Here are part counts for some of the K'NEX sets. Following the table are general comments on K'NEX pieces.
|K'NEX Piece||Description||Big Ball Factory||Giant||Explorer||Launcher||Solar Super 10||Motor Pack|
|Orange Tabbed Connector||39||-||6||-||-||-|
|Light Grey Connector||24||15||12||6||12||-|
|Dark Grey Connector||184||225||59||17||10||-|
|Tan Wheel-Axle Connector||16||20||22||12||15||24|
|Orange Chain Clip||2||-||4||2||2||-|
|Yellow Notched Rod||-||-||4||-||-||-|
|Grey (Flexible) Rod||22||20||16||4||5||-|
|Black (Rigid) Rod||1||4||4||1||-||-|
|Yellow Spoked Wheel||-||-||-||4||2||-|
|Electric Motor & Gear||-||-||-||-||-||Yes|
|Solar Cell & Motor||-||-||-||-||Yes||-|
Naturally, some K'NEX designs are going to require parts in different proportions than what is provided in the prepackaged kits. Fortunately, several different K'NEX parts may be exchanged with each other without impacting the structural integrity or function of your design. For example, a blue connector may be used in place of a white one as long as seven or fewer rod connections are made to it. Similarly, the tabbed (orange) and untabbed (yellow) versions of the 5-rod connector are often interchangeable. In the K'NEX design books, the tabbed version seems to be used exclusively for attaching tubular flexible track. We found this track to be unruly at best, and it often requires trimming to a specific design. Consequently, we avoided its use whenever possible; for example, we created an interesting modification of the Big Ball Factory that avoided tubing altogether.
The numerous dark-grey single-rod connectors can be used as washers or spacers on axles by either clipping them on securely or merely slipping their circular ends over the rod. As well as securing a gear or a wheel to an axle, the tan connector can be used as an axle endcap, producing less of a protrusion than the dark-grey connector.
We found no functional difference between the like-sized red, tan and notched yellow rods, other than the built-in connector lock feature of the yellow one (which perhaps avoids the use of extra dark-grey connectors). As stated in the K'NEX instruction books, the grey rod is much more flexible than the similarly-sized black rod. However, the grey rods are usually more numerous in kits than the black ones, so we often had to use grey rods when the more-rigid black ones might have been preferable.
On occasion, a wheel/tire combination can be used horizontally to provide a cushion or shock absorber for moving components. The large red and yellow gears can often be used interchangeably, but the yellow gear's extending teeth provide much more reliable gearbox operation in a design involving perpendicular axles. The small blue gear has an axle-locking capability similar to the larger sizes, but the small grey gear does not, and so is more suitable for decorative uses.
As mentioned in some of the K'NEX instruction books, the two-piece red/yellow ball is essentially fused together once it has been assembled. We found that a ball could be disassembled by a sharp impact, but if you want to create designs using the open hemispherical ball halves, it would be a good idea to keep a disassembled ball in reserve.
K'NEX Industries maintains very high quality control on the production of K'NEX plastic pieces - one reason the various parts fit together so well. Production run numbers are sometimes marked in unobtrusive areas of the individual pieces.
Some of the later K'NEX kits, such as the Launcher series, include a few new parts that make some mechanical designs easier. These parts include a light-blue axle spacer, matched blue/green pairs of hinged connectors (think of an orange connector that can bend in the middle), and a large yellow spoked wheel/gear. These new pieces should provide a capability for improved K'NEX designs, particularly in areas where pivots and hinges are needed. However, if you don't have these new pieces, you can still create a fully-functional and very flexible hinge with a single chain piece, an orange chain clip and a straight orange connector.
The new Solar series contains a small electric motor powered by a separate solar cell. Provided with a long cord, the solar cell can be positioned on a stand a good distance away from the mechanical design containing the motor. We found the solar-powered motor to perform best on designs having lighter moving parts or low torque requirements. More heavy-duty creations would probably function better with the AC electric motor.
The new kits, Cosmic Invaders and Blazing Bikes, provide people-shaped figures that can be rigidly positioned using ball-and-socket joints in new K'NEX pieces.
Here are all the possible lengths using 20-mm orange connector(s) with three or fewer rods:
|144||3||Green White Blue|
|176||3||Green White Yellow|
|197||3||Green Blue Yellow|
|213||3||White Blue Yellow|
|219||3||Green White Red|
|240||3||Green Blue Red|
|256||3||White Blue Red|
|272||3||Green Yellow Red|
|282||3||Green White Grey|
|288||3||White Yellow Red|
|303||3||Green Blue Grey|
|309||3||Blue Yellow Red|
|315||3||Green Red Red|
|319||3||White Blue Grey|
|331||3||White Red Red|
|335||3||Green Yellow Grey|
|351||3||White Yellow Grey|
|352||3||Blue Red Red|
|372||3||Blue Yellow Grey|
|378||3||Green Red Grey|
|384||3||Yellow Red Red|
|394||3||White Red Grey|
|415||3||Blue Red Grey|
|427||3||Red Red Red|
|441||3||Green Grey Grey|
|447||3||Yellow Red Grey|
|457||3||White Grey Grey|
|478||3||Blue Grey Grey|
|490||3||Red Red Grey|
|510||3||Yellow Grey Grey|
|553||3||Red Grey Grey|
|616||3||Grey Grey Grey|
|2-Piece Sequence||3-Piece Sequence|
Copyright © 1999 Balmoral Software. Portions copyright © 1999 K'NEX
Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution is
expressly prohibited without prior written consent.