Introduction: Project Micro - a Mini K'nex Ball Machine by Son

Picture of Project Micro - a Mini K'nex Ball Machine by Son

(son's project from long ago) Project Micro is a small, desk-top ball machine that contains 2 trails; when adjusted correctly, the balls never fall off.

Unfortunately, I am way too lazy to sit there and count all the pieces. If you aren't, let me know. My guess is around 500 to 600.

Step 1: The Main Tower

Picture of The Main Tower

I'm going to apologize in advance for the size of this step. I didn't feel like taking apart the drive shaft, etc. Make sure you look at the annotations for the last couple pictures.

Step 2: The Secondary Tower

Picture of The Secondary Tower

This supports the whirlpool.

Just build what is in the pictures.

Step 3: The Bridge

Picture of The Bridge

This holds both towers together and makes sure they don't fall over. Build what is in the first picture, then assemble what you've built so far (pictures 2 and 3).

Step 4: The Top Gear

Picture of The Top Gear

This is the gear that supports the chain at the top.

Step 5: Untitled

Picture of Untitled

Idk. Just build it and mount where shown.

Step 6: The "Pusher"

Picture of The "Pusher"

This pushes the balls off the lift. Make sure it is centered.

Step 7: These Things

Picture of These Things

I don't know what to call 'em. Just build them and attach.

Step 8: Not Named

Picture of Not Named

This is additional support for the switch

Step 9: The Wall

Picture of The Wall

This supports the switch itself and prevents the ball from falling off when switching

Step 10: The First Path

Picture of The First Path

Give a General Description of the Step.

There is really nothing to write here.

Step 11: First Path Part II

Picture of First Path Part II

Build what is in the first picture, then whats in the third picture, attach them, and mount.

Step 12: The Chain

Picture of The Chain

Build the chain, then throw it on

Step 13: End of First Trail

Picture of End of First Trail

Go for it.

Step 14: The Whirlpool

Picture of The Whirlpool

This is the flashiest part of the machine. Make it; make sure it totals 720 degrees (two times around) and mount. Once you get to testing this trail, make sure it is consistent. It might take a while

Step 15: The Catcher

Picture of The Catcher

This catches the balls after they come out of the whirlpool.

Step 16: It

Picture of It

Make this. Be sure you have the spacing right. LOOK AT THE ANNOTATIONS ON THE SECOND PICTURE!

Step 17: Collector Track

Picture of Collector Track

This feeds all the balls to the lift.

Step 18: Nameless

Picture of Nameless

Build this and slide on where shown.

Step 19: Beginning of Second Trail

Picture of Beginning of Second Trail

Build these two rails and connect where shown.

Step 20: The Switcher

Picture of The Switcher

Decides between the two paths.

Step 21: Guard Wall 1

Picture of Guard Wall 1

Self explanatory.

Step 22: Guard Wall 2

Picture of Guard Wall 2


Step 23: Guard Wall 3

Picture of Guard Wall 3


Step 24: Red Rods

Picture of Red Rods

Put these on. This will stop the ball from falling off, and, as a bonus, the ball makes a very satisfying plunk when it falls in.

Step 25: Tension Adjustment

Picture of Tension Adjustment

Build this, put it on, and leave it, for now.

Step 26: The Chain

Picture of The Chain

Build this, then put it on.

Step 27: Done!

Picture of Done!

Add the balls, and you are done. Those crappy loopin' lizard balls work fine even though they are lighter and slightly bigger. You will probably have to adjust a couple things to make it work.
Enjoy your mini ball machine!


kops (author)2013-04-10

I counted 472 pieces including the balls from your picture. My model is slightly modded so I couldn't count it from mine. I was unable to count the individual type of piece count because I counted them during my lunch break (which is only like 45 minutes)

Knexfreak9123 (author)2011-09-09

Where can I buy that tubing?

knexinventer (author)2011-07-11

ha the song fits the machine

horton123 (author)2011-04-10

this is awesome

bosniaguy (author)2010-10-09

in centimeters, how long is 720 degrees of track?

cfcubed (author)bosniaguy2010-10-09

173 cm, give or take a few cuase measuring a spiral is difficult, even with string. By the way thats actually 1080 degrees of track, which is what is required to make the ball go twice around.

ebbx96 (author)2010-09-30

i cant figure out how to adjust the collector ramp so that the ball can be picked up but other than that it works perfectly

cfcubed (author)ebbx962010-10-08

Hmmm. Go to step 16 and look at the second picture. make sure you have the spacing on these exactly right (there is a blue washer on the side you can't see). Also look at the fifth picture on step 1 to make sure your gear spacing is right. That should stop the lift from catching if that's your problem. If the ball just simply falls off the lift, check the little scoop things that pick up the balls; attached to the orange connectors should be the female end of a ball joint, as this is the perfect length. If it still doesn't work, I don't know what to tell you. . .

Tom Buckey (author)2009-04-10

how many chain links is it?

bosniaguy (author)Tom Buckey2010-07-08

altogether 51

cfcubed (author)Tom Buckey2009-04-14

The part where the ball rides on the chain is 13 links, the lift is 38

Tom Buckey (author)cfcubed2009-04-15

can the lift be made with any less?

Kinetic (author)2010-01-31

 really cool

Bartboy (author)2009-02-24

Awesome! But would it work well without the spiral?

cfcubed (author)Bartboy2009-02-27

I'll work on modifying it not to use tube for next week or something...

Bartboy (author)cfcubed2009-02-27

Good, cause I don't have any extra tubing.

cfcubed (author)Bartboy2009-11-25

Sorry I never got around to that. I have it built, but I'm not allowed to put any more pictures on this instructable.  All I did was replace the whirlpool with 270 degrees of classic spiral.  It works fine, but it's not as cool : )

pls (author)Bartboy2009-03-02

Nasty! You should get some, I saw 50' red tubing go on ebay for 8$

GeekBeam (author)2009-10-25

can i use mini track pieces for the lift I've done it before other than that im fine

hockys1 (author)2009-09-02

Very clever and easy to build 5 Stars!!

lego man 655 (author)2009-06-30

nice ball machine the chain path is very unique i give it a 5

KrazyKow (author)lego man 6552009-08-24

Same. Love the chain element!

knexmaster98 (author)2009-08-22

yes I have tried but it may need a few ajustements

rexdino5 (author)2009-04-25

Oh my god I can't get the spiral right because the rippin rocket tubing is to stiff so does anybody have any ideas?

TigerNod (author)rexdino52009-08-16

No, other then using orange tubing...

An Villain (author)rexdino52009-05-17

microwave it it sort of gets all soft and pliant then quickly position it and it will harden that way

cfcubed (author)rexdino52009-04-28

you could try building the whirlpool as best as you can now, and once the tubing gets broken in, make it actually work. Or you can replace the whirlpool with a classic spiral made of normal pieces.

knexpert#10829476 (author)2009-08-04

Does the spiral have to be made with ss tubing?


An Villain (author)2009-05-17

also 2 white/silver/black/purple rods

krish98.sai (author)An Villain2009-06-16

thanks stuffed pepper pants ggm (goo goo mama)

An Villain (author)krish98.sai2009-06-16

you're welcome.

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you need: 1 white rod 2 green connectors 1 grey connector 1 tan lock 720 degrees of tubing 13 y clips 13 gold t's 4 grey rods 2 3d blue clips 4 green rods the piece from step 13 you made

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

the piece you made in step 12

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

2 green connectors 4 red connectors 2 yellow rods 2 green rods

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

and the thing you made in step 11

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

1 red connector 12 ish chain links

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

correction 4 blue rods 5 orange connectors 4 silver spacers 4 grey clips 6 green rods

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you need: 3 orange connectors 2 yellow connectors 2 red connectors 3 blue rods 3 grey clips 2 silver spacers the piece you made in step 10

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you need: 3 red connectors 3 blue rods the piece you put together in step 9

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you will need: 3 orange/brown connectors 2 green/red rods 4 blue rods 2 red connectors 4 white/silver/black/purple rods 2 blue 3d connectors 1 white connector 1 y hand/clip the piece you made in step 8

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

also the piece from step 7

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

for the support of the switch you will need: 2 yellow rods 1 blue rod 1 grey 2 slot 1 red conector 1 green connector

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you need for these thingys: 2 green connectors 2 red connectors 2 orange conectors 2 white/black rods 2 blue rods 4 green connectors the piece from step 6

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

also the piece from step 5

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you will need: 1 brown/orange connector 1 blue rod 3 red/grey connectors 1 white rod

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you need: 2 red/grey connectors 2 yellow/grey rods 1 red/green rod 2 orange/brown connectors the piece from step 4

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you need these: 2 orange connectors 1 red gear 1 male ball socket joint 1 tan lock 2 green rods the piece you made in step 3

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

you need: 4 orange/grey rods 5 red/green rods and the pieces from steps 1 and 2

An Villain (author)2009-05-17

and also 8 green rods

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