Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Labyrinth: 13 tracks, no end in sight.

I have gone beyond my estimation of a 12-track ball machine with the completion of my 13th track yesterday. I now have an estimated 16,000 pieces invested in this machine which is still growing daily.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Labyrinth: Vertical Race Completed

The largest track of the entire structure, the vertical race, has been completed. This track took 2 days to build, stands 7 feet tall and uses 3000 pieces. It also has its own motor. Basically, the vertical race is its own ball machine, but it will have a track branching off of it which integrates it with the rest of the tower.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Labyrinth: The Vertical Race

I am almost finished with the vertical race track. This is the largest and most complicated track in the machine, as it includes the tallest tower, its own dedicated lift hill and motor, and over 3000 pieces (as many pieces as in the entire Big Ball Factory) The two massive, 900-piece ball drops are in place, supported by the large lift tower. Construction of the switch is underway and should be completed soon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Labyrinth: New pieces, New tracks, New tower.

I have come up with a new design for a very cool track, but it will require the construction of a 7.5 foot lift tower using yet another motor. The track will use two extremely tall flapping ball chutes (as seen in the Big Ball Factory) side by side. Using my design for a simultanious ball release mechanism, I will drop one ball down each chute at the same time and they will race to the bottom. I am done with the semester and am in winter break, so I will be building a lot. More updates soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Labyrinth Preview Video

Since the labyrinth works perfectly in its half-completed state (i weighed down some of the switches so the balls only go down the 5 finished paths), I filmed this preview video showing my progress so far. Enjoy!

Labyrinth: 5 paths down, 7 to go!

The Labyrinth now has 5 paths crammed into the corner above my computer, with several more still under construction. This machine uses about 7,000 pieces so far, but that number will start to get much larger. soon. I have recently acquired about 5000 pieces from ebay and craigslist (the first actual money I have spent on k'nex in over 2 years) and have more pieces on the way. I also got a third motor, which MIGHT be used to power a fourth lift-hill, giving the Labyrinth a total of 16 tracks. If that did happen, it would not be for a few months though. I am still rushing towards a New Years Eve completion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

K'nex Ball Machine Update (working title: Labyrinth)

My new K'nex ball machine, which is now known as The Labyrinth, is progressing smoothly. I have completed 3 tracks spread across 2 towers, and 3 more are under construction. Judging by how crowded this machine is at only 1/4 completed, by the end it should be a very intense ball track. More updates late next week. (finals coming up...)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Knex Ball Tower 3 - New Tower, New Tracks

The new desk in my room is preventing me from constructing a single massive tower like the subatomic paraball, and the dual-drive mechanism for the two lift towers raised them an additional 6 inches. As a result, I know there is no way I can a room-circulating path in this machine, as it has only about 3 feet of vertical drop available. Rather than do away with this path, I decided to simply construct a third lift tower, using the powerful 12v motor I used to drive my ferris wheel. Now I have got 2 motors powering 3 lifts which branch into 12 paths. So far, 3 paths are under construction simultaneously, and I have no plans for what to do with the other 8 (assuming one will be used for the room-circulating path. With the weekend approaching and winter break in a couple weeks I am sure to be making much more progress soon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Knex Ball Tower 3 - Update

I have completed both lift towers and return ramps and added the central ferris wheel tower. (most elements on this wall will center around the wheel, including a 2-foot giant loop).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's That Time Again

We have gotten our first snow, so the outdoor projects are done for the year. To keep me from losing my sanity, I have started another large ball machine project. This unnamed project will have 2 separate lift towers at either end of the machine, branching off into anywhere from 6 to 10 tracks. The working design so far is similar to the subatomic paraball, with one large track circling my room and 2 walls full of various tracks. I will be bringing back my favorite elements of the subatomic paraball, such as the chain bridge, giant loop, ferris wheel and spiral bowl. Here are pictures of the construction progress so far. A completed model can be expected in january of 2010.

Drive mechanism completed

First tower completed

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Railgun: World's Fastest K'nex Roller Coaster

The first high-speed test of the Railgun reached nearly 120 MPH

I decided to go for the world record I missed back in 2006 with my roller coaster "Aussam". Though the tallest in the world at the time, Aussam could only reach speeds of about 50 MPH. With other coasters launching their trains at over 70 MPH I thought I would try to knock this record out of the park. The solution: Rocket engines. By using a C11 model rocket engine I managed accelerate a K'nex coaster car up to 122 MPH in only 40 feet. At 50 MPH faster than the previous record, this run will be hard to beat! A video of the coaster can be seen here: