Introduction: Guide to Ball Machine Elements

About: I am an artist in many forms of media. I create graphic design on the computer, draw on paper, build with K'nex, and film/edit videos.

Here it is. A guide to many different ball machine elements. Any element that needs it has a base that makes it clear how to attach it to a machine. Each element comes with at least 3 angles of perspective, so it is easy to see and understand how they work. To see these elements in action go to Enjoy!

Step 1: Ball Arm

This is a simple element with pleasing results. They use few pieces, are easy to mount, and look great in rapid succession (See MECHNA- A K'nex  Ball Machine). It cradles the ball, tips over, then deposits it at a lower level. Lightweight, reliable, and any ball machine builder's friend. The easiest way to build one is with the special wheel on the operational end, and a ballast on the other.

Step 2: Ball Flipper

This element is great for anyone with a tall machine. The ball falls in the upward-facing side, the whole arm flips upside-down, and releases the ball on the other side. It's hard to explain, so watch the video (MECHNA It also looks great in rapid succession. Careful planning is required, however. 

Step 3: Trampoline

This element consists of rubber bands strung on a small structure. The ball falls on (Hopefully from a high distance) the rubber bands, which send the ball skyward in the opposite direction. The best way to catch a flying ball is with a basket (Step 6)

Step 4: Gravity Chute

This is the element that either should only be used for a short distance, or as a last resort. This should only really be used for momentum leading up to elements that need it. It can be lengthened or shortened to your liking, but try to refrain from making it a whole path unless you're low on pieces, because it is very, very boring.

Step 5: Ball Arm (Modified)

This is an element of my very own design. The ball enters on the top, the arm lowers, pushing the "Small Bit" through the wheel, pushing out the ball. Very consistent if built correctly. Very satisfying if put on your machine. The hinge is installed diagonally on a white rod. Feel free to use in your ball machine. (HIGH POINT TOWER 2-

Step 6: Baskets

These useful tools are mainly used to catch balls that have been launched into the air. Usually made of 4 similar panels connected at the ends, and mounted on a base.

Step 7: Shuffleboard

This piece-consuming, time-consuming, and effort-consuming element looks nice on ANY ball machine. It consists of a plane with vertical pegs sticking out, which allow the ball to slide between them. it can be used as a way to separate paths, but it's less consistent when used this way. Micro K'nex pieces are recommended for making this element. Trust me, I will never say that about any other element. (HIGH POINT TOWER 2-

Step 8: Wheels...

Personally, my least-favorite elements. In all of my ball machine experience, I have only managed to use a wheel as an element on its own successfully TWICE. No picture here, because I didn't have enough time, spare pieces, or enough of a will to build one. Sorry. But if you do want to see one in action, go to and watch HIGH POINT TOWER (The first one)

Step 9: Spiral Stairs

This is a simple, classic, fun-to-watch element that is sure to please any viewer. First introduced in the Big Ball Factory, this element an excellent filler for any machine. Pretty simple. Ball goes on, rolls around it, and falls out the other side. One of my personal favorites for looks.

Step 10: Red Ball-Dropper

This is a small elements that consists of al arm with 2 level rails. The ball sits on the rails, the arm lowers, and the ball is released at the bottom. It's simple, useful, compact, and fun to watch. Better for smaller machines, but can be used on larger machines as well. Looks great in rapid succession.

Step 11: The Red Stairs

This element doesn't have much freedom. Little or no turns. The only reason you should have this on a machine is for connecting elements, or for looks. First introduced in the Big Ball Factory.

Step 12: Fall-Through

This element is really great. It adds to path time, space, and it's easy to build. Great for all ball machines- big or small. It can be lengthened or shortened to your liking, depending on space, and number of pieces. It is pleasing to the eye, and can reduce impact if a ball is falling into a lift station. It consists of a body containing pairs of rails that are farther apart on one side than the other. The ball rolls from the thinner part to the wider part, until it falls through to the next one.

Step 13: Ball Alternators

This is a small element where the ball lands on it, it drops, and the ball rolls off. Looks great in rapid succession. Used in High Point Tower 2, these were in rapid succession ( in the pictures below. Very simple, but they require careful planning if put in rapid succession. Great filler element/ element connector in general.

Step 14: Single-Rail Fall-Through

This element is one of my own design. It's hard to explain the structure and the function. Look at the pictures and you'll understand. Better for larger ball machines. Make sure the ball enters this element with little momentum, or it may bounce off.

Step 15: Chain Rider

In this element, the ball rolls over a length of horizontal chain. The chain is attached to connectors on either side of the chain. They are snapped onto two rods. One rod must be higher than the other. Be sure the ball is guided onto the chain from a straight entry, or it will fall off. Careful planning required, especially if there are multiple chains in rapid succession. Always an interesting element on any ball machine.

Step 16: The Drop Arm

A fascinating element. The ball rolls along the path, falls into the pit, and the downward force causes the whole arm to tilt forward. This releases the ball. (GALACTUM- This element is easy to build, mount, and extend. The longer the arm, the heavier the ballast, however. Make sure the area above, and below the arm are clear so it can function.