15: 360 Ball Arm Path

Picture of 360 Ball Arm Path

This amazingly simple element first seen in my ball machine Evolution will land on the blue rods. Then, the whole structure will rotate 360 degrees before releasing the ball.

Step 16: Spirals

Picture of Spirals

These are spiral stairs like in an actual house which will roll down for as long as you want it to.

Step 17: Stairs

Picture of Stairs

These are all kinds of simple stairs you can use in ball machines. The first one shown is originally from the BBF.

Step 18: Zigzag Stairs

Picture of Zigzag Stairs

This is an element made by 95martb used in his ball machine Elevation. This is my completely redesigned version with a proper scaffold making it much more easier to install onto a machine. This version was first seen in my ball machine Evolution.

Step 19: Archimedes Screw

Picture of Archimedes Screw

This is a remake (made by HamenChips) to the Archimedes Screw from the Trampoline Tower (TT) that has instructions here. When the ball slides down the path, the blue thing(s) turn(s). I made my screw the size of the one on the TT.

Step 20: The Loop

Picture of The Loop

This is a classic element first seen in the BBF that was never posted and is easy to build. Remember when installing a loop, have the ball start rolling at least three red rods above the start of the loop.

Step 21: The Trampoline

Picture of The Trampoline

This is an element that requires rubber bands which was introduced in the Trampoline Tower. A ball simply bounces off of these and into/onto a designated target (like a basket).

Step 22: Basket

Picture of Basket

These are used mostly to catch balls in groups or to catch flying balls.

Step 23: The Maze

Picture of The Maze

This is one of those fascinating yet unpredictable elements that has failures that allow the ball slip through any given area.

Step 24: Spiral Bowl

Picture of Spiral Bowl

An element that's sure to please any viewer, the balls enters anywhere and swirls its way down toward the hole.

Step 25: Vertical Spiral

Picture of Vertical Spiral

This element is a lot of fun to watch. When it works correctly, balls spiral down the guiding tubing.

Step 26: The Maze

Picture of The Maze

This is an element that was introduced from the Trampoline Tower set. It's a drop that can be vertical and/or diagonal with failures that allow balls to slip though. The first three pics are from MinnesotaRandomCrap's maze from his never-finished ball machine Exodus. You can make these as big as you want.

Step 27: Elastic Panel Maze

Picture of Elastic Panel Maze

Just a maze with panels and rubber bands which make it bouncy on both sides.

Step 28: Mario Alternator

Picture of Mario Alternator

A new element (alternator) with just a few pieces and just one track piece!! When a ball lands on it, the outer side will tilt downward for the ball to exit just like a regular ball alternator.

Step 29: Mario's Randomized Dropper

Picture of Mario's Randomized Dropper

You just don't know how many balls it'll release. This is a NEW element I made out of Mario Kart track that I made into a working ball dropper with the help of counterweights. This was used in my ball machine Protagonism at 0:54.

Step 30: Spinner Slide

Picture of Spinner Slide

This is an element made by The96jonse used in his ball machine obligation (video not available in the United States). Flexi rods will simply help the ball slide down to regular paths and so on downward for as long as you want it to. The two white rods will spin as the ball goes by.

Step 31: Spinning Circle

Picture of Spinning Circle

This is an element conceived by Knextreme. A ball will randomly roll into the bottom of the circle. Later, another ball will fall on the top and will force the circle to rotate causing the other ball to slip out a hole. 

Step 32: Goomba Arm

Picture of Goomba Arm

An element I made out of goomba pieces from the mario kart sets. This acts exactly like any ball arm. And as the user TheUnfortunateHobbit said,"Goombas be like "Dammit! It got away again!""

Step 33: Quarterback Arm

Picture of Quarterback Arm

This very genius quarter arm has a free mechanism that keeps the arm from rotating more after the ball is released and rebounding back. Invented by knexpert#10829476 first used in his ball machine Phoenix.

Step 34: Panel Drop (motorized)

Picture of Panel Drop (motorized)

This panel drop (motorized) element was first seen in 39Shadowman's ball machine Wipeout and has been redesigned by mutiple Knex builders mutiple times ever since.

Step 35: Flat Panel Maze (motorized)

Picture of Flat Panel Maze (motorized)

This reimagining of the panel maze first seen in Tyler Durden's ball machine Rapture uses a motorized axle to bring balls to the middle hole.

Step 36: Opposing Spinning Wheels

Picture of Opposing Spinning Wheels

This is a complex element as shown in my ball machine Evolution. It borrows elements from sandroknexmaster's opposing Ferris wheel and motor switching mechanism from his Shadow separator also featured in Evolution. (video explains better)

Step 37: Ball Playground

Picture of Ball Playground

Just like a kid's play area, first introduced by Kairah in his ball machine Metropolis in 5:14.

Step 38: Inverted Spiral

Picture of Inverted Spiral

Originally conceived by MechanicalCreationMaster in his ball machine Retrograde, it's an inverted spiral which painfully requires a ton of effort and perfection to make it work.

Step 39: Two-Ball Shuffle

Picture of Two-Ball Shuffle

An amazing element that allows one ball to give a boost to another ball. If these pictures aren't great enough, check out the true genius who created this. knexpert#10829476. Pics for the original version can be found here (last pics in Step 8).

Step 40: Tilters

Picture of Tilters

This is a simple element invented by 84sharkattack, Something different than watching ball arms, red ball droppers, and flipper in rapid succession.

Step 41: Double Ball Arm

Picture of Double Ball Arm

A new kind of ball arm conceived by knexpert#10829476 where a ball uses it twice.

Step 42: Two Ball Arms (TWO Different Ones Here)

Picture of Two Ball Arms (TWO Different Ones Here)

First Pic: This is sandroknexmaster's ball arm I modified for when one ball enters the bottom side, a ball from above will make it act like a regular ball arm releasing both of them, seen in my ball machine Excalibur at 1:18.

Last 5 Pics: An inspiring two ball arm conceived by Sathothy. One ball will arrive on the short-hand side. When the second ball comes, it'll roll toward the long side and will "suffer for the other ball to rise while the other drops at a lower level." Watch it here in my ball machine Propulsion at 1:30 to make sense of it all.

Step 43: Tipping Path

Picture of Tipping Path

This is a path based on an element that austron made. the ball will roll on the path (diagonal), and the path arm will fall over till it's horizontal then the ball will roll off then return to its diagonal form. This was featured in my ball machine Quadrivium at 0:40.

Step 44: Chained Ball Arm

Picture of Chained Ball Arm

An element whose original design above belongs to sandronexmaster, this element has two arms moving at the exact instant thanks to a chain that moves the arms both in opposing directions.

Step 45: Cooperating Arms

Picture of Cooperating Arms

Same concept as the Chained Ball Arm in the previous step, but this is where gears can allow arms to cooperate with each other. This element was originally conceived by Thibault in his ball machine The Millenium at 3:22. There's another version of this element that saves more height built by dickheijboer which can be seen here (step 1).

Step 46: Ball Lowerer

Picture of Ball Lowerer

An element made by bezempje95 where a platform lowers a ball when it arrives and sets back with the help of a counterweight.

Step 47: "Ball-to-Ball Release"

Picture of "Ball-to-Ball Release"

This is a new element made by Tornado96 that was introduced in his ball machine Uprising at 2:22.
When a ball remains in the "mini basket", another ball will roll onto yellow rods from above that are connected to the "mini basket"  releasing one ball after another with the help of regular pathing with transporting the balls. (I explained this as best as I could from the video, sorry if this doesn't click in)

Step 48: Gap Element

Picture of Gap Element

This element was made by 95martb. The ball rolls and drops again and again...

Step 49: Moving Platform

Picture of Moving Platform

These are ball arms extended to foot long platforms that lean forward whenever balls are on them.

Step 50: U-Turn Arm

Picture of U-Turn Arm

A very interesting element that's slightly horizontal that was conceived by 39Shadowman. When the ball enters, the arm will rotate to its exact former position over and over again.

Step 51: Lid Fall-Through

Picture of Lid Fall-Through

Just like a ball falling through the lids of a box if they're loose that was first introduced in my ball machine Protagonism at 1:19.

Step 52: Inverted Ball Dropper

Picture of Inverted Ball Dropper

Just like the red ball dropper, but inverted. This element was conceived by sandroknexmaster used in his ball machine Euphoria at 4:26. The ball will land on red rods and will deposit the ball at a lower level on the opposite side.

Step 53: The Lowering Beam

Picture of The Lowering Beam

This element was made by MinnesotaRandomCrap. To see this in action, it's in his ball machine Phobia at 1:03.  This is kind of like the red-ball dropper except when the ball lands on the yellow rods, it'll fall backward and the ball will start rolling onto the beam and onto the regular pathing.

Step 54: "Lowering Path Tilt"

Picture of "Lowering Path Tilt"

This is a new element made by Tornado96 that was introduced in his ball machine Uprising at 3:32. When a ball lands on this, the platform will fall backward. Then rods on the far side connected to the platform with push the path up so the ball can roll off.

Step 55: Basket Tilt Beam

Picture of Basket Tilt Beam

This element was conceived by Netchman. This is similar to the Lowering Beam except when it falls backward, the ball will roll into a basket and NOT the regular skinny path.

Step 56: Clickers

Picture of Clickers

These come in handy for when you don't know how to make a straightaways interesting with the least amount of pieces possible.

Diagonal: 95martb first seen in his ball machine Little Falcon at 1:28.
Horizontalsandroknexmaster that were used in his ball machine Dragonfire at 2:11.

Step 57: Unified Clickers

Picture of Unified Clickers

This element is a slight redesign of Zachary Keller's version with micro pieces where all the clicker move in unison.

Step 58: Panel Stairs

Picture of Panel Stairs

Step 59: Fall-Through

Picture of Fall-Through

The ball will go through each row moving back and forth before falling through each one.

Step 60: Single-Rail Fall-Through

Picture of Single-Rail Fall-Through

It's what the title says. It makes sense that the ball falls through a single-rail. A long version of this element can be found here at 0:25.

Step 61: Tipping Fall-Through

Picture of Tipping Fall-Through

The ball will land on the two blue rods and will fall right through when its vertical.

Step 62: Spinning Yellow Gear (motorized)

Picture of Spinning Yellow Gear (motorized)

This is an element conceived by Sorunome where a ball simply rides a spinning yellow gear that is motorized. Side walls that cut through are required so the ball can slip off.

Step 63: Ball in a Cart

Picture of Ball in a Cart

Step 64: Ball Arm Cart

Picture of Ball Arm Cart

This element first seen in my ball machine Evolution moves forward when a ball lands on the arm to be lowered then moves back when the arm rises.

Step 65: The Clicker Slide

Picture of The Clicker Slide

This is an element made by Kairah89 which was used in his ball machine Metropolis at 3:52. A ball will roll onto the first clicker and slide onto another after another. You can make this bigger too if you want. 

Step 66: Simple Alternators

Picture of Simple Alternators

The first one I built and the second element me and my brother constructed on our own. A ball will slide off a clicker and bounce off a rubber band on a 1-inch path and so on downward. This element can be seen in action in my ball machine Quadrivium at 0:49.This is like 95martb's Alternators but more simple. THIN RUBBER BANDS REQUIRED!!

Step 67: Two-Ball Dropper

Picture of Two-Ball Dropper

These are made to drop two balls at the same time for a race to the bottom or to just help have more balls going on paths to help make a ball machine look cooler. The first two pics show my remake  from Lucas Simpson's dropper that can be seen in my ball machine Skyscraper at 0:51. There are other ways to make these too.

Step 68: Double Dropper

Picture of Double Dropper

This element was made by MinnesotaRandomCrap. The ball needs some speed to flip the first flipper. A ball will land on the second flipper (dropper) and then another ball makes them drop and continue the path on. I made this look different than he made it so I make it easier for those who want to construct this. To see this in action, see it here at 0:51.

Step 69: Three-Ball Dropper

Picture of Three-Ball Dropper

This is an element I made that drops three balls at once which requires a basket and extra pathing. You can see this element in action in my ball machine Configuration at 1:24.

Step 70: Four-Ball Dropper

Picture of Four-Ball Dropper

This element was made by Sorunome. This is a remake expect the balls are released to the left not right (from the path side view). Four balls will roll onto the rotating arms and when the fourth ball rolls on, it varies for everybody how every ball rolls off. You can see this in action here or in Sorunome's ball machine Catastropha at 5:22.

Step 71: Chain Drop

Picture of Chain Drop

This is an element (not made by me) that when a ball lands on the claw, the chain will lower the ball down as far as possible with the help of a counterweight. A chain drop like this can be seen in my ball machine Botanism at 1:07.

Step 72: Vertical Spinning Basket

Picture of Vertical Spinning Basket

This element was made by MinnesotaRandomCrap which was in his ball machine Phobia at 1:44. A ball will roll into the basket, then (for me), the element will spin left or right for about 270 degrees and the ball will roll out onto something.

Step 73: Spinning Basket

Picture of Spinning Basket

This is an element originally conceived by Yardking. A ball will land into the basket, the whole thing will rotate 300 degrees, and the ball will land onto a designated target (safely, hopefully).

Step 74: Large Pinwheel

Picture of Large Pinwheel

Step 75: Path Separator

Picture of Path Separator

This is bezempje95's path separator I modified to work with the black/white balls. I broke it down to four instead of five for those of you who can't fit five paths on a ball machine. Featured in my ball machine Botanism. Here's the video that shows the path separator.

Step 76: Halfpipe

Picture of Halfpipe

This is an element used by austron in his ball machine Labyrinth at 0:58. A ball will roll down from either side and will roll back and forth until the ball slows down to let the path with a counterweight drop the ball below.

Step 77: Modified Horizontal Arm Lift

Picture of Modified Horizontal Arm Lift

This is 95martb's horizontal ball arm I modified that you can use if you put this close to the bottom of a ball machine you might build.

Step 78: Zigzag

Picture of Zigzag

This is a less-piece consuming variation of an astounding element conceived by Kairah89 that was first used in his very-inspiring ball machine Metropolis at 9:20, the zigzag!
Make sure the ball builds up some speed before it enters the zigzag, or it won't tip over.

Step 79: Well, That's It!

Picture of Well, That's It!

That's all I have for right now! Be sure to check back here soon for other elements I might be adding. If you have any feedback or suggestions, let me know!

Thanks for viewing this!



Linkin_J_Knex (author)2015-09-06

so many cool elements!!

poil87 (author)2015-03-16

Great ible just made this element and added it to my ball machine

sandroknexmaster (author)2013-04-24

In step 6 do you say that the vid of Obligation isn't available anymore, but I can still watch it...

Oh! That's because you and "that" guy both probably live in Germany and I live in the United States. Must of got blocked here.

You mean Belgium :p Yes he's from Belgium, just like me. The only knexer who lives in Germany that I know is Sorunome.
And yeah that could be possible.

yeah, i don't know any other knexer from germany, i'm so alone :(

But almost everyone thinks all Dutch knexers are German, annoying sometimes...
And you're maybe alone, but that makes you the best knexer from Germany. And the worst :D

Lol, i'm the worst knexer from germany, I should advertise with that :P
And yeah, the reason is that dutch sounds as if someone can't speack german >.<

Yup indeed :p

mhmm, you haven't been on skype latley :(

Now I am :D

On the topic of nationalities, are there any other New Zealand k'nexers out there?

There are some in Austrailia for sure

Australia sucks though... and NZ isn't Australia (thank god for that)

Somebody has strong opinions, eh? :P

Yes. Yes I do.

Fred The Penguin / Logic Boy might be from NZ, not entirely sure though.

I don't know... But I have some family in New Zealand :)

TheUnfortunateHobbit (author)2014-07-12

I have an idea for a new element... all i'm going to say is that it's a bit like ball in a cart.

dickheijboer (author)2014-07-07


TheUnfortunateHobbit (author)2014-06-13

Step 26: That's the first time I've been mentioned. I feel special...

stevenator2000 (author)2013-09-28

Hey collinjo12 how did you connect the spiral stairs in step 34?

knexpert#10829476 (author)2013-07-16

This element is on my ball machine Supernova :D

Please, that poor little element in Step 10 is just begging for a name, and has been for several months. :-( How about "Mini Spinny", "Spintastic/Spinner Slide", or "Swoosh Chute"? Even if you choose none of these, don't leave the little guy nameless! ;-)

P.S: Love the new elements! And about that revision in the introduction...can there ever be too many elements in a guide? :-P

knexpert#10829476 (author)2013-06-10

I notice in your pdf, there aren't 50 steps.

knexpert#10829476 (author)2013-05-29

Very nice guide!

Thanks!! I'm currently building my biggest ball machine yet!! Stay tuned!!

www139 (author)2012-11-22

I think you did a good job!

Sorunome (author)2012-04-16

Haha, another elements guide!
There defenetly should be one with all ellements in it! :D

Shadowman39 (author)Sorunome2012-04-16

What about the one we started?

Sorunome (author)Shadowman392012-04-17

That's dead :P I can add some other people if you give me the permission :P And I could start asking around the other guids weather we could use the images

Shadowman39 (author)Sorunome2012-04-17

It doesn't have to be dead anymore. Can't only the author add collaborators? I don't think we should just take pictures from other guides though, even though it'll take time to build elements (for me anyway, maybe I can after I'm done with my project).

Sorunome (author)Shadowman392012-04-18

ah, ok, and about adding collaborators, i have no idea :D

I'm also in the process of making a ball machine element "dictionary" maybe we could work together?

collinjo12 (author)Sorunome2012-04-16

I know, that would be awesome if me or somebody would sum up every KNEX element guide to make just one out of those.

KneXtreme (author)collinjo122012-04-16

That would be pretty cool, but almost impossible to do.

Sorunome (author)KneXtreme2012-04-17

*caught* look at öthe post of shadowman above and at my reply *caught*

Shadowman39 (author)Sorunome2012-04-17

That's one strange cough you have there!

Sorunome (author)Shadowman392012-04-18


collinjo12 (author)2012-04-16

The Mario Kart Paving is supported by classic knex, not micro knex; because the micro pieces wouldn't fit in the holes on the edges of the pieces.

KneXtreme (author)collinjo122012-04-17

Nice. I might consider getting some.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to build things with K'NEX (mostly ball machines), play video games (Mario), and watch YouTube. I'm on YouTube more than I ... More »
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