Building towers with k'nex is cool, but hard when you are low on pieces.
With this instructable I'll try to show an alternative way of building a k'nex tower then the well known square shape.
This guide consists of the next parts:
Building the basic shape (steps 1-3)
Building the base of the tower (steps 4-5)
Strengthening the structure (steps 7-9)
"Getting it up" (step 10)
my towers (steps 11-13)
This is my first instructable so it isn't enything overly special but yet I found it something interesting to share, I add or change certain sections at times if i come up with extra information or if i find errors.
Most of the images are a bit cutted at the sides (that's why the odd shapes) and are reduced in file size (less sharp).
Step 1: Building the The Basic Shape I
We will be using a triangle shape, this gives us corners of 60 degrees.
To start off, use a connector like the (old colors:) yellow or white one.
Take one type of rods as the length of the 'tower' and the bigger rod as diagonal.
To make a first shape of the tower, make three of these.
Step 2: Building the Basic Shape II
In this step we will build the first part of the tower that realy stands
put a connector at the bottom/top side (place where they are not yet connected) and connect the diagonals with it to get the shape as shown in the image.
Step 3: Buidling the Basic Shape III
Now repeat the first 2 steps but only one row of connectors is needed, the other side of the rods are attached to the shaped you finished in step 2. This should give you the structure as shown in the image below.
Repeat this step multiple times and you'll get some nice tower. (While the size also depends on what length of rods you chose in step one)
Step 4: Building the Base of the Tower I
When replacing the connectors at one (or multiple) edges of the triangular structure, you can attach a second structure.
Doing this at all 3 edges will give some stability.
Step 5: Building the Base of the Tower II
From here on there are multiple ways to make a bigger base.
I optioned for putting another triangle at each of the corners and connect the parts where possible.
when working with increased hights to the centre, you'll get something like the image shows.
Step 6: Information
Now, with all this you can build a tower with some hight.
But the bad side of the story is that the structure is a bit fragile. (Hence the pickture.)
This is due to the connectors are always supported in 2 dimensions instead of 3. This way they are fragile to high pressure or slightly horizontal forces. The area will bend and make the whole structure collaps. Which is very troublesome when building realy high towers or when there's wind mettling.
That's why we'll add some extra strength in the following steps.
And as some might have noticed, this strengthening has been applied at the lower part of the tower in the image. And where did it start breaking? Right above that point ofcourse. (You see the difference in angle of the tower changing behind the wooden bar.)
Step 7: Strengthening the Structure I
For this step we need to make something that both replaces the diagonal rod and supports the vertical rod.
So we use connectors of either the blue or white type (I tend to use the blue ones as those haven't been used yet) and attach 2 rods (yellow) at both sides that, together, have the same length of the diagonal rod (grey).
To this, attach a rod (blue) that's half the vertical rod (red). At this end is a grey connector.
I bet the image is a lot easier to understand...
When replacing the diagonals with this at more then one place, you can connect them with an extra rod like the second image shows.
Step 8: Strengthening the Structure II
Now implement these parts in the structure. I think the best way is to let the blue rods pointll go clockwise at one level and anticlockwise at the next and so on.
This way your tower structure should be capable of going even higher.
Step 9: Strengthening the Structure III
To add even more strength to structure, it can be done by making these small connections trough a blue rod with one-clip connectors (grey ones).
Attach these at the middle line formed by the previous strengthenings and to the corner. I hope the image is good enough to make things clear.
Step 10: Getting It Up
I hadn't thought about it to put section in the instructions aswell, but it seems rather important in the end.
So i got a tower from over 7 meters up, but never said how to assemble this tall thing.
As meny may have noticed, it's standing very close to the house and this has a reason.
I build the ground section about as tall as me when standing on the table. Don't put chairs or eny other constructions on top of each other in order to stand higher! After that I assemble the 2 or 3 other man-high pieces an let them lean against the house. To put this top section on the bottom section, I lift it up and let it slide over the roof gutter.
This part is tricky caus you also have to slide it sideways and put it over the bottom section, I've failed this part meny times resulting in a scattered tower.
Both sections aim with one side to the house (and not a corner) when both pieces are over each other, i attach the 2 connectors to the rods that are at the house's side. Finally i pull the tower straight and attach the last connector to the rods.
Doing these things are dangerous, only stand at stable grounds so you can't fall over. If something happens, leave the tower be and get yourself safe. The knex tower might break, but only somethimes one of the connectors actually loses one of the pins.
I almost dropped the camera once when trying to catch the falling tower, luckely the camera survived.
Also, to the house is this wooden structure to help the trees grow in a certain way, This can either give an extra support to the tower or keep myself a bit safe when it's falling over. K'nex is safe to play with if you keep yourself into a safe position.
Step 11: My Tower
In this image you see how high I managed to build my tower.
The images are taken from bottom to top with a yellow plate at each 10 red rods high and blue ones in between.
as each combination of red rod and connector is 15 cm, there are 5 plates (each image should overlap the other with one plate, except the last one overlaps both yellow plates) and 2 or 3 more rods attop.
This result is (50+2)*0.15cm = 7.8 meters (7.95m if you count the flags) [=22.3 (22.8) ft.]
I also got 2 video's at youtube
Tower i made before the one in the picktures: (it doesn't have the flags on top of it)
This tower while trying to record it and it falls down caus of the wind straining it too much:
Step 12: My Tower - V2
After buying some more knex on a flea market, building it thicker and trying a few different ways of building it, I ended up the tower shown in the pickture.
It's about 9,388 m (or 30.8 ft) and stood for a minute. It fell down caus i couldn't find a better place in the grass where the ground was more horizontal and caus of sudden winds.
The top section (the bending beams and flags) were always calculated as 2 x 15 cm. I measured it now and i got at 39.3 cm. While the bottom section rests on smaller pieces, it gets down with 0,525 cm.
So I got it's length with: 59 (complete sections) * 15cm + 14,5 cm + 39,3 cm = 938,8 cm
ofcourse, it crashed again. This time I blame the grass ground i used (i needed more space in case it fell over). It wasn't flat and completely horizontal so it stood a bit tilted already. At times the wind blew and....
it stood alone for about a minute.
And I thank my mom for helping me with connecting the last section caus it was impossible to do it alone.
Step 13: My Tower - V2
Today I changed the supports a bit (got the tallest one lower and shortest one taller) and had a bit more luck with the wind.
The first time the tower stood for quite a while and i got some video material worked into a youtube video.