Thursday, July 29, 2010

K'nex Mechanical Tail

I found a video of a mechanism similar to this on youtube a few days ago and I wanted to see if I could duplicate it with K'nex. This mechanical "tail" is about 2 feet long and and has 50 articulating joints. Fishing line runs down holes on each side of the tail, and when one of the lines is tightened, the tail curls up in that direction. This mechanism serves no real purpose and can not really be used for anything whatsoever, it was just a fun side project I decided to try while I think of new ideas for my ball machine.

Close-up of the articulating joints and the fishing line

Tail curling upwards as one side is tight

The tail "wags" in whatever direction the large yellow gear is turned

The tail, and the mechanism which powers it. The large black wheels are on hinges to keep the tension in the fishing line when slack is added to one side of the tail.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Impossible" K'nex Object

I have been suffering from 'builder's block' with my new ball machine, so I have had to resort to tinkering around with my pieces until inspiration returns. In the process of said tinkering, I came up with the idea for this 14-piece object, and it took me an hour just to figure out how to build it. I submit that this object is impossible to build OR take apart using one's bare hands. I challenge you to prove me wrong! Good luck!

note - I am not Superman (or Chuck Norris) so I did not build this with my bare hands, nor have I been able to get it apart. I constructed this with the help of 2 vices and a hammer, and it wasn't until the third try that I succeeded without breaking a piece.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ball Machine Update - Track 2 Complete

I have finished construction of the second path which links the ball launcher to the first chain lift. The path consists of a half-helix, 2 long bridges and a jump. I will try to upload a video of the two paths running together tomorrow.

Here is a close-up of the jump.
The path for the jump actually travels through the middle of the arch support.

An overview of the new path

Details of the two long bridges and the start of the jump

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ball Machine Update

I have finished the first track of my new ball machine. This is by no means the final layout for this track, but it gave me a chance to test a new element I designed, which is a tightly wound, banked helix which wraps around a column made of gray rods. About half way through the video the track enters a horizontal switch, for which the second path has yet to be constructed. I plan to start work on this tomorrow. I have also completed a vertical chain lift which brings the balls back up to my ceiling to carry them across the giant arch to the next phase of the machine, which is also under construction, but has been postponed due to design issues.


Here is a closeup of the purple tubing spiral. The design still needs work, as the balls tend to fly off the track here.

Design Experiment - Twisted Tower

This latest ball machine is all about experimenting with new designs. It has a launched ball lift and is supported by systems of arches. To add to this, I have designed a new type of K'nex support tower, modeled after the Turning Torso residential skyscraper. By pure coincidence, 6 stories of this design will create a tower that rotates exactly 90 degrees, allowing for a twisting tower that lines up with the rest of the structure. Here is the first of possibly many twisting towers to appear in this structure. This tower will support the apex of a chain lift, as well as some path switchers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New K'nex Ball Machine

I am 1 day into the construction of my latest large-scale k'nex ball machine. In order reduce the impact on the functionality of my room, the supports for this ball machine are arches, which allows for large spans and minimal floor space. I have placed my automatic ball launcher at what is now being called the 'start' of the machine near the ceiling. Other lift designs will be used elsewhere to carry the balls to this level. So far I have about 10 feet of track completed, including a horizontal path switcher and a helix.

Each of these supports is a half arch supported by k'nex on one end, and leaning against the corner of my room on the other end. They are held up by friction alone, no supports are fastened to the walls.

This is a prototype for a horizontal path switcher.

Another view of the arched supports, showing the track and the helix.

The automatic ball launcher sits atop my shelves, near the ceiling. Supports hang down from the launcher to carry the weight of the left arch.