It’s really a wonder that we missed this one, what with all the extra time in front of a computer we’ve had over the last year or so. But better late than never, we always say, so behold, (a little at a time, because there’s quite a lot to look at), [Tyler Bower]’s pinball machine built entirely from K’nex.
Where do we even start? This is a full-size pinball machine, as in 7′ tall, 5′ long, and 3′ wide. [Tyler] estimates that it’s made from about 16,000 pieces, or around 73 pounds of plastic, much of which was obtained locally and is secondhand. Many of those pieces make up the ten drill motor-driven chain lifts in the back — these move the ball through the machine after it goes through one of the track triggers and return it to the playfield in various delightful ways.
Speaking of ways to score, there are nine of them total, and some are harder to get to than others. They all involve some really amazing K’nex movement, and each one uses aluminum foil switches to trigger scoring through a MaKey MaKey.
Of course there’s a multi-ball mode, but our favorite has to be the trap door in the playfield that gets you to the mini pinball game in the upper left, because only the best pinball games have some kind of mini game. Either that, or our favorite is the rotating arm that swings around gracefully and drops the ball on a track. Anyway, all nine elements are explored in the video after the break, which frankly we could watch on repeat. If you’re hungry for more details, there’s quite a bit of info in the description.
The only thing this machine is missing is a tilt switch, but as you’ll see in the video, it would probably get triggered quite often. Is this somehow not cool enough for you? Here’s a slightly bigger K’nex ball machine that doesn’t seem to move as much, but also isn’t a full freaking pinball machine complete with meta game.
Thanks for the tip, [Itay]!
12 thoughts on “K’nex Pinball Machine Is A Playable Work Of Art”
That’s an impressive build. Designing a game with more than just targets but with actual game play is hard enough, but then building it in Knex is wicked cool.
And I gave my K’nex away last week….
Holy snapin’ crap, that’s amazing!
There was an official K’nex pinball set. I got one at a goodwil for $25 or so. It was pretty neat, but this blows it away
Next step for the builder is to do a K’nex version of the Wintergatan marble machine!
Haha now that would be next level. Maybe I’ll give it a shot once I disassemble the pinball machine. But probably definitely not because Wintergatan is insane. I do want to make a giant regular ball machine sometime though!
he spent lockdown wisely. great build
wobbly ugly k’nex. It´s miracle such a thing just holds in place while begin played.
I experimented with different support systems and this is the best I could come up with. At the end of the day, the pieces are made of plastic and have quite a bit of give, so there’s only so much I can do on the design side. Although it wobbles quite a bit, it’s very durable.
Congrats! You have done really good work here and loaded it up with good challenges. Thanks for sharing!
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