Introduction: The Official Guide to Knex Ball Machine Path Selectors

Picture of The Official Guide to Knex Ball Machine Path Selectors

Just like there's a guide for building ball machines and ball lifts, I decided to make one for path separators. This will go through all types of path separators with details including paths, height lost, a video and instructions if any.

Step 1: Vertical Path Separator

Picture of Vertical Path Separator

The most common ball switch: the vertical path separator!

Tracks: 2
Height: 1 blue rod
Video: Almost any ball machine
Instructions: Just see the pictures

(Pictures: RNBShadowman39)

Step 2: Horizontal Path Separator

Picture of Horizontal Path Separator

This is the vertical path separator, except horizontal to save height.

Tracks: 2
Height: tilted ramp for momentum
Video: A lot of ball machines, here's one (0:24)
Instructions: Just see the pictures

(Pictures: Darth Trainman, Shadowman39, knexknexknexknex, collinjo12)

Step 3: Giant Car Switch

Picture of Giant Car Switch

Build by Darth Trainman and probably fifth cousins with the vertical path separator, this has a ball-gravity powered car which changes it's side of the entrance track each time a ball lands on it.

Tracks: 2
Height: 2 red rods
Video: Seen in Project 360 (2:46)

Step 4: Infinity Switch

Picture of Infinity Switch

Sorunome's redo of YardKing's version allows many paths coming out of this ball separator.

Tracks: infinity (but no-ones ever tested)
Height: 1 Blue rod + tilt for momentum

Step 5: Bezempje95's Infinite Switch

Picture of Bezempje95's Infinite Switch

A lot like the infinity switch, except more complicated, and proper scaffold.

Tracks: As many as you want
Height: 1 blue rod + tilt for momentum
Instructions: None yet, but here are a lot of pictures:

Step 6: Shadow Separator

Picture of Shadow Separator

Sandroknexmaster made his version of the infinity switch, where a ball activates a motor at the end.

Tracks: As many as you like
Height: Tilt for momentum

Step 7: Circular Path Separator

Picture of Circular Path Separator

Shadowman39 built a curved path with barriers that push the ball out the way, which also get raised and lowered.

Tracks: 10 in example, but can be increased
Height: 1 red rod

Step 8: Orange Slide Path Switch

Picture of Orange Slide Path Switch

This switch is a remix of the horizontal path separator and a module of the infinity switch. It was built by Mmtunligit.

Tracks: 2

Height: 1 blue rod


Step 9: Barrel Roll

Picture of Barrel Roll

Each ball releases the previous ball, then gets caught in a different position. While doing this, the mechanism rotates 90 degrees.

Tracks: 2
Height: 1 red rod
Video: Explained in this ball machine (0:32)
Instructions: Follow the pictures

Step 10: Thibault's Switch

Picture of Thibault's Switch

Thibault made a switch which is a mix between the 'Infinity Switch', 'Mechanical Dizzy', and the 'Barrel Role'. It uses a Ferris wheel element connected to small barriers positioned across a track.

Tracks: 8
Height: 1 red rod (+ tilt for momentum)

Step 11: Quad Switch

Picture of Quad Switch

collinjo12 Made a smaller version of Thibaults's separator.

Tracks: 4




Step 12: Mechanical Dizzy

Picture of Mechanical Dizzy

Featured in project ARCANE by Yardking, this has a small Ferris wheel element geared to a path that turns around.

Tracks: 8
Height: 1.5 red rods
Instructions: See YardKing's comment below. (Remember, his version is for golf balls, so the entrance at the top [tagged in first pic] needs extra space.)

Step 13: Octoswitch

Picture of Octoswitch

Caverat built this separator. This is an inconsistent separator, as it relies on a motor spinning which a ball lands on, then rolls to the side.

Tracks: 8

Height: 3 blue rods



Step 14: Trainman's Switch

Picture of Trainman's Switch

Darth Trainman made a separator that's like mechanical dizzy, this uses a spinning element to push a double path back and forth, changing which path the ball goes on.

Tracks: 2 (but can probably be modified)
Height: 1 red rod
Video: (3:54)

Step 15: Rotating Crane Arm

Picture of Rotating Crane Arm

MechanicalCreationMaster built this switch in his ball machine "Erection". The ball machine waits in the middle for a path to arrive, then the ball goes down it. Each path should differ so the ball goes in different directions.

Tracks: As many as you want, if it fits.
Height: Tilt for momentum, or have elements
More pictures:

Step 16: Motorized Tilting Panel

Picture of Motorized Tilting Panel

In the ball machine Tartarus by Alocke, the path separator for network 2 is a panel that tilts like 'circle ball machine'.
Do not use with other crankshaft lifts that run at the same speed.

Tracks: 4 (can be modified)
Height: 1 red rod

Step 17: Tilting Panel

Picture of Tilting Panel

By Shadowman39, this is a small panel with 4 exits, each one leading to a lever that shifts the panel's direction. Explanation as tags in the picture.

Tracks: 4
Height: 1 red rod

Step 18: 3-Way Geartrain Switch

Picture of 3-Way Geartrain Switch

This switch was built by Mmtunligit, it evenly divides three balls by combining the vertical path separator and the barrel roll.

Tracks: 3

Height: 3 blue rods



Step 19: Double Drop and a Reset

Picture of Double Drop and a Reset

Best used with other switches, this switch I made first saves one ball, the second sets it off, and the third resets the switch.
Thibault also made a version, probably earlier, in his ball machine 'the Millenium' (2:00).

Tracks: 3
Height: 1 red rod
Video: Seen in this ball machine (1:45)
Instructions: Just look at pictures

Step 20: Stacker Separator

Picture of Stacker Separator

Sandroknexmaster made another a version of the last step in his ball machine 'Paradox' (1:36), except it saves 2, and the third ball releases all the balls.

Tracks: 3
Height: 1 red rod

Step 21: Raiser Lift

Picture of Raiser Lift

A ball lift I attempted to make but had no proper entrance track mechanism, making it consistently inconsistent.
Do not use with other crankshaft lifts that run at the same speed.

Tracks: 2
Height: -1 red rod (ball goes up or down)

Step 22: Lifts With Multiple Exit Tracks

Picture of Lifts With Multiple Exit Tracks

Lifts such as the chain lift (including most modifications) and the quadruple arm lift have different ways of holding the ball, and different places to hold to ball, meaning the ball can fall off at either point.

(Pictures: collinjo12, mathsboy314)

Step 23: Inconsistent Elements

Picture of Inconsistent Elements

If the ball element doesn't always land in the same place, it can classify as a ball switch.

(Pictures: KneXtreme, Shadowman39, Darth Trainman, Sandroknexmaster)

Step 24: Elements That Don't Reset Instantly

Picture of Elements That Don't Reset Instantly

If the element doesn't reset, the next ball probably wont go the same way as the first ball. For it to be a proper path selector, one of the balls must reset it. (Almost all basic 2-path switches would fall under this category.)

Step 25: Compact Separator

Picture of Compact Separator

This is another element that doesn't reset instantly, built by www139. This separator is convenient because the entrance track is a basic ball machine path.

Tracks: 2
Height: 1 Blue rod


Step 26: Ball Waiter

Picture of Ball Waiter

When a ball is waiting to enter an area (e.g. lift) and a new ball comes around, instead of joining the queue it can roll to the side instead.
Do not use with lifts that quickly collect balls

Tracks: 2
Height: tilt for momentum

(Picture: Sorunome)

Step 27: Double Drop

Picture of Double Drop

This element starts from one path but because it has room for two balls, the ball go to separate areas. This is idea has been mainly used in Project 360.

Step 28: Quadruple Drop

Picture of Quadruple Drop

Like the double drop, but with 4 balls.

Tracks: 4
Height: 1 blue rod

Step 29: Other Multiball Elements

Picture of Other Multiball Elements

If the element originates from a single track, but the balls head to different areas, then it acts as a path separator. A common example of this is found in this ball machine at the beginning separating the first 2 tracks.

(Pictures: mathsboy314Sandroknexmaster, Sorunome, collinjo12)

Step 30: Size Selector

Picture of Size Selector

In KneXtreme's ball machine Copper, a track is wide enough that larger balls roll over it while regular balls fall through. This is useful is you have both types of balls but only one can be used in the lift/element you're building.

Tracks: 2
Height: tilt for momentum (+1 blue rod in one track)
Instructions: Just see the picture

Step 31: That's It!

Picture of That's It!

That's all I can think of. If you have any more path separators, better pictures, names or details for them, leave them in the comments and I'll add them.

Happy Knexing!


Mmtunligit (author)2016-03-13

I have made a new one:

mathsboy314 (author)Mmtunligit2016-03-21

Added, step 8!

Mmtunligit (author)mathsboy3142017-10-20

And another:

mathsboy314 (author)Mmtunligit2017-10-28

Inserted at step 18.

FanPlastic (author)2016-06-02

Here is one I made, But it has never been tested with the 2 piece balls

mathsboy314 (author)FanPlastic2016-06-08

That falls under step 23. Can you think of a better name for that step?

FanPlastic (author)mathsboy3142016-06-08

Not really, howzabout " super silly stylized switches of superbity"

www139 (author)2016-05-05
mathsboy314 (author)www1392016-05-10

Added, step 24

www139 (author)mathsboy3142016-05-10


NorthernF (author)2016-05-03

I made this horizontal infinity switch about 2 years ago but I forgot to post it here looking through some old photos I found some pics of it. I don't have any instructions for it but I think it isnt that hard to figure out...

www139 (author)2016-01-30

Thanks a lot for making this guide! I think it will come in very handy. ;)

I've saved this, but the title isn't changing.

Thanks for the separator!

Thanks for adding!

sandroknexmaster (author)2014-03-09
yardking (author)2013-10-08

Some pics to help

Sorunome (author)yardking2014-02-11

That switch is looking awesome! :D

collinjo12 (author)2013-08-31

1st pic: Step 18
2nd pic: Step 24

dickheijboer (author)2013-08-19

New path separator:

sandroknexmaster (author)2013-08-11

Very nice!
Thanks for adding my stuff, I appreciate it :D
Have you seen this: (step 8)
If you want you can add it too.

That's a really cool element except the switch is a vertical path selector, but it's good for setting off 3 balls at a time.

Oh ok.
And instructions are coming soon, but first all the new lifts :D

Sorunome (author)2013-07-24

Which ball machine is the one in the second pic (posted on infinity sqitch step)

mathsboy314 (author)Sorunome2013-07-25

I thought it was yours. It's from krypton.
(If you have any better pictures it would help for me if you send them)

Sorunome (author)mathsboy3142013-07-25

krypton isn't mine XD
and, um, i don't have any better pictures *yet*

mathsboy314 (author)Sorunome2013-07-25

Sorry, I thought it was your THEN I found it was from krypton :)

Sorunome (author)mathsboy3142013-07-26

Oh, lol

Sorunome (author)2013-07-24

Yay, a path seperator guide! AWESOME!
Well yeah :)

There's only one thing: IMO such a guide shouldn't be entered into the contest as it is a community achivment, it isn't that only one guys should get all the credits for it (in the case it'll win....)

mathsboy314 (author)Sorunome2013-07-25

I agree, kinda. If I win I'll probably pass on the prize to the next best instructable. I just want to see if I could win.

Also, what does 'IMO' stand for?

Sorunome (author)mathsboy3142013-07-25

ha, ok, and IMO stands for In My Opinion

dickheijboer (author)2013-07-24

Cool guide! I voted!

Shadowman39 (author)2013-07-24

It's cool to see all path separators in one place, and some elements as well. :-)

collinjo12 (author)2013-07-21

Nice guide!! Here's an alternate horizontal separator I made that can be added to Step 2.

knexknexknexknex (author)2013-07-21

Awesome! Picture 6, thanks

Great guide! I have seen lots of separators before, but some of these are new to me. I am excited to see this because path separators can be such interesting parts of a ball machine, though oftentimes they are ignored.

hunter999 (author)2013-07-21

Wow mate, this is awesome, I have favorited! =D I always tend to have trouble when creating duplicate paths sometimes...

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm into knex ball machine stuff. My favourite parts are lift/element hybrids, probably because I tried building a perpetual ball machine. It didn ... More »
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