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Great Ball Contraptions

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  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Thanks!

    ^^ Good to know it's not just my sweeper! It only really happens if the balls are backed up and in just the wrong place - the cheese grater pieces on the sweeper help to separate them a lot, as they provide a 'point'. I originally tried it just with the two axles, and that was not good.

    ^ I'll probably do a video at some point, once the extra pieces arrive. The three smaller modules can all be run from one controller, as they can all run at the same speed.
    greatballpit
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the West (US)Member Posts: 2,439
    Does Mulan's balls work with GBC?
    https://shop.lego.com/en-US/Mulan-s-Training-Day-41151

    (Please leave it there. It just sounds funny.)
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,226
    ^ it wouldn’t. That is one of these

    https://brickset.com/parts/6070731/voodoo-ball-ø10-2

    Which are much smaller (and not completely spherical) compared to those that are compatible:

    https://brickset.com/parts/6018511/ball-ø14-2
  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 554
    edited February 2018
    Does Mulan's balls work with GBC?
    https://shop.lego.com/en-US/Mulan-s-Training-Day-41151

    (Please leave it there. It just sounds funny.)

    According to the Brickset and Bricklink part inventories, those are actually Technic ball joints, part # 32474, in which case, no, they don’t fit the GBC standard. You want part # x45 or 72824
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the West (US)Member Posts: 2,439
    Darn.

    I thought I stumbled upon a find only to discover you are both correct.

    Stupid ball joint!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Right, well I got the polarity switch today, and it turns out it's a little stiffer than I would have liked - driving the car slowly up the ramp doesn't give nearly enough momentum to flip the switch. I made the bar that it hits against higher, which helped, but not enough. I have to drive it at the third notch on the controller to give it enough speed to consistently flip the switch, and that's quite fast!

    Interestingly, I realised the switch is easier to flip in one direction than the other. Also, the car has much more momentum going down the ramp (unsurprisingly). So by turning the switch around I did get it working on just the second notch, but them pushing the balls up the ramp sapped a bit of speed and it wasn't going fast enough.

    Annoyingly, the middle point of the switch is 'off', so if it doesn't go fast enough, it only pushes the switch part-way, and turns it off...

    Anyway, I have it working fine(ish) on the third notch, even though it is a bit faster than I'd ideally like. I'll tweak it some more next week, and hopefully get it working nicely.
    Fizyx
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    edited February 2018
    I'm sure the newer ones are stiffer than they used to be.

    You might have more luck if you try flipping it via the side axle hole rather than the lever, that worked for me once.

    It's just about possible to take them apart and trim off the ridges that cause it to lock in position, if you're feeling brave :)
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Huw said:
    You might have more luck if you try flipping it via the side axle hole rather than the lever, that worked for me once.
    That's what I'm doing - seems to work better.
    Huw
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 385
    Huw said:
    You might have more luck if you try flipping it via the side axle hole rather than the lever, that worked for me once.
    That's what I'm doing - seems to work better.
    Works the same for pneumatic switches too.
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 837
    @Paperballpark I really like the idea of 'theming' a GBC like you've done with the Minecraft one up there - kind of turning it from mechanical piece into more of a theme park ride sort of thing!  Would love to see more like this!
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 84
    edited February 2018
    I've just uploaded the latest module in my "Remix" series, where I take the parts from a Technics set and turn it into a GBC layout ready module.  This time I turned my attention to the 42049 Mine Loader set from 2016.



    I tried 3 different lift mechanisms before I could get one to work with the available  parts.  Luckily someone inspired me with a 4th one to try in a recent YouTube video I saw.  The ball indexer can be fussy and works best when the hopper is not full of balls.

    My greatest accomplishment with this module was adding the engine and piston after I had already considered the model finished and didn't have a good selection of parts left.
    DaraghcatwranglerSirBenstluxsid3windrAddicted2OxygenPaperballparktomahawker
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    ^ Oh I like that! I do like the interlocking sweeping method for moving them up.

    mr_benn said:
    @Paperballpark I really like the idea of 'theming' a GBC like you've done with the Minecraft one up there - kind of turning it from mechanical piece into more of a theme park ride sort of thing!  Would love to see more like this!
    Thanks, although it wasn't my idea! It's also quite difficult to do, as the module would have to have that kind of space. Plus the main priority has to be reliability, and extra elements could interfere with that.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    Yes, very cool, particularly given it's made from parts of a relatively small set.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    I've made two videos of my more recent GBCs. The first one is below, and is of my four smallest modules lined up in a row. 

    stluxgreatballpitstevecook132
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    edited February 2018
    The second video is of my 'balldozer' module, which I managed to get working fairly well today. For some reason the issues I had with it on Saturday weren't really a problem today.

    I rebuilt the car/dozer into a strange dinosaur-like thing, because what kid doesn't like big cute eyes and a hook nose on a dinosaur-bird-train thing? ;)

    It was quite difficult to film, with how quickly it moves!

    FizyxBumblepantsstluxgreatballpitcatwranglermessyLittleLoristevecook132
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 797
    The second video is of my 'balldozer' module, which I managed to get working fairly well today. For some reason the issues I had with it on Saturday weren't really a problem today.

    I rebuilt the car/dozer into a strange dinosaur-like thing, because what kid doesn't like big cute eyes and a hook nose on a dinosaur-bird-train thing? ;)

    It was quite difficult to film, with how quickly it moves!


    I actually quite like the speed, as a lot of the GBC modules that use those kind of powered cart-like conveyances seem to move almost painfully slowly sometimes, so having one that move with speed is great, especially when you made it an animal type thing. I thought it looked like a caterpillar with the switch rods on the back looking like tail antenna things!
    catwrangler
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,945
    edited February 2018
    That's GBC on speed!

    I know they are not strictly GBC, but these miniloop ones are really nice, self contained and small part number machines. I had a go at copying this one at the weekend.
     
    http://www.planet-gbc.com/?p=2516



    The lifting arm is really nice, in the way it curls up. It can easily be extended by a few more units as well to make a finger do a "come here" action.

    The "stop" mechanism is clever too, always perfectly in sync.


    Fizyx77ncaachampscatwranglersid3windrAddicted2Oxygendmcc0LittleLoritomahawker
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    Coming along nicely @Paperballpark! I think I'd prefer the train to go a little slower but it works faultlessly at that speed so I guess you might as well drive it flat out!
    Fizyx
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    I'd prefer it to go slower too, but you can see that it doesn't move the switch arms fully when it hits the top bar, even at the speed it's going at. It's on the second notch on the train controller, so not even nearly flat out!

    Hopefully it'll be just as reliable after a few hours of use...!
    Fizyx
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 797
    I'd prefer it to go slower too, but you can see that it doesn't move the switch arms fully when it hits the top bar, even at the speed it's going at. It's on the second notch on the train controller, so not even nearly flat out!

    Hopefully it'll be just as reliable after a few hours of use...!

    I was definitely a little worried about the force it was hitting with at the bottom, but it looks like MOST of the movement was from the counterweight/ball gate, as opposed to the whole frame shaking/moving from it hitting hard, so it might be alright.  I could 100% see itself shaking itself apart after a few hours of continuous operation with that force though!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Well it's up against the shelving in that video, mainly because every time it hit the bottom, the whole module moved about half a centimetre that way...

    Granted, the desk is pretty smooth, but I think it'll need to be placed up against a nice sturdy module :)

    As for shaking itself apart though, I have more faith in my ability to build a sturdy module than you obviously do ;)
    Fizyxsid3windr
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    edited February 2018
    I might check exactly what it's doing when it gets to the bottom actually. In theory it shouldn't hit the 'stop' barrier at the bottom before the switch arms are flipped, but it might be doing.

    EDIT: just checked, and it isn't. It's a good half-centimetre from the barrier at the furthest point it can go.
    Fizyx
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 84
    Great videos Paperball!  My racer tracks showed up today, so I'll be making something similar to your crazy bug dozer!  It moves so fast I'm curious if the motor will fail quickly due to the quick polarity shifts and wide open throttle.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    wide open throttle.
    It's not on wide open throttle though, it's on notch 2 (of 6) on the 9v train controller. I hate to think how fast it would go on notch 6.
    Fizyx
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    Have you considered powering it with a PF M motor? Then you can gear down it as needed to get the speed just right.


  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 797
    edited February 2018
    Well it's up against the shelving in that video, mainly because every time it hit the bottom, the whole module moved about half a centimetre that way...

    Granted, the desk is pretty smooth, but I think it'll need to be placed up against a nice sturdy module :)

    As for shaking itself apart though, I have more faith in my ability to build a sturdy module than you obviously do ;)

    Actually, I'm sure it's plenty sturdy, cause it looks very well built!  And that was not intended to be a negative about your building ability by any means :)  It's just that I know repeated impacts have a tendency to take apart even the otherwise well seated connections (I may or may not have lost lug nuts that were not quite tightened all the way down before... luckily I didn't lose the whole tire in this whole imaginary situation... :P ) so I would just worry about the cumulative impact of the impacts over time.  But that was when I thought it might be hitting the stop barrier at the bottom because of how swiftly it decelerates at the end there.   If it's not actually hitting the barrier at the bottom then I think the worry definitely becomes unfounded :)
    wide open throttle.
    It's not on wide open throttle though, it's on notch 2 (of 6) on the 9v train controller. I hate to think how fast it would go on notch 6.
    Now that is a rather terrifying thought O.o
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Huw said:
    Have you considered powering it with a PF M motor? Then you can gear down it as needed to get the speed just right.


    To be honest, powering it using a train motor is easy, and I don't have to fiddle about trying to get the gearing right, or packaging a different motor!

    I'm not too sure there'd be much point anyway - it would still have to go just as fast to flick the switch, and I haven't had a problem getting the right speed - my only concern was that it was too fast, but any slower and the switch arms don't move enough, so it pretty much has to be that speed.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    edited February 2018
    Oh now that's just showing off! ;) It's fantastic, I love it!
  • TheOriginalSimonBTheOriginalSimonB Felixstowe Member Posts: 1,326
    Most excellent.  Loving this topic even if I have neither the parts or skillz to join in!
    HuwPaperballparkcatwranglerdavetheoxygenmanmessyCrownie
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    @TheOriginalSimonB you can acquire the parts over time, and learn the skills - GBC modules don't have to be complicated! :)

    I bought three more 9v train controllers about a week ago (just £3 each! £12 postage from the Netherlands though), and they arrived today. Given this, I was in need of some more power adaptors, so I spent a bit of time the other day searching for some cheap ones. 

    These ones on ebay are the right size, the right power, and only £3.77 each, with free postage, so I've bought four of them: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CCTV-Power-Supply-Unit-Adapter-PSU-2-Amp-2000ma-2-1mm-12V-DC-2A-UK-Plug-Adaptor/192311734969?epid=2261752825&hash=item2cc6ac32b9:g:PVkAAOSw0oBZwkkE

    Hopefully that'll help you @Huw!
    77ncaachamps
  • paul_mertonpaul_merton UKMember Posts: 2,953
    I love the idea of micro-scale GBCs, a bit like the one CCC mentioned. Has anything small like that been modularised?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,945
    This guy has some brilliant mini ones. This one is a series of three in a chain:
    https://www.how.to/video/?id=Zw6uUWIBDJU

    I think most minis I have seen tend to be self contained loops, as they fit nicely on a desk just doing their thing endlessly.
    Fizyxsid3windrcatwrangler
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    edited February 2018
    ^^^ It does, thanks. I've ordered 2, so I'll have 5 working controllers in total, which should be enough for 15 motors. How many do you have now?

    Interestingly, looking at the stated input voltage on the backs, one says 9-10v, another 9-11v and the other three 9-12v. I presume the later ones are the 9-12v ones.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Huw said:
    How many do you have now?
    I now have nine controllers now, which should be enough for a while! It'll also allow us to add modules from people who may not have train controllers.

    I have five which state 9-12v, three which state 9-10v, and one which states 9-11v. I only knew about the first two variants until today, when the latter one arrived. Before that I didn't realise there was a 9-11v variant.

    Presumably there must be some difference, but as far as I can tell they all seem to work fine with a 12v adaptor plugged in. Whether this would still be the case after a few hours, I don't know. Fortunately, I do have two (original) 10v adaptors. I'm also fairly happy to chance using a 12v adaptor on the 9-11v controller.

    I think you're right that the later ones are 9-12v, as one of mine is Light Bluish Grey, rather than the old Light Grey.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    What's a couple of volts between friends :)
    Calv
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 84
    Love the new module Huw, interesting new mechanism and nice design choice with the colours!  Like others here I also have train controllers which vary from 9-10v,9-11v, and 9-12v.  I use 12v power adapters form my 12v ones and 9v for the rest.
    Huw
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,366
    @Huw - Love that module. Absolutely awesome.

    My LUG now has a few members who are interested in GBC, and I admit I've been bit a little by the bug and will be looking to put one together soon. We had a small five module loop out on display over the weekend and it was constantly surrounded by kids and adults.
    HuwgreatballpitSirBen
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Very nice! I've not done any this last week. Might have to look at rectifying that this coming week...
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    I made one yesterday which works quite well, but I still need to tweak the input to stop the balls jamming in it. It's a tricky input to build.
    Huw
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,945
    I still need to tweak the input to stop the balls jamming in it.
    It's just as well there is a ban on memes.
    Bumblepantssid3windrcatwrangler
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    I've made an agitator for my input, and it actually works!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Here's a couple of photos of it. Hopefully it's fairly obvious how it works. There's quite a few pieces need swapping for different colours, so you'll have to excuse all the grey pieces!




  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    Not obvious to me so I look forward to seeing a video!
    sid3windr
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    Yeah I guess it's probably not that obvious! I'm not going to post a video until I've swapped the colours I need to though. I've also partially built a duplicate with red, orange and yellow instead of white, black and blue, and this will be built at the same time.

    In the absence of a video, what the module basically does is have three rotating coloured 'wheels', with a protruding 'lip' on each to snag a ball. Balls are fed to the base of the blue 'wheel', whereupon a ball gets caught on the lip of it, lifted up and passed over the top of it to the base of the black 'wheel'. This then performs the same operation, passing it to the white one, which then passes it to the next module.

    The input is jolted upwards on every revolution of the wheels, to agitate the balls and stop them jamming. This also allows the balls to be fed one at a time to the blue wheel, with only the odd extra one sometimes finding a way through.

    I'll post a video to demonstrate it at some point, but it may not be for a couple of weeks.
    greatballpit
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,945
    Interesting. Do the teeth have to be in sync for it to work, or do the balls wait until the next tooth / dipcomes around?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,472
    edited February 2018
    The balls wait until the tooth/lip comes around. They're in sync with each other, so each passes a ball over at the same time.

    In fact, they have to move in sync, as there's not enough room between them to allow a lip to pass another lip! If I spaced it out so that there was, the gearing wouldn't work...
    Fizyx
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,470
    Very nice indeed. 
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