I strengthened the gear placement so it would actually rotate instead of the gears popping out. In class though we found that the 500 gram weight was too much weight - the whole thing would tip over when it was attached! So instead of spending hours stopping it from tipping over, we dropped down to a 200 gram weight. We added a second motor for extra torque. We then redid our gear ratio to get better speed and less torque (because it was no longer needed). However, we ran into a problem where the gear in the middle would snap out of the way because the two motors combined had so much torque. I took a slowmo video here:
You can see how the gear moves the piece it is attached to to "escape" the driver gear. We are not sure yet how to fix this, but we hope soon! I'm thinking about putting lego pieces on the other side of the gear, so it can't move up and down or to the sides. It still does raise the 200 grams for the small fraction of time when the gear doesn't skip, so we know we have enough torque.