Q&A With Ian about his Pinball Machine You've seen the pictures. Here are the answers to your questions.

At last week's 8th grade Purim carnival at Yeshiva Har Torah, a K'Nex pinball machine, built by Ian, had everyone talking. How did he do it? How long did it take? How did he even get it to school? So, we went to the source. Here are Ian's responses to the most commonly asked questions. Thank you to Ian for both the pinball machine and for taking the time to answer our questions!

How long did it take to build the pinball machine?

It took me a little more than 2 months to complete the pinball machine. I remember clearly that I started building it on a Saturday in August 2016. I stayed up until after midnight to get the table base and flippers done. I was so excited that I took a picture of it that night. The picture is dated August 21, 2016 at 12:20AM. I finished building it towards the end of October. I mostly build on the weekends and spend hours thinking, building and brainstorming.
Day 1

How did you figure out how to do it? How did you get the idea?

I decided I wanted to make some sort of game that people could play. I thought of many ideas including a bowling game, a skeeball machine [Ed. Note: We Want skeeball!] , a basketball shooting game, and even a foosball table. I started to build a bowling game but then I got bored of the idea. So I started thinking of other ideas and looked on the web for inspirations. I found some pictures and videos of pinball-type machines and I decided to try to make one.
The machine in use at the carnival
It took me a really long time to plan out how I was going to build it. I searched for pictures of pinball machines just to get an idea of how they looked. I first started with the basic table frame and I added the first 2 flippers. I then basically designed the rest as I built. I decided to have two sets of flippers, one pair in the front and one pair in the back. I also decided to have two chain lifts in the backboard of the pinball machine to bring more excitement into the game. I then created many holes in which the balls could fall into and go up the different paths. From there I added obstacles and rubber bands for the ball to hit and bounce off of. Afterwards, I added many different paths for the ball to take to lead to the two chain lifts. Then I was finished!

How long have you been building these kind of creations?

I have been building with K'nex since I was 7 years old. Both of my older brothers had gotten a lot of K'nex sets as birthday presents. I loved to play with them. I used to always help them build their creations using the instructions. We built roller coasters, ferris wheels, and a carousel. One day, my brother showed me a website called instructables.com where people post pictures and directions of things they thought of and made. It then occurred to me that you could make anything you want and not just what was on the instructions. From then on, I almost never made anything out of K'nex with instructions. The first thing I ever made out of K'nex without instructions was a model of the Empire State Building. It stood five and a half feet tall. I then made the Eiffel tower, a suspension bridge, a k'nex piece vacuum cleaner, model of our house, and different ball contraptions.
Ian's pinball machine proved a big hit!

How did you get it to school?

We had to put the backseats down in our minivan and we laid the pinball machine down on its side. It just fit without having to detach the backboard of the pinball machine or the legs.

Have you built other similarly complex creations?

Yes, I spent about a month building a complicated, ball contraption machine where multiple balls would go down different paths and be taken up with chain lifts and dropped to follow other paths.[Ed. Note: The "Ball Contraption" won Ian and his partner, Richie, 1st Place at the Inter-YEshiva Science Congress Last Year for a project titled "Randomness: A Mathematical Analysis."]
Ian and Richie Win 1st PRize at the Inter-Yeshiva Science Congress last year
No big deal, just an 8th grader and a pinball machine HE MADE FROM SCRATCH!

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