Introduction: Full-Size K'NEX Pinball Machine

About: I'm a full-time safety engineer for a big oil company. I have my bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a wide variety of knowledge about music and computers.
This is a project I have been working on in my spare time for the last 2 months. I've always been a very big pinball enthusiast and decided to put my K'NEX and engineering background to use. I started out with a simple rectangular shape piece the size of my "ideal" pinball machine size and then changed pieces out as I saw fit. First I added flippers, then a launch ramp, then some action items, raised it and put a tilt to the shape, and the rest was just development and experimenting.

Everything works fantastically! The ball is more sluggish than I had anticipated but is still able to activate the targets upon impact. Most of the machine is continuous play, but the rocket launchers and catapults are all manual reset. With constant velocity motors it will be very difficult to come up with an auto-reset mechanism that doesn't interfere with the firing mechanisms.

I had ideally imagined putting acrylic as the play field base material, but it was going to be more expensive and difficult than I was ready to justify. The cardboard pieces were fairly easy and quick to put in, and when I figure out the design I want I can print something out at office depot and screen graphic the entire top.

Thank you for taking a look!

Demonstration of functionality:


For the pictures of start-to-finish progress:


I took it apart and counted pieces.

Chain Links - 75
Green Connectors - 122
Grey Connectors - 112
Small Grey Connectors - 16
Small orange Track Pieces - 9
Small Cam Shaped Connectors - 42
Medium Gears - 14
Orange Track Connectors - 64
Red Connectors - 156
Orange Connectors - 132
White Connectors - 204
yellow Connectors - 292
Purple Connectors - 522
Red Rods - 1330
White Rod - 415
Yellow Rod - 513
Flexible Rods - 36
Grey Rod - 200
Rod Spacers - 122
Motors - 3
Rubber bands - 9
Track strips - 4
Green rods - 483
Blue Rods - 976
Rocket Launchers - 2
Rockets - 6
Blue connector - 676
Toy Challenge

Finalist in the
Toy Challenge