Ladies and gentlemen (and the Instructables robot as well), I am proud to present my fourth ball machine on this site. Retrograde incorporates all the skills and inspirations I have acquired so far. In addition, Retrograde includes some brand new elements!
The ball machine is 3'5" (104cm) tall and 2'9" (84cm) wide. It has about 3,700 pieces, and would have had more aside from the fact that I almost ran out at the end. The machine has seven paths, which will (according to my custom) be dealt with in separate steps. I also used the Stepper Lift, and will be making instructions once I take the machine down, since there are none on Instructables already.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy watching...Retrograde!
Note: Retrograde refers to the term retrograde motion, which is the process that make the planets appear to circle back on their orbits through the sky. I thought the name appropriate, because a lot of the ball machine's elements use circular motion.
The music in the video is Chopin’s Fantasy-Impromptu for piano in C sharp minor, Op. 66, CT. 46 and Mazurka for piano No. 23 in D major, Op. 33-2, CT. 73.
Step 1: The Stepper Lift
For Retrograde I tried several lifts, and finally settled upon the Stepper Lift. Through some careful analysis of I_am_Canadian's Twister pictures, I was able to reconstruct a fairly accurate rebuild. I built it four grey rods high (which is seven lifter mechanisms).
Since I always build on a red rod support structure, this lift posed several design challenges. I had to get the lift to connect to the rest of the machine! I settled on the 4 grey rod height because 5 red rods is roughly the same as 3 1/2 grey rods...which was the height of one side of the lift. I simply put connecting rods across the gap.
The other problem was the width - the yellow rod lift would not match my red rod structure, either. I solved this dilemma by placing the lift at a 45o angle to the rest of the machine. In this position, it fit perfectly. I curved the entrance and exit paths and voila! I could defy gravity!
Note: My gate mechanism may be a little different from I_am_Canadian's...that was out of necessity. There weren't any really good pictures of it, so I improvised... :-D
knexpert#10829476 created a motor housing and posted a picture in the comments thread.