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Great Ball Contraptions

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  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,644
    @greatballpit, there is Brickcon coming up in Seattle the first weekend of October. They had a awesome GBC display setup last year. Maybe worth a trip down to the Emerald City?
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    I built a dual arm version if Nico71's cardan lift that I hope will be reliabke enough to run at our next big event, in Swindon,  at the beginning of October. I'll post a video when I'm home next week.
    greatballpitHugeYellowBrick
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    I've not had much chance to do anything, although I've modified those modules which I encountered small issues with at Bricktastic.

    I've also built the input bin and lifter for another module. I'm hoping to get that finished in time for STEAM, but given I have a grand total of 4 evenings free between now and then, it might be a struggle!
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    @greatballpit, there is Brickcon coming up in Seattle the first weekend of October. They had a awesome GBC display setup last year. Maybe worth a trip down to the Emerald City?
    I will be attending with most of my GBC modules.  Coincidentally I spent this morning registering them!  Are you going?  If so, be sure to say hi!
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,644
    @greatballpit, I'll definitely be there. I'll make sure to stop by and say hello. I'll be there just on Saturday. 
    greatballpit
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    Life has kept me very busy over the past few months, but my latest module is almost complete, and I'll be getting the final parts on Saturday to build another module.

    And I only have 2 and a half evenings before STEAM in which to finish my latest module and completely build another one 😬
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    Here's a teaser shot...


  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,644
    @greatballpit, I'll be attending BrickCon on Saturday. I'll be sure to swing by the GBC tables and try to spot you. 
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    @Paperballpark Looks like a tall module!  @Switchfoot55 It's my first BrickCon, I'm looking forward to it!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    That photo probably makes it look taller than it is, but it's not small!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    It's finished!



    As you may be able to work out from the photo, the balls get sent down one of four different tubes, one of which returns them to the input, while the other three forward them to the next module.

    Here's a video:


    BumblepantsAstrobricksFowlerBricksShibGothamConstructionCostluxLegopantsCCC
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFW/BGMember Posts: 7,240
    Are the tubes from those old Mars launcher things?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    Yeah they are. Dirt cheap too! I was originally using trans-orange ones, but I bought some trans-black to tie in better with the colours. It works better with the orange balls too.
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,644
    Awesome module! 

    I thought the shadows on the curtain behind it were the balls falling off the tracks at first! Awesome design.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    Wow, can't wait to see them in action at the weekend!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    Thanks! The marble run one is going to be a nightmare to transport...
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFW/BGMember Posts: 7,240
    Anyone have any projects brewing with the new roller coaster track system? 
  • playwellplaywell UKMember Posts: 2,217
    ^ I was wondering the same thing @Paperballpark @Huw any plans?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    No not really, I've only just bought the small coaster set with the track in.

    There'd be a number of difficulties - loading the cart at a specific time, emptying it at the bottom, hauling the cart back up to the top, etc.

    All of them are doable, but it's not something I'm looking at.
    FollowsClosely
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 541
    Someone should do a Wintergatan Marble Machine inspired build (if that hasn't already been suggested).

    No not really, I've only just bought the small coaster set with the track in.

    There'd be a number of difficulties - loading the cart at a specific time, emptying it at the bottom, hauling the cart back up to the top, etc.

    All of them are doable, but it's not something I'm looking at.
    That would just be a Mindstorms based module then. You could do it other ways, but electronically would be the least amount of building (least weird mechanisms).
  • Speedman29Speedman29 UKMember Posts: 2,105
    WOW!!!!!

    We visited the Great Western Brickshow today. I was expecting the GBC from last year, but this was massive. We timed a football from the climb up the arch and back round at 7 minutes.

    So many amazing machines that really impressed me and Little Miss Speedman. Even Mrs Speedman was in awe of the builds.

    Too many sections to pick a favourite but the rainbow stepper, the rainbow side to side slidey thing that's in front of @Huw in the photo and the Friends slide corkscrew were brilliant.
    GothamConstructionCostevecook132stluxPaperballparkLittleLori
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 902
    ^ I second this - it was great to see the amazing work that @Huw and @Paperballpark
    have done, some brilliant lateral thinking and mechanical ingenuity on display here - loved the fact that people could even get in and out thanks to the lovely rising arch thing!
    Paperballpark
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212
    I got home about half an hour ago. I took a video this afternoon which I'll try to post at some point this week.

    A huge thanks to @Huw for collaborating again! It was a pleasure to be part of it. Also many thanks to Jonathan (pictured above), Mark, and @drdavewatford for looking after it while we had breaks and while I took part in the Lego Robot Wars battles!
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    edited October 2018
    Thanks for your comments @Speedman29, I'm glad you enjoyed our efforts!

    And thanks to @Paperballpark for helping to make it way bigger than last year's. I think we both learned a lot and have a few reliability improvements to make to some of our modules before their next outing :)
    Speedman29
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,725
    Also many thanks to Jonathan (pictured above), Mark, and @drdavewatford for looking after it while we had breaks and while I took part in the Lego Robot Wars battles!
    Cheers, Jamie - it was a pleasure, and really interesting to study the various mechanisms up close.

    Have to say I was massively impressed with the quality and ingenuity of the modules - well done, guys! Sorry I didn't have time to contribute something myself - too busy trying to finish up my contribution for the modular display - but I'd love to build something for next year if you guys decide to go again.

    Also worth noting that the GBC seemed to be really popular with attendees - kids especially were going crazy for it, and at times people were squeezed in 2 or 3 deep all the way around the display.
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,644
    I enjoyed my time this weekend at Brickcon in Seattle and had the pleasure of meeting @greatballpit briefly on Saturday. 

    I won't steal any of his thunder on how the event went, but he, along with the other participants, had some fantastic modules. My son and I really enjoyed seeing what was put together!
    greatballpit
  • pxchrispxchris Oregon, USAMember Posts: 1,853
    I enjoyed my time this weekend at Brickcon in Seattle and had the pleasure of meeting @greatballpit briefly on Saturday. 

    I won't steal any of his thunder on how the event went, but he, along with the other participants, had some fantastic modules. My son and I really enjoyed seeing what was put together!
    Just as a point of curiosity - have you ever been to the Portland convention called Bricks Cascade? I'm wondering how Brickcon compares to it. I was seriously thinking of making the trek up to Seattle for it this year, but alas did not.
    FowlerBricks
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,644
    ^I responded in my Brickcon 2018 thread.

    But just to resolve the question here, I've never been to Bricks Cascade, so can't speak to how they compare. 
    pxchris
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    I won't steal any of his thunder on how the event went, but he, along with the other participants, had some fantastic modules. My son and I really enjoyed seeing what was put together!
    On Sunday afternoon we joined everything together in a big loop, Beyond the Brick did a video on the entire thing, so look out for that!
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,644
    It was good to see Beyond the Brick there. I'm looking forward to their highlights of Ninjago City, the GBC tables, and the Indiana Jones display!
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    Hey everyone, it was really busy at BrickCon last weekend, and it was nice to meet @Switchfoot55.  I've recently uploaded 4 videos showing all of the GBC that was at the event, so head on over to my YouTube channel to see them.

    http://www.youtube.com/c/greatballpit

    If you have any questions about the modules you can ask here, or PM me.
    Switchfoot55Astrobricks
  • TheOriginalSimonBTheOriginalSimonB Felixstowe Member Posts: 1,701
    Amazing work everyone.
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    For anyone that wanted to see more of my Boost Pachinko module, here is a closer look.


    Switchfoot55AstrobricksstluxLittleLori
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    Nice -- I saw it on the Beyond the Brick video taken at a recent convention. I've been tempted to do something with Boost but worry about battery life during displays. What do you typically see?
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    @Huw I've soldered some wires into the battery box which run to a 9v DC wall adapter.  I had no issues with that setup for the 3 days I ran it at the event.  Having to use a phone, tablet or Windows PC for boost is the real issue.  I had to set my phone to screen always on while charging and use a usb battery pack.
    sid3windrstlux
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    Thanks -- It sounds like it's more trouble than it's worth!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,180


    I'm not impressed by the wonky wall at the front. I suggest one of these ...




    Also worth noting that the GBC seemed to be really popular with attendees - kids especially were going crazy for it, and at times people were squeezed in 2 or 3 deep all the way around the display.
    GBC are the new trains.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,180
    Mkes a nice sound too. I dare you to reverse the rotation direction of the tyres.
    dmcc0
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,725
    Huw said:
    Here's my latest effort, a ball accelerator. Nothing particularly original but it works well and is cool to watch, which IMO are the important characteristics of a module ;)
    Nice! 

    The balls are travelling at quite a pace, so why not construct a loop-the-loop for them to whizz round?

    Alternatively a jump with a net to catch the balls on the other side would be cool....
    BumblepantsCCCstluxgmonkey76
  • dmcc0dmcc0 Nae far fae AberdeenMember Posts: 778
    edited October 2018
    @Huw Does this create any rubber residue on the balls/rest of the module?  Vaguely remember a Beyond the Brick GBC video a while ago where the guy said he didn't like using a similar type of mechanism as the balls got covered in bits of tyre, which then spread to other modules

    sid3windrSirBen
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    I don't think there's enough speed for anything elaborate like a loop, but a jump might be possible.

    I did have them rising higher up the slope then dropping backwards and falling down a hole, which is effectively a jump, I suppose, but often the rising ball would hit a falling one resulting in it dropping back down to the start of the slope..

    Maybe I'll have another play...
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    dmcc0 said:
    @Huw Does this create any rubber residue on the balls/rest of the module?  

    Not that I've noticed yet but I will check...
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    dmcc0 said:
    @Huw Does this create any rubber residue on the balls/rest of the module?  Vaguely remember a Beyond the Brick GBC video a while ago where the guy said he didn't like using a similar type of mechanism as the balls got covered in bits of tyre, which then spread to other modules

    In a later video Tom mentions that a lot of the gunk on the modules was actually the paint from the Lego soccer balls rubbing off.
    sid3windr
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,999
    I've inspected my balls. I can't see anything untoward on them but I'll check again after running it at a show in a couple of weeks .

    I think gunk is unavoidable. Jamie and I have been using unpainted balls but there's still crud after a weekend's running. It's probably dust and filth that they are picking up and distributing.
    greatballpitdmcc0CCC560Heliportstluxdavetheoxygenmandatsunrobbiegmonkey76
  • greatballpitgreatballpit Vancouver, CanadaMember Posts: 85
    I like the new accelerator @Huw .  And yes the amount of gunk, dust, and paint and who knows what is quite disgusting after running at an event!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,180
    Huw said:
    I've inspected my balls. I can't see anything untoward on them but I'll check again after running it at a show in a couple of weeks .

    I think gunk is unavoidable. Jamie and I have been using unpainted balls but there's still crud after a weekend's running. It's probably dust and filth that they are picking up and distributing.
    It's just as well the kids visiting the show don't get to touch them.
    gmonkey76
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,212

    The balls are travelling at quite a pace, so why not construct a loop-the-loop for them to whizz round?
    The very first module I built was a ball accelerator with a loop-the-loop constructed from the yellow quarter-circle gears from the Bucket Wheel Excavator.

    Unfortunately, about 1 in 10 balls didn't go around it properly, and would fall back into the initial ramp area, where they would be hit by other balls and gather there. It was also very sensitive to tables which weren't completely level.

    Basically, a fail rate of about 10% is unacceptably high for a module, so it's never been to an event (although I took it to the Brickish Christmas event last year). I never managed to get it working properly, and it currently sits forlornly next to my other modules, awaiting the day when I just say 'oh sod it' and dismantle it.
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