Intro: Helix Track
This shows the element incorporated into the structure and track 1. This was a new element that I had never used in any of my other contraptions and have since noticed other people have included them in earlier and later contraptions. Therefor I do not take credit for inventing this idea but this precise one I used was one in which I uniquely created on my own. It is a great element and is a perfect addition to a cool ball machine. My take on this element was to have the ball moving at a downward speed relatively fast so that it could have a smooth transition into the helix with enough centripetal force to keep the ball rolling around. This element was one of the most consistent ones on the contraption and failed to work only once or twice. I hope these up close photos I have included are helpful enough so that this element can be reinvented and added to many more contraptions. Enjoy!
Step 1: Creating the Entry Track
Out of the structure, you can get a feel for roughly how much track and vertical drop it takes to get the ball rolling at a fast enough speed. The blue tubing is then continued from the side rail of the entry track and is used to complete the helix. It is important to make sure that the entry track into the helix is angled in such a way so that the ball rolls on all three pieces of tubing. If you wish to use this track as an entry into the helix then experiment around with the angle and tilt of the entry track. In the structure the closest blue tubing and the furthest higher up tubing both acted as side rails so that the transition into the helix was smooth.
Step 2: Transition
The ball smoothly transitions into the helix. For this element you will need three pieces of tubing. The two shorter ones create the bottom of the entry track and the longer one is continued from the side rail in back into the helix
Step 3: Helix and Surrounding Structure
the helix can then be built and using the yellow connectors, blue rods, and long flexi rods on the outside. The tubing is connected onto the small gold track clips and attached into the yellow connectors with green rods. The blue track stops at the bottom and the ball will roll out in a horizontal direction. The bottom of the helix can easily be attached into a surrounding structure.