Introduction: The Apocalypse - a K'nex Ball Machine

Picture of The Apocalypse - a K'nex Ball Machine

Welcome to my instructable.

Hi, my name is Guus and I am the builder of 'The apocalypse'. I am 14 years old and I live in the Netherlands so my English isn't that great. But I hope you will understand it and be able to follow the tutorial.

In this instructable I will show you my newest K'nex project. The apocalypse. I have worked very hard on this ball machine and I hope you will like it. It took me over two weeks to build and definitely more than 1000 pieces.

When I was building this machine I set myself two pretty hard challenges:

1. I wanted a ball machine that would work with both the original K'nex ball, and the slightly bigger but lighter K'nex ball. This made working with weight a little bit harder. But working with the size of the slightly bigger ball was the biggest challenge. Because it doesn't fit in the most tricks.

2. I didn't want to look on the internet for some cool ideas. So I've build it all out of memory and I created some things myself. The changing ways mechanism for example. Where I'm really proud of.

This instructable will contain a full tutorial of how to build it. It will be a photo tutorial with some text. If you follow it you will definitely be able to build it yourself. But if you still have any questions, make sure to ask them in the reactions.

I am very proud of my ball machine, and worked very hard on it. So a vote would be very appreciated!

Step 1: Tutorial: Frame

Picture of Tutorial: Frame

In this step you will see how to build the frame of my K'nex ball machine. The frame has to be very strong, and of course very stable. You don't want you ball machine to fall on the ground because you would have to do a ton of rebuilding.

In picture one you will see how the ball machine looks like at the end of this step. You will be able to compare my build with yours and see what you have done wrong. Now lets go to the tutorial!


The tutorial

Lets start by the bottom part of the frame. As you can see in picture 2-4 there are missing some grey rods. You don't want to place them here. In the picture will be a note of where the 3 grey rods are missing.

In picture 5-7 you will see how to build the smallest tower. When you have made the two parts shown in picture 4, you want to place them together as you can see in picture 5. Then you can place it on the far end of the bottom part of the frame.

In picture 8-12 you will see a little extension to the frame. This is where the loops will be going. As you can see in picture 10 you have to place some extra rods on the extension. Don't forget them!

Now we are going to start building the smallest of the two big towers. You will build this tower in two parts. In picture 13-17 you can see the bottom part of the smallest big tower. Don't forget the grey clips. The places where these clips have to be placed will be shown in the picture with a note.

How you can build the top part of the smallest big tower will be shown in pictures 18-21.

Now we are going to make some extensions on the tower. These will become useful later in the build. You can see this in the pictures 22-29. Don't misplace them, otherwise you will be really confused later on.

Now we are going to place the two red rods between the towers we have already build. Don't forget the grey clips again!

In picture 31 and 32 you can see the rest of the part between the small big tower and the big big tower that we are going to build after this.

Lets go to the big big tower!

This tower is also split in two parts. You can see the bottom part in the pictures 33-35 Don't forget the grey clips with the white rods. There will be a note again of where they are.

You can see the top part of the tower in picture 36-38.

Now we are going to build the last extensions of the big tower. And again, Don't misplace them!

Between the two big towers there will be a bridge. You can see how to build it in the pictures 43-47. This bridge contains two parts. Between those parts there will be a gap where we will build something in step 3.

The frame is not ready yet. What is a tower without a flag? So lets make a flag!

If you have placed the flag on the tower, the frame is finally ready. It is smart to compare your frame with mine to see if you have misplaced anything. You can see the finished result in the first picture.

Step 2: Tutorial: Lifts

Picture of Tutorial: Lifts

The next step is of course the lifts. A ball machine is useless if you don't have a lift. The balls are not able to go up, and than they can't get down. This step contains three lifts. Two simple chain lifts and one kind off special lift.

Of course you can look at picture one to see how your build will look like after this step. And yet again, make sure to compare what your have build afterwards with my building to see if you have done anything wrong. Now lets go to the tutorial!

The tutorial

As I said before, this build contains three different lifts and two different designs. This step will be split up in two parts: the chain lift design and the other design. So lets start with the chain lift design!

For both chain lifts we are going to use the gears that you can see in picture 2. You will be able to see the placing of these lifts in pictures 3-5. There will be one on the small big tower and two on the big big tower. On every side of the gears there are 4 grey spacers. And between the two gears there is one grey spacer and one blue spacer.

Now we are going to make the motor and gears for the small big tower. As you can see in picture 7 you are going to place this motor all the way at the top of the tower. Now there are 5 grey spacers and two blue spacers on the left side of the gears. And on the right side there are 3 grey spacers and a motor. Between the two gears there are two interlocking pins. When you have placed the motor at the top of the tower, you are going to place a blue spacer and a grey clip on either side of the tower. As you can see in the picture.

Now we are going to make the moto and gears for the big big tower. This one will be placed in the middle of the tower, as you can see in picture 9. There are 5 grey spacers and two blue spacers on the right side of the gears. There is one grey spacer on the left, than the motor and than two grey spacers. Between the two gears there are again two interlocking pins. When you have placed your motor you want to place a blue spacer and a grey clip on either side.

Now we have placed the gears, we can start with the chains. I have only placed one holder on the chain for the small big tower. Not because I was lazy, but I didn't want to make the part that we are going to build in the next step to overflow with balls. You can see how to build the holder in picture 11. When you have placed the chain, one lift is completed.

Now we are going to start building the other chain for the big big tower. I have make 12 holders because I wanted to get the balls as fast as I can at the top of the tower. You don't need that many, but I had made 13 of them so I just used all of them. If you have placed the chain on the tower, you have completed two lifts.

Now we are going to start working on the other lift. The lift itself isn't really difficult but there was only one problem. There could only be one ball at a time. So I had to come up with a mechanism that would only let one ball at the time go in the lift. I have used a ton of gears to do so, but is works.

First of all we are going to start with the lift itself. The pictures are quite obvious so i don't really have to explain much. When you have made the lift you are going to place it between the very smal tower and the small big tower.

What I made was quite hard, but the building of it isn't. That is because all the pictures are quite clear to understand and follow. So I don't think there have to be any explanation here. But if you have any questions or if the pictures aren't clear, please ask me in the reactions!

Of course there has to be a place where the ball will be picked up and put down. So lets start building it!

In picture 34 and 35 you will se the place where the balls will be picked up. If you have build the last step correctly you will see that the two grey clips are already over the red rod.

Now we need a place to drop of the balls. It is a quite impressive contraption build by my father. If your balls fall out too late and don't fall on the drop of place, you might have to make the drop of place just a little longer. But for me this just works fine.

Now we have a place to pick up the balls and drop them of for the special lift. And we have a pick up place for the chain lift in the small big tower. We only need a drop off place for it. And of course for the last lift we need a pick up and drop of system. But the drop of system will be build in the next step.

For the drop of place we just use a normal road. I think that the pictures speak for themselves again and that you don't need any explanation. Just like the pick up system for the other tower.

The final thing that we need to build is a way for the balls to get in the lift off the big big tower. I think that yet again the pictures speak for themselves so you don't need any explanation.

And yet again. Compare your build with mine and if you have any questions, ask them in the reactions!

Step 3: Tutorial: Changing Ways Mechanism

Picture of Tutorial: Changing Ways Mechanism

In this step we will make the changing ways mechanism. This is because we don't want the ball to just have one way down. I think that that would be pretty boring. So for that reason we are going to make this mechanism so we have 4 ways down.

It is very difficult to explain how the mechanism works. First the ball will go thru the wheel. Every time a ball will go in the wheel, it will turn a quarter. The rotation of the wheel will go with a chain to the top mechanism.

In the top mechanism we have 3 'flaps' on the road that are able to fall down. If a ball rolls with normal speed over them they won't flap down. But if a ball lies on top of one of them the flap will fall down and take the ball with him. We use a counterweight to keep the flaps up. The way how we are going to stop the balls on top of the flaps instead of letting them roll over the flaps is with a blockade. In this case a blue rod. There are three blue rods, one for every flap. These blue rods wil turn every time a ball goes in the wheel. (The wheel turns a quarter, the rods turns a quarter) This way the blockade will move every time. But in one situation there is no blockade. Than will the ball roll all the way to the end, in the final road.

I hope that it is a little bit clear. If you still have any questions make sure to ask them in the reactions. But now lets go to the building!


The tutorial

The first thing we are going to make is the wheel. This isn't that difficult. But when you are going to place the wheel, make sure you are placing it at the bottom of the two white connectors. As you can see in the picture.

Now we are going to start with the top mechanism. When you are making the counterweight for the flaps, you have to know how to place them. You are going to place two blue connectors all the way at the bottom of the yellow rods. The third connector you are going to place just a little bit above the other two. Exactly two blue spacers. When you have built this, you can place it on the tower.

The next step is to connect the wheel with the top mechanism. If you have built both of the things correctly, you should be able to just place a chain between both of them.

The only important thing left is to make a way for a ball to get in the wheel. This wasn't that difficult. But when a ball will roll in the wheel, the wheel wil spin around too far. (More than a quarter.) So for that reason I had to build an other blockade. This is what you can see at the last pictures.

The wheel wouldn't turn any further than a quarter. That worked but the next problem I had was that the wheel would bounce on the blockade and that it would go back up again. Now it turned less than a quarter. So I've made another blockade and now it works just fine.

The last thing that you have to make in this step is the little spinning wheel. I didn't really knew in which step I had to put this. So I have just put it in this one.

If you have built the little spinning wheel, this step is ready. If you have any questions about this step or something else, make sure to ask them in the reactions. And of course, just like every other step, check if your build looks the same as mine in picture 1!

Step 4: Tutorial: Road Nr. 1

Picture of Tutorial: Road Nr. 1

In this step we are finally going to start working on the roads down. If you've build everything correctly, the ball should go all the way up. And fall down in 4 different places. We are now going to build one of the four ways down. So lets start building!

The tutorial

The first trick that we are going to make is the flipper. The ball will fall down in a tube and on both sides of the tube there will be some rods flipping up. As you would probably already have noticed, not every rod that is going to flap is yellow. Some are blue. This is because otherwise a later trick, that we are going to build in the next step, will get in the way.

If you have build the flipper, we are going to build a way to the other side of the build with a path. You can see how to build it in the pictures 6-8.

My sister really wanted me to involve a tube in my build. And in this place a tube would come in quite handy. So I have involved a tube in my build.

My inspiration for the next and final trick is actually the dentist. In the waiting room of the dentist we used to have a simple little toy with a car. The car would ride down a slope and than fall down, and ride down an other slope. I know, it's a really bad explanation but I hope you understand.

If you have build the last trick. you are going to place it. Make sure that on the end of every road you place the red connectors far apart of each other, so a ball can fall thru. If you have done that, this step is finished.

Just like in every other step, make sure to compare your build with mine in the first picture. And if you have any questions, make sure to ask them.

Step 5: Tutorial: Road Nr. 2

Picture of Tutorial: Road Nr. 2

In this step we are going to build another road. This one will be a very fast road. When I was building it I started building a load of loops in a row. Then I was trying to get the correct speed for the ball to make all of the loops. And then I connected it to the build.

The tutorial

The first thing that we are going to make is a little holder for the road. As you can see in pictures 2 and 3.

In pictures 4-6 you can see all the parts, apart from the loops and a little road, that we are going to need in this step. The parts are laid in the order that we are going to use them. This will make everything a lot easier.

Now we are going to start placing all of the parts on the frame. I think the pictures are quite clear of where to place them.

The next step are the loops. Between all of the orange connectors for tracks are 2 grey spacers and 6 blue spacers. Of course you can also use 4 grey spacers, but I didn't had so many of them.

Then you are going to place the loops on the frame. In the pictures there will be some notes of where to connect all of the parts.

Now we are going to make a little way for the ball to get from the loops to the lifts. I think the pictures are quite clear again.

Earlier I have forgotten to place the little orange clip on the frame so you have to place it now.

And now to finish the road. We need to place all of the track. I hate doing that ):

The road is now finished and just like in every other step, make sure to compare your build with mine in the first picture. And if you have any questions, make sure to ask them.

Step 6: Tutorial: Road Nr. 3

Picture of Tutorial: Road Nr. 3

In this step we are going to build the third road. It is a pretty fun one so lets start.

The tutorial

First we are going to start of with building a spiral. Just like in every old classic K'nex ball machine. When you are placing it, you are going to want the blue rods to clip in the yellow connectors. Just like in the pictures.

Now we are going to make a little road out of the spiral, in to the next trick. It is just connected to the spiral as you can see in the pictures.

The next step is making a little track yet again. But as you can see this one only exists of yellow rods and grey clips. When you are placing it on the frame, make sure you put the grey clips for the last little road over the yellow rod.

Now we are going to start with the final trick of this road. The zigzag. It is actually quite simple so it doesn't need any explanation.

The final step for this road is a little track for the ball to go to the lifts. In the picture there wil be a little note.

The road is now finished and just like in every other step, make sure to compare your build with my one in the first picture. And if you have any questions, make sure to ask them.

Step 7: Tutorial: Road Nr. 4

Picture of Tutorial: Road Nr. 4

In this step we are going to make the final road. Road nr. 4! I wanted a road that was very long and went everywhere. So here it is.

The tutorial

I think that for this step there isn't any explanations needed. So if you have build it and placed all of the track on it the whole build is ready!!! So for the final time make sure to compare your build with mine in the first picture. And if you have any questions, make sure to ask them.

Step 8: Thank You

I want to thank all of you for reading my instructable. Feel free to vote on me for the contest, and yet again THANK YOU!!!

Guus

Comments

Knex2thelimit (author)2015-06-03

Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see any instructions for the path between the large wheel and the second chain lift. Is it just me, but I don't see them.

Guus_ (author)Knex2thelimit2015-06-03

Yes, you're right. I've added the pictures to the instructable so you should be fine now. If you have any further questions, make sure to ask them. I will try answer them as soon as possible.

Knex2thelimit (author)2015-06-03

Congrats on your 1st prize win! Also, I have decided to build this, I'll post a picture when it's done.

Gargamel-Knex (author)2015-05-31

WooaaaW ! Congratulations ! You are a finalist ;)

Knex2thelimit (author)2015-05-30

Congrats on being selected as a finalist!

Guus_ (author)Knex2thelimit2015-05-31

Thanks dude,
I realy did not expect that there would be enough people that voted on me.

Guus_ (author)Guus_2015-05-31

Also congrats to you.

NorthernF (author)2015-05-25

wow great machine I really like the path separator idea well done ;) My name is also Gus ;D

sandroknexmaster (author)2015-05-24

Great work! This is what we need :)

Knex2thelimit (author)2015-05-23

This, this is awesome. The fact that you have instructions for something this complicated is outstanding! I would totally build this, but I know I don't have all the correct parts, plus I like building my own things. Voted, you deserve it!

Guus_ (author)Knex2thelimit2015-05-23

Thanks for voting, and good luck with building you own things!

hunter999 (author)2015-05-23

Wow, this is truly amazing! Real good job here :-) You have very good English too, I genuinely hope you win - not many people would do instructions for a ball machine such as this. Followed, faved and voted! :-)

Guus_ (author)hunter9992015-05-23

Thanks for you nice comment and you vote!

GWorks (author)2015-05-23

Well made instructable :) Also your English seems very good, nothing wrong with that! Good luck in the contest ^^

hunter999 (author)2015-05-23

Also, that changing ways mechanism is really neat, and smooth!

seamster (author)2015-05-22

Wow, this is cool! Thanks for sharing your ball machine!

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