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"Re-inventing The Wheel" Answered

Say hello to Mr.T.  He is old, simple, and there is really nothing special about him.  However, Mr.T is a sneaky little feller.  He likes putting on clever disguises like iron sights and stocks and even removable magazines to make people think that he is special.  But he isn't.  He's been around for years now, and for some reason, can't accept that his time is done.  As a community, we are going to get rid of Mr.T.

I hope you found that funny, but more importantly, I hope that you took it seriously.  No, I am not talking about the guy who played Clubber Lang in the third rocky.  I am talking about the K'nex gun that has been built and posted thousands of times, and makes the rest of the Instructables community hate K'nex gun builders.  At this point, pretty much any search done on this site will result in at least one K'nex gun.  What is worse?  They are all the same.  The "T" format is the most simple, most redundant approach to building a K'nex aside from the now heavily discriminated block trigger guns.  They involve three things:

1.  A vertical magazine

2.  A firing ram

3.  A trigger

Any gun that requires only these three components to operate is, in my opinion, pointless.  Despite cosmetic features such as stocks and iron sights, all "T" format guns are exactly the same.  Yes, they do work, and some of them even work very well, but at this point, improvement will only occur with change, not with repetition.   

Compared to a few years ago, this K'nex community is dwindling on the edge of a cliff.  Many people have lost interest because nothing new was being made, so they just quit.  I do not support this decision, but I cannot blame them either.  Like many of the other "veterans" on this site, I have been on and off, but have never officially quit.  Sometimes one just needs to think.  

Hopefully by now, I have made it clear: not another Mr.T should be posted ever again.  They are great guns for those learning the ropes.  That is about it.  There are so many other options out there.  Horizontal magazines, pump systems, lever systems, bolt systems, and so many more.  Make up your own system!  Combine different systems!  There are millions, maybe billions of different ways to put a thousand K'nex together, so why limit yourself.  You are all builders, which means that you see things in your head before you make it.  But sometimes these ideas come to us in inopportune times, so what do you do?  Write it down.  Even if your drawing skills are as pathetic as mine, just scribble it out so you can make sense of it, and then refine it later with a ruler.  Then get to work on it.

So, here are the steps you can take to advance this community:

1.  Stop posting Mr.T!!!  He can be a good teacher, but that is about all.

2.  Be different!  My goal when I entered this community was to make guns that nobody has ever made.  No two of my guns are similar, nor are my guns like any others out there.  You have millions of options.  Make use of them!

3.  If you have an idea, write it down!  Even if it seems absurd, I guarantee that it, even if it only be small parts of it, will improve your building skill.

I really hope this has made you want to make something different. Not much more I can say.  Just go do it.

Oblivitus and TheDunkis have started building a database of different gun elements and different ways of approaching them.  Check it out and feel free to contribute!  




My age: Old enough to use proper spelling and punctuation.


I'm sorry, normally I use proper spelling and punctuation although I'm dutch.
But it was late so I was tired. But here you go:
In the Heavy Cannon video he looks like he's 9, so he must be 13 now? I don't think so.

*Ahem* (Sorry I had to give a witty answer, don't mind it.)

I'm just joshing :-p

Sorry, I never give out my age online. I probably should have just said that to start with :-p

Nice post :-)

One thing to keep in mind is that many "veterans" who helped build this community are now working full time, in university, etc, so it should be no surprise that they aren't very active any more (myself included).

Combined with the fact that it's no longer easy to come up with something simple and interesting, we have such high expectations, it's hard for a newb to progress without just giving in and saying "I'm building a TR, this is the pinnacle of K'nex gun creation. Why try any more?" I wish we could train in more members to be the innovators of the next generation. But it's not like we can start a master-apprentice thing. I just hope that K'nex building database takes off.

Yeah, thats why I'm trying to get the new comers to continue on what has already been done, instead of starting all over.

That certainly would be the idea situation, but at the same time I would say that the best way to learn to build new stuff is to get a good handle on the old stuff (by building some of it), especially if the builder in question very young. They shouldn't post the basic designs that they are coming up with, but you need to learn to walk before you start to run :-)

How old are you? In your vids you seem very young.

Here's an idea if anyone wants to try it. It was a concept I had long ago that I attempted but didn't have enough experience to make it practical. I don't like working with pumps yet else I'd try again.

Basically, you're making a simplified bolt action chambering system with a pump. A power transfer block goes over the magazine (think of like a TR turret barrel). When you pull the pump, it directly pushes back the pin and cocks it, and it lets a round into the chamber. When you push the pump forward, it goes back over the magazine and separates the contact between the loaded and unloaded rounds. The result is a new form of bullet chambering that doesn't require any ramps, extra barrels, pins, etc. Of course it's complicated in its own ways. You could start simple and forget the pump for now. Then we could just use a charging handle. It should make for an interesting challenge that could also make for a practical weapon when finally perfected.

So how does the firing pin come into contact with the round if the transfer mechanism will be in line with the round? I have thought of this transfer mech, but it works in conjunction with a ramp, sliding the bullet up with the release of the pump, in fact, it is utilized in the drawing above. Without a ramp, the transfer rod would need to be free moving, so that it can move back to allow a bullet to be loaded, and move forward so that it can propel the bullet when the ram hits it.

Sorry, didn't get back to you sooner, yeah, I figured it'd be relatively loose but still held in securely enough. Basically ramming it into the ammo would set it back to be hit by the ram.

I still don't think I'm on the same page. But hey, I'm down for any bolt action system that doesn't involve an annoying ramp. Maybe you can build a demonstration mech so some of us can try to use it?

Dang, I wish I had a picture of my last attempt. It's not all that complicated. Imagine a barrel with open sides like my repeating shotgun. Then you have a flat barrel piece with a power transfer pin. It'd probably also help to have an extension in front of the barrel on each side that keep the round centered. So you pull this back, it cocks the pin, you move it forward, it pushes a round out of the magazine which also sets the pin transfer back.


6 years ago

Hay gaise. I found this picture that I probably made a very long time ago and nobody has done it yet. Go do it.


What is it? Some kind of bolt action?

Bolt action shotgun. Shoots 4 yellow rods with every pump.

In one picture, the pin and bolt seem higher up than in another picture. Why is it like that? Does the black rectangle move up and down?

Sometimes, i get a good idea for an innovative gun/mech.

But every time I start building, it just miserably fails. The problem is: I can't get the idea from my head to my hands. Because everytime I start to build, I just becomes a generic and not innovative gun/mech. And I know, the pro's say: Post the idea so we can work on it, but yeah... If I can think of a new mech, the pro's can do it for sure. And I read some other comments, like the last one to didexo, but I do not believe that I can come up with something that is more innovative/better than you, Kinetic. Just because I'm less creatively oriented than you. Any help? What do you do when you want to get inspiration? Go for a walk?


What I think is happening is that you need your gun to work every time. That is why is slowly degrades into something that works, instead of what you planned to build, as you build it. Instead of designing a mechanism for the gun, you need to design the gun for the mechanism. Don't let the gun be your limiting factor, let your mind be the limiting factor. Usually with me, the problem is not so much of getting an idea, but with figuring out how to make it work. That is where the rest of the gun comes in. It all depends on the original idea though. I do most of this figuring out while on a run or at night. Those are the few times of the day that I have to just think.

That's exactly what I am dealing with every time when I start building. But the problem is that I can't turn off the 'already existing mechanisms' button, if you know what I mean. The old mechs are getting into my mind every time :S

Thanks for the tips.


6 years ago

You are somehow right.
true, everybody is sick of block triggers but I think nothing is wrong with an old
pin mechanism if the gun looks and functions good.
It's true we need innovation and new builders.
I surely want to be part of the 'new innovations community' although I'm not a veteran like Mepain, Killerk ETC
What you are doing is making it harder for newbs to step into the world of knex guns.
But hey! If you want new innovations start by yourself, (in kinect's way this isn't true because he's one of the big innovators) but people, come on don't complain about others while you're a mister T too
I agree, I'm a mister T too but I'll try to change that.
But I will finish my sniper although it's a T gun

I'm not trying to make life harder for newcomers, in fact I am trying to to the opposite. If an inventor had no knowledge of today's automobile and tried to market his "newly developed" steam engine, he would be laughed at. Unfortunately that is the situation that we are encountering here, except that this inventor is introducing new steam engines every day be cause they are accepted by the community, and at this point, there are more steam engines than gasoline engines. The point is that with accepting this steam engine, the community is regressing rather than progressing. And as any community, society, or empire has become aware of over the years, you improve or you fall apart.

Why would you be degressing if you'd use a steam engine, accepted by the community? It doesn't help innovation, but it doesn't do the opposite too, does it?

The point of a community is to progress. Without progression, it falls apart. When something better is readily available to the community, but the community simply refuses to use it based on the fact that what they have is good enough, they are regressing within themselves by refusing to take the initiative to improve.

I think that everybody wants to progress, but I think that it isn't readily available for everyone so they just rely on the old systems, or not?

And I always try to take the initiative to improve, but 90% of all tries fails, so that actually demoralizes me, but I'm still trying.

I totally agree with this topic and TD. Summer is nigh, and I have a lot of innovative ideas I want to put to use. It's not necessarily the community in general, but rather several people building Mr. T repetitively. They need to realize that they are, after all, the ultimate machine. So why not put that power source of the machine (the brain), to use?

Exactly. Don't let your surroundings be the limiting factor. Your own mind is your limiting factor, and once that resource is exhausted, then make use of what others have to offer.

I agree. The only things people seem to be posting these days are their modded TR's. To make an innovative gun, you must have a new and good idea. If I just sit down and try to make an innovative gun and I don't have a new idea, then it just ends up as a boring and generic mag fed gun. Right now I am dry of innovative ideas, but I'm not done with K'nexing. What are you currently working on?

If you can't think of something, then just look around you. The many mechanisms that make up the machines that we come into contact with every day can very well be applied to a firing system in some form. Usually I just try to come up with different ways of isolating a bullet like a bolt action system.

The last two pictures are my current projects. The first is a fully automatic system which utilizes the energy in a wound band to set off the hammer three times consecutively. However not very practical, I am going to continue working on it to make it as efficient as possible. There is one ratchet in there that is giving me problems, but I think that if I can fix it, friction will be greatly reduced.

The second is merely an Idea at the moment, but as I have finished taking pictures of the K2, I will finally have the pieces to work on it. It shoots balls (made up of two of those half-cylinder pieces held together by green rod) using a sling mechanism and is slide action.

Try a pump action slingshot with down-loading magazine.
I know it has been done before but this idea isn't completed yet

You're right. Knexfreek was the only one to make a true pump action repeater, but the part I always hated about his was that the band had to slide under the bullet, really eliminating the need for too much ingenuity and limiting the band capacity in the process. I will work on this soon depending on how far I get with the K4 (the one in the drawing).

cool. I'm glad you appreciate my idea

Are replying to me or Kinetic? Are you talking about a pump action slingshot with a bottom loading magazine?

I was replying to Kinetic and yes, I mean bottom loading.

Ok. I don't think Kinetic will be able to make it, because he is working on another project.


Reply 6 years ago

I would love to see that. I am trying to get a group together to help make an instructables "Collaborative guide to the next generation of K'nex Guns". I would really want to make this as good as possible, and am willing to make each individual mechanism that we talk about rather that using other guns as examples. That way newcomers will be able to make their own gun based on the mechanisms, rather that a gun based on the example gun. It may take a long time, but I thin it will be well worth is. If you want to help let me know.

The problem with me and in my opinion some other builders too, is that we have the idea(s), but can't get it to our hands.

It's simple, we need innovation, but we're low on simple concepts that new innovators like to develop. But people don't appreciate steps. We think innovation happens over night. No, let's think about bolt action for example: it started with the simple idea of having a charging handle on the pin, first fixed, then sliding. Then it evolved into the idea that a round could be pushed out of a hopper into the chamber like a real weapon. Then it was figured out how to make a bottom loading magazine and that you could use bolt action chambering to increase the range of a weapon. Then we went into dual shots, breach loading, removable magazines, etc. for bolt action weapons. And then I wanted to try somehow making an auto-chambering weapon somehow. This is something that evolved over the course of several years. That's just one example. We could say the same for turrets from their start as revolver concepts to the ratchet turrets we have today.

The point I'm trying to make is that if we get an idea, even if it seems like nothing special, we should work with it. It may develop into something big some day.

Hopefully I get some inspiration, I'll have plenty of free time this summer. I sort of just went brain dead and lost interest even after getting more pieces.

Hey TD can you accept my member request
On knexbuilding.wikispaces?
I can't wait to add more useful stuff

Read this comment^^^^^^

This is the essence of community progression.

I pity the fool...


6 years ago

"There are millions, maybe billions of different ways to put a thousand K'nex together, so why limit yourself."

Fun fact: a K'nex rod and a K'nex connector can be attached in an infinite number of ways. Literally.


I very much agree. I'm considering getting the k'nex out again as my mechanical ingenuity has improved considerably since I became vastly inactive. After GCSEs, mind.