The Meccano Society of Scotland

Ping Pong Ball Roller Module

Menstrie Challenge 2017


The challenge this year is to build a modular ping pong ball roller. On the day of the competition all the ball roller entrants will be put in series into a line or cirle. Balls will be fed into the first module. Each roller module will manipulate the ball and then pass it on to the next module.


  1. The machine should be assembled from Meccano or Meccano compatible parts.
  2. Each module will receive a ball at one end and eject it at the other end.
  3. Each module will be different according to the whim of its designer, but will conform to the following overall design specification.
  4. The design throughput is one ball per second. However, as we don't expect to use hundreds of balls, a slightly slower throughput (e.g. down to one ball per five seconds) will be acceptable.
  5. Each module can be any width, length or height.
  6. Any power source can be used.
  7. Balls will enter each module at a height of less than or equal to 9 holes and exit at a height of at least 11 holes.
  8. Standard 40mm ping pong balls will be used.
  9. The usual prize will be awarded. This will be awarded by vote of the entrants. Criteria will include reliability and aesthetic charm.

Helpfull Hints

  1. Assume that the surface the ball roller will be operated on will not be flat.
  2. Beware nearly-horizontal slopes - cheap ping pong balls are not completely balanced.
  3. The use of a plastic or metal plate where the ball lands effectively kills the bounce.
  4. Design the mechanism so that when a ball goes the wrong way (it will!), it doesn't jam the mechanism. In practice this means using rubber drive bands rather than gears or chains at critical points in the mechanism.