Introduction: Project FREEFALL K'nex Ball Machine

This is my first ball machine. It is a moderate sized machine with two paths. It features five elements throughout its course and stands about 2.5 ft. tall. A video should be posted shortly, if I have the time to make one. Feel free to comment below if any steps are unclear. Enjoy!

P.S. I didn't do a piece count because the machine used quite a few parts. Sorry.

Also, my latest ball machine can be found using this link:

Step 1: The Base and Ball Queue

This is the section of the machine that supports the tower. It may seem slightly unstable now but will become sturdier as the left and right attachments are added. The base also holds the ball queue where the balls wait to be carried to the top by the chain lift.

Step 2: The Main Tower

This is a long and repetitive step. It is probably the most crucial part of the entire ball machine. The tower holds the motor, path alternator, and most of the elements. Make sure you pay attention to all connector placements as well as how to attach individual pieces to the main structure.

Step 3: The Motor Attachment

This section drives the chain lift. Remember to closely examine the spacers between the connectors. The motor shown here can be substituted for any K'nex motor.

Step 4: The Path Alternator

This determines which path the ball will take.

Step 5: The Left Attachment

This section provides extra base support and holds some of the elements on path one. Build the first part, then the second part, and attach both to the main structure.

Step 6: The Right Attachment

This part serves the same purpose as the former step, and holds the path two elements. Build what you see in the pictures and then attach to the main structure.

Step 7: Connecting Path 1

This path leads to the first element on path one, the red ball drop.

Step 8: The Red Ball Drop

This element has been featured on many ball machines throughout this site. It consists of an arm that lowers a ball while keeping it parallel to the ground. Build the element's supporting device first, then build the arm itself.

Step 9: The Flipper

This device rotates around a few times when it receives a ball on one end, depositing it further along. Pay close attention to the spacer placement.

Step 10: The Wheel

This element spins when the flipper drops a ball onto it, returning the ball to the path below. Note that this element may not function properly every time, and may rotate in the opposite direction if the flipper hits it just right. This will not affect the movement of the ball, however.

Step 11: Connecting Path 2

This path returns the ball to the queue after it is dropped from the wheel.

Step 12: The Spiral Staircase

This is the first element on path two. Originally featured in the Big Ball Factory, This element contains a descending spiral that lets the ball ride down. Build what you see in the pictures, and attach where shown.

Step 13: The Tilting Path

This is one of my own elements. When a ball falls on the tilting path it slants forward deploying the ball on the return path. Don't forget the right spacing and the counterweights.

Step 14: Connecting Path 3

This path links the end of path two to the ball queue.

Step 15: Tension Gear

This gear prevents the chain from hitting the main structure.

Step 16: The Ball Grabbers

These devices pick the balls in the queue up and lift them to the top of the machine.

Step 17: Extra Chain Links

Make three sets of  12 links and one set of 13 links. Attach these to the ball grabbers to make a complete chain. Then wrap around the gears as shown in the picture.

Step 18: Complete!

Congratulations! You're finished! Now get up to three balls and place them in the ball queue. Only original K'nex balls will work. Then turn the motor switch to the left. If you are having trouble getting the ball machine to work, please comment.

Thanks for building Project FREEFALL. I hope you enjoy it!