Making a K’Nex ball machine at home is definitely not unheard of, but creating a giant kinetic piece of art out of more than 100,000 pieces that ends up in a museum is something worth being proud about.
The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minnesota, is where some of the world’s future innovators and engineers get their education. Yes, I’m talking about a museum for kids, as I am convinced that all of them should learn about technology at an early age. That would prove much useful later in their lives than the information that they’re forced to believe. Engineering teaches kids to think creatively, to collaborate and to persist until they find solutions to their problems. The piece pictured below, which has yet to receive a title, is currently exhibited at The Works Museum, where the young folks can admire it in all of its glory.
Austin Granger, who goes by the name austron on YouTube and DeviantArt, created this K’Nex ball machine after a long series of prototypes that got to 35,000 and even 40,000 pieces. In fact, Austin documented some of them on his blog, which he seems to have abandoned in August, 2012.
The world’s largest K’Nex ball machine, as Austin proclaimed it (we’re gonna have to take his word for granted on this one), includes more than 100,000 pieces, and stands 23.5 feet tall and 40 feet long. One of the most impressive features is the inclusion of 2 lifts, 3 motors, and 8 paths. Balls go through a 20 foot free-fall, an 8 foot tall big-ball-factory spiral, a 60 foot long path, and need 3 and a half minutes to get to the tallest tower. The author of this impressive piece of geeky art did not mention how long it took him to build the K’Nex ball machine, but considering its complexity, I’m sure he spent a few months.
The following video is but a teaser of how this beautiful K’Nex ball machine works. Kids and parents lucky enough to watch this machine live might have difficulties following the ball with their eyes, since the paths are downright hypnotic.
I only wish Austin was more active online, as the blog is not the only thing that he abandoned. His DeviantArt profile hasn’t been updated since 2011, and I really think that this man should get the appreciation that he deserves.
If you liked this post, please check these old pieces of furniture converted to surrealistic wood sculptures and the Face Forward kinetic sculpture.