K'nex Pinwheel

About: I've had K'nex as long as i can remember but it wasn't until I was old enough to have a credit card and an eBay account that I started working on much larger scale projects. I've built roller coasters and t...

The Ultimate of K'nex wheels. Due to its genius design it can carry a ball though more than 180 degrees of rotation. An earlier version of this can be found on my YouTube page. This version now comes with side loading, shorter re-set period and more rotation.

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Step 1: Frame First

Pictures 1, 2 and 3 show the frame that I used as a model. This shape is not necessary but does show the clearance needed and the relative height of the loading/unloading platforms. Picture 1 shows the frame with the wheel in place.

ITEM A: Loading platform
ITEM B: Unloading platform

Step 2: Crucial Carriage

In this step we have the carriage. The blue rod on the far end is part of the mechanism that makes the wheel wondrous. This carriage is not the only shape but is the most successful. The carriage can be made wider or narrower to fit the inside of the wheel.

Step 3: Half a Wheel

Picture 7 shows one half of the wheel. The carriage made in the previous step fits into the fluorescent red connector. If you don't have any golden connectors they can be replaced with anything else you want.

Step 4: Another Half a Wheel

Picture 6 shows the second half of the wheel. This part is by far the most complicated. The base frame is the same as that in step 3. The orange rods are specifically placed but could be replaced with any rod of the same length. The various attachments are crucial to the design and fit neatly into the blue connectors and black clamps.

ITEM C: Counterweight - slides over the lowest of the orange rods

(NOTE: the weight can be constructed of any materials, provided it is heavier than the weight of the carriage and the ball it carries.)

Step 5: Half + Half = Wheel

Assemble the wheel attaching the orange rods to their corresponding connectors so that the fluorescent red connectors are aligned. Place the carriage between the red connectors and adjust it's size so that it swings easily.

Step 6: Assembly and Assessment

Slide the wheel into place by adding a rod through the center as an axle and you're done. I estimate that the wheel will reset itself every 15seconds.

(NOTE: This version is for K'nex brand balls only. For different balls ask for help)
(NOTE: Coloration makes no difference to the operation of this component)
(NOTE: The wheel ought to rotate clockwise. If it turns the other way add a light weight on the right of the wheel to solve this)

Do not hesitate to ask for any help on any difficulty you may encounter.

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    34 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Sure, why else would I make detailed instructions for it and post them on the biggest 'How-To' website there is? Besides Kairah89 already copied it in their machine 'Metropolis'.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 3

    No. Its just what i had lying around. You could use red connectors or yellow ones


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It allows the ball to undergo about 270degrees of rotation (clockwise in this case) as opposed to the usual 180. It featured in my video "Operation Xaxis" if you wanted to see it in operation.

    From memory the element works with golf balls too because they are my sphere of choice too. It'll probably turn faster than it would otherwise so I'd make the counterweight heavier.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i'm going to start working on it in a little while so, itll be awesome.....OR NOT! HAHA JUST KIDDING

    M wheel mostly turns counter clockwise and if it turns clockwise the ball hits the rid and doesn't reach the ramp. Also the ball hits the carriage and the carriage swings back and fourth even though the wheel hasn't turned and then falls off the carriage. Please can you help because I want to use this for my ball machine .

    1 reply

      That's quite an issue.  I can suggest weighting the wheel more so that it is more likely to turn in the desired direction.  As for the other issue i can suggest adjusting it to hang lower than I specified so as to minimize the chances that the ball falls out.
      As always, to make it work specifically for you it will require tinkering and patience but I wish you good luck and ask you to post a video of your final product and tell me about it.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 1

    Yes you can, but you will have to do some tinkering to find how to get the In/Out parts in the right positions.