The ENIGMA
Click images to enlarge.

The ENIGMA was a concept inspired by the old 'MOUSETRAP' Board Game. In this game a certain 'trigger' activated a series of interesting mechanisms in a chain reaction which culminated in a mouse (a plastic move piece) being captured in a cage.
The ENIGMA extends and exploits this basic concept. The result is a very challenging and complex machine which is an absolute delight to watch operating.
Enigma2small.jpg (43919 bytes) It's construction took over 2 years to complete and even today it is still being fine tuned.
To activate the ENIGMA the operator presses a button on the safety fence. Immediately, a 1.5 inch steel ball begins rolling along the tubular steel track. The aim is for the steel ball to negotiate the tortuous, convoluted track and return to its starting position.
At a certain point the ball triggers a second ball to begin the journey. The second triggers a third and all three balls are on their way. By themselves, the balls can only be impelled by gravity, so along the way they encounter a variety of mechanical contrivances which elevate them to new levels so gravity can continue its work.
These contraptions include a steam engine a steam engine driven
conveyor belt, a scissor jack, robot arm, elevator, hammer punch, lowering bridge, raising arm and last but not least a catapult that hurls the ball through the air across the machine table and into a receptacle to continue its journey.
 
   

These elevating mechanisms are powered electrically and/or pneumatically. They are controlled by logic circuits made up of many combined relays that not only control each machine but also must ensure that no two balls clash with each other, as the tracks cross a number of times.
Each machine is triggered by a ball rolling over one of the many micro switches mounted within the track.

The track itself incorporates many twists, turns, dips and rises and features a 360 degree loop which is a treat to watch. Once the button is pressed it takes nearly 3 minutes for all three balls to return to the beginning.

The Enigma is a truly unique attraction and can be operated upon request, so come along and see something that you have definitely never seen before.