The Official Guide to Knex Ball Machine Path Selectors

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About: I'm into knex ball machine stuff. My favourite parts are lift/element hybrids, probably because I tried building a perpetual ball machine. It didn't work, of course. All my knex stuff is creative common, an...

Just like there's a guide for building ball machines and ball lifts, I decided to make one for path separators. This will go through all types of path separators with details including paths, height lost, a video and instructions if any.











Step 1: Vertical Path Separator

The most common ball switch: the vertical path separator!

Tracks: 2
Height: 1 blue rod
Video: Almost any ball machine
Instructions: Just see the pictures


(Pictures: RNBShadowman39)

Step 2: Horizontal Path Separator

This is the vertical path separator, except horizontal to save height.

Tracks: 2
Height: tilted ramp for momentum
Video: A lot of ball machines, here's one (0:24)
Instructions: Just see the pictures


(Pictures: Darth Trainman, Shadowman39, knexknexknexknex, collinjo12)

Step 3: Giant Car Switch

Build by Darth Trainman and probably fifth cousins with the vertical path separator, this has a ball-gravity powered car which changes it's side of the entrance track each time a ball lands on it.

Tracks: 2
Height: 2 red rods
Video: Seen in Project 360 (2:46)

Step 4: Infinity Switch

Sorunome's redo of YardKing's version allows many paths coming out of this ball separator.

Tracks: infinity (but no-ones ever tested)
Height: 1 Blue rod + tilt for momentum
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WP-c4BjMmY
Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-Ball-Machine-Elemenit-Infinity-Switch/

Step 5: Bezempje95's Infinite Switch

A lot like the infinity switch, except more complicated, and proper scaffold.

Tracks: As many as you want
Height: 1 blue rod + tilt for momentum
Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfatMtT_IXI
Instructions: None yet, but here are a lot of pictures:
https://www.instructables.com/id/My-collinjo12-guide-to-KNEX-Ball-Machine-Element/step54/Path-Separator/

Step 6: Shadow Separator

Sandroknexmaster made his version of the infinity switch, where a ball activates a motor at the end.

Tracks: As many as you like
Height: Tilt for momentum
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B0PKqlQx7I
Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Shadow-Separator-a-knex-ball-machine-path-separato/

Step 7: Leapfrog Separator

Sandroknexmaster also made the leapfrog separator, which is kinda similar to the previous step except all the balls are released at the same time.

Tracks: As many as you like

Height: 3 Green Rods + 1 Green Rod per Track

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtPe_q9TV9g

Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Leapfrog-Separato...

Step 8: Circular Path Separator

Shadowman39 built a curved path with barriers that push the ball out the way, which also get raised and lowered.

Tracks: 10 in example, but can be increased
Height: 1 red rod
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBJBwLS1Ijc

Step 9: Orange Slide Path Switch

This switch is a remix of the horizontal path separator and a module of the infinity switch. It was built by Mmtunligit.

Tracks: 2

Height: 1 blue rod

Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-Orange-Slide-Path-Switch/

Step 10: Barrel Roll

Each ball releases the previous ball, then gets caught in a different position. While doing this, the mechanism rotates 90 degrees.

Tracks: 2
Height: 1 red rod
Video: Explained in this ball machine (0:32)
Instructions: Follow the pictures

Step 11: Thibault's Switch

Thibault made a switch which is a mix between the 'Infinity Switch', 'Mechanical Dizzy', and the 'Barrel Role'. It uses a Ferris wheel element connected to small barriers positioned across a track.

Tracks: 8
Height: 1 red rod (+ tilt for momentum)
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISlkZ2mMBCM

Step 12: Quad Switch

collinjo12 Made a smaller version of Thibaults's separator.

Tracks: 4

Height:

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y17Um0F5gzI

Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Quad-Switch-Knex-Path-Separator/

Step 13: Mechanical Dizzy

Featured in project ARCANE by Yardking, this has a small Ferris wheel element geared to a path that turns around.

Tracks: 8
Height: 1.5 red rods
Instructions: See YardKing's comment below. (Remember, his version is for golf balls, so the entrance at the top [tagged in first pic] needs extra space.)

Step 14: Octoswitch

Caverat built this separator. This is an inconsistent separator, as it relies on a motor spinning which a ball lands on, then rolls to the side.

Tracks: 8

Height: 3 blue rods

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4bcZbW7qfk

Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Octoswitch-a-Knex-path-separator/

Step 15: Trainman's Switch

Darth Trainman made a separator that's like mechanical dizzy, this uses a spinning element to push a double path back and forth, changing which path the ball goes on.

Tracks: 2 (but can probably be modified)
Height: 1 red rod
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdmFTE_1qU4 (3:54)

Step 16: Rotating Crane Arm

MechanicalCreationMaster built this switch in his ball machine "Erection". The ball machine waits in the middle for a path to arrive, then the ball goes down it. Each path should differ so the ball goes in different directions.

Tracks: As many as you want, if it fits.
Height: Tilt for momentum, or have elements
More pictures: https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-Ball-Machine-Erection/step2/Path-Separators/

Step 17: Motorized Tilting Panel

In the ball machine Tartarus by Alocke, the path separator for network 2 is a panel that tilts like 'circle ball machine'.
Do not use with other crankshaft lifts that run at the same speed.

Tracks: 4 (can be modified)
Height: 1 red rod

Step 18: Tilting Panel

By Shadowman39, this is a small panel with 4 exits, each one leading to a lever that shifts the panel's direction. Explanation as tags in the picture.

Tracks: 4
Height: 1 red rod
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rugwVv6ZZsA

Step 19: 3-Way Geartrain Switch

This switch was built by Mmtunligit, it evenly divides three balls by combining the vertical path separator and the barrel roll.

Tracks: 3

Height: 3 blue rods

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mitgAJy3ra8

Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-3-Way-Geartrain-Switch/

Step 20: Double Drop and a Reset

Best used with other switches, this switch I made first saves one ball, the second sets it off, and the third resets the switch.
Thibault also made a version, probably earlier, in his ball machine 'the Millenium' (2:00).

Tracks: 3
Height: 1 red rod
Video: Seen in this ball machine (1:45)
Instructions: Just look at pictures

Step 21: Stacker Separator

Sandroknexmaster made another a version of the last step in his ball machine 'Paradox' (1:36), except it saves 2, and the third ball releases all the balls.

Tracks: 3
Height: 1 red rod
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPcrNoxN0V0
Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Stacker-Separator-a-knex-ball-machine-path-separat/



Step 22: Raiser Lift

A ball lift I attempted to make but had no proper entrance track mechanism, making it consistently inconsistent.
Do not use with other crankshaft lifts that run at the same speed.

Tracks: 2
Height: -1 red rod (ball goes up or down)
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-WB3c2Y4RA
Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-Raiser-Lift/

Step 23: Lifts With Multiple Exit Tracks

Lifts such as the chain lift (including most modifications) and the quadruple arm lift have different ways of holding the ball, and different places to hold to ball, meaning the ball can fall off at either point.

(Pictures: collinjo12, mathsboy314)

Step 24: Separating Arm Lift

This lift is similar to the quadruple arm lift, except the separator is in the arms instead of the hands. When the ball reaches the top of the lift, it rolls down the arm, and falls off at a different point in each arm.

Tracks: 8

Height: -6 to -10 red rods (it is a lift)

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTLSKf1oqyI

Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Separating-Arm-Li...

Step 25: Inconsistent Elements

If the ball element doesn't always land in the same place, it can classify as a ball switch.


(Pictures: KneXtreme, Shadowman39, Darth Trainman, Sandroknexmaster)

Step 26: Elements That Don't Reset Instantly

If the element doesn't reset, the next ball probably wont go the same way as the first ball. For it to be a proper path selector, one of the balls must reset it. (Almost all basic 2-path switches would fall under this category.)

Step 27: Compact Separator

This is another element that doesn't reset instantly, built by www139. This separator is convenient because the entrance track is a basic ball machine path.

Tracks: 2
Height: 1 Blue rod
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJCJdsscgJs

Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Compact-Separator-a-Knex-ball-machine-separator

Step 28: Ball Waiter

When a ball is waiting to enter an area (e.g. lift) and a new ball comes around, instead of joining the queue it can roll to the side instead.
Do not use with lifts that quickly collect balls

Tracks: 2
Height: tilt for momentum
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owQMRP64UrM


(Picture: Sorunome)

Step 29: Double Drop

This element starts from one path but because it has room for two balls, the ball go to separate areas. This is idea has been mainly used in Project 360.

Step 30: Quadruple Drop

Like the double drop, but with 4 balls.

Tracks: 4
Height: 1 blue rod
Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-Ball-Machine-Dragonfire-new-elements/step5/Four-balls-divider/

Step 31: Other Multiball Elements

If the element originates from a single track, but the balls head to different areas, then it acts as a path separator. A common example of this is found in this ball machine at the beginning separating the first 2 tracks.


(Pictures: mathsboy314Sandroknexmaster, Sorunome, collinjo12)

Step 32: Size Selector

In KneXtreme's ball machine Copper, a track is wide enough that larger balls roll over it while regular balls fall through. This is useful is you have both types of balls but only one can be used in the lift/element you're building.

Tracks: 2
Height: tilt for momentum (+1 blue rod in one track)
Instructions: Just see the picture

Step 33: That's It!

That's all I can think of. If you have any more path separators, better pictures, names or details for them, leave them in the comments and I'll add them.

Happy Knexing!

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    38 Discussions

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    GameCrusher218

    Question 3 months ago on Step 18

    I am trying to make a four way selector like this but I don't know what knex pieces I need or how to connect them or basically how to make this. Can you please make a video of how to make this, what knex pieces you need, and everything else about it please?

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    Mmtunligit

    3 years ago

    I have made a new one:

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-Orange-Slide-Path-Switch/

    3 replies
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    Mmtunligitmathsboy314

    Reply 1 year ago

    And another:

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-3-Way-Geartrain-Switch/

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    FanPlastic

    3 years ago

    Here is one I made, But it has never been tested with the 2 piece balls https://www.instructables.com/id/Wheel-Switch-a-Knex-Ball-Path-Selector/

    2 replies
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    mathsboy314FanPlastic

    Reply 3 years ago

    That falls under step 23. Can you think of a better name for that step?

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    FanPlasticmathsboy314

    Reply 3 years ago

    Not really, howzabout " super silly stylized switches of superbity"

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    NorthernF

    3 years ago

    I made this horizontal infinity switch about 2 years ago but I forgot to post it here looking through some old photos I found some pics of it. I don't have any instructions for it but I think it isnt that hard to figure out...

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    www139

    3 years ago

    Thanks a lot for making this guide! I think it will come in very handy. ;)