Introduction: Project FREEFALL K'nex Ball Machine

Picture of Project FREEFALL K'nex Ball Machine

This is my first ball machine. It is a moderate sized machine with two paths. It features five elements throughout its course and stands about 2.5 ft. tall. A video should be posted shortly, if I have the time to make one. Feel free to comment below if any steps are unclear. Enjoy!

P.S. I didn't do a piece count because the machine used quite a few parts. Sorry.

Also, my latest ball machine can be found using this link:

Step 1: The Base and Ball Queue

Picture of The Base and Ball Queue

This is the section of the machine that supports the tower. It may seem slightly unstable now but will become sturdier as the left and right attachments are added. The base also holds the ball queue where the balls wait to be carried to the top by the chain lift.

Step 2: The Main Tower

Picture of The Main Tower

This is a long and repetitive step. It is probably the most crucial part of the entire ball machine. The tower holds the motor, path alternator, and most of the elements. Make sure you pay attention to all connector placements as well as how to attach individual pieces to the main structure.

Step 3: The Motor Attachment

Picture of The Motor Attachment

This section drives the chain lift. Remember to closely examine the spacers between the connectors. The motor shown here can be substituted for any K'nex motor.

Step 4: The Path Alternator

Picture of The Path Alternator

This determines which path the ball will take.

Step 5: The Left Attachment

Picture of The Left Attachment

This section provides extra base support and holds some of the elements on path one. Build the first part, then the second part, and attach both to the main structure.

Step 6: The Right Attachment

Picture of The Right Attachment

This part serves the same purpose as the former step, and holds the path two elements. Build what you see in the pictures and then attach to the main structure.

Step 7: Connecting Path 1

Picture of Connecting Path 1

This path leads to the first element on path one, the red ball drop.

Step 8: The Red Ball Drop

Picture of The Red Ball Drop

This element has been featured on many ball machines throughout this site. It consists of an arm that lowers a ball while keeping it parallel to the ground. Build the element's supporting device first, then build the arm itself.

Step 9: The Flipper

Picture of The Flipper

This device rotates around a few times when it receives a ball on one end, depositing it further along. Pay close attention to the spacer placement.

Step 10: The Wheel

Picture of The Wheel

This element spins when the flipper drops a ball onto it, returning the ball to the path below. Note that this element may not function properly every time, and may rotate in the opposite direction if the flipper hits it just right. This will not affect the movement of the ball, however.

Step 11: Connecting Path 2

Picture of Connecting Path 2

This path returns the ball to the queue after it is dropped from the wheel.

Step 12: The Spiral Staircase

Picture of The Spiral Staircase

This is the first element on path two. Originally featured in the Big Ball Factory, This element contains a descending spiral that lets the ball ride down. Build what you see in the pictures, and attach where shown.

Step 13: The Tilting Path

Picture of The Tilting Path

This is one of my own elements. When a ball falls on the tilting path it slants forward deploying the ball on the return path. Don't forget the right spacing and the counterweights.

Step 14: Connecting Path 3

Picture of Connecting Path 3

This path links the end of path two to the ball queue.

Step 15: Tension Gear

Picture of Tension Gear

This gear prevents the chain from hitting the main structure.

Step 16: The Ball Grabbers

Picture of The Ball Grabbers

These devices pick the balls in the queue up and lift them to the top of the machine.

Step 17: Extra Chain Links

Picture of Extra Chain Links

Make three sets of  12 links and one set of 13 links. Attach these to the ball grabbers to make a complete chain. Then wrap around the gears as shown in the picture.

Step 18: Complete!

Picture of Complete!

Congratulations! You're finished! Now get up to three balls and place them in the ball queue. Only original K'nex balls will work. Then turn the motor switch to the left. If you are having trouble getting the ball machine to work, please comment.

Thanks for building Project FREEFALL. I hope you enjoy it!


knexman32 (author)2011-10-12

hey man isnt that parogon instead of freefall because if it is can ye plz post a different video lol

thunderbay (author)knexman322011-10-25

Yeah I know, but I didn't post it on here, and anyway it shows one of my other projects (which is definitely better than Freefall).

knexman32 (author)thunderbay2012-12-10


itzandy (author)2012-04-24

well you say "Only original K'nex balls will work how about pool balls thats what im useing lol

thunderbay (author)itzandy2012-05-12

Yeah, I guess I forgot about pool balls, as I tested the machine with them before my shipment of K'nex ball came in.

5FDPfanJL (author)2012-03-25

could you use a ping pong ball on this?

thunderbay (author)5FDPfanJL2012-04-03

No, only because a ping pong ball heavy enough to activate the directional toggle.

teamgenez (author)2012-01-29

i like it but that red arm part didn't work all that well with my black and white balls, I even built some parts of it different ways.

Knexman15 (author)2011-11-21

I built it and it's AWESOME! 5*

Knex-Gun-Reviewer (author)2011-07-02

dam it not enough blue connectors

Buy some on ebay for like 5 bucks
trust me

knexinventer (author)2011-07-10

Knex-Gun-Reviewer (author)2011-05-27

i want to make it but i dont know if i have enough peices
can somebody do a peice count

charliethecreator (author)2011-04-12

Cool finished it in one day

Lightning Thunder (author)2010-08-27

How many pieces does it take?

I already took it down so I wasn't able to do a piece count.

more or less then 2500

ok, do you think i could build it?

try agressor from tombuckey that one is great

razzs12 (author)2010-11-02

Your ball machine has a major flaw when i tried it the ball elevator kept the ball and ball fell off

knexboy12345 (author)2010-08-28

how many paths?

thunderbay (author)knexboy123452010-08-28

there are 2 paths

nathan733 (author)2010-08-23

It would be nice if you could put some little pictures on the 5th picture were it shows you how to connect it to the body. P.S. it's awesome so far!!!!!

colton blake (author)2010-06-02

You should make it taller and have more elements if I have to say one bad thing.

colton blake (author)2010-05-31

I personally think you are a GENIUS. But I did have to make a few modifications on some parts but it works great

Pizzapie500 (author)2010-02-11

I have a question. Does the ball do a freefall? If it does, that would be EPIC!

Mine does it goes on a path switcher and freefalls (no chute) 7 feet and lands in a basket.

I had that same idea for Scorpion's rock,

Scorpions Rock?

My current big ball machine. I've already got three new lifts working.


Sorry. not yet I'll have a preview on it sometime in the next few weeks.

thunderbay (author)2010-02-20

The Youtube video link is posted at the top of the page. Enjoy!

Mr. Muggle (author)2010-02-11

that's some nice elements you have there!

Shadowman39 (author)2010-02-11

Looks cool! A video would be nice.

~KGB~ (author)2010-02-11

epic! 5* great ball machine!

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More by thunderbay:Project PARAGON K'nex Ball MachineProject FREEFALL K'nex Ball Machine
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