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^^ 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.
(Please leave it there. It just sounds funny.)
Which are much smaller (and not completely spherical) compared to those that are compatible:
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
I thought I stumbled upon a find only to discover you are both correct.
Stupid ball joint!
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 ;)
EDIT: just checked, and it isn't. It's a good half-centimetre from the barrier at the furthest point it can go.
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 :)
Now that is a rather terrifying thought O.o
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.
Watch with the sound up because it sounds great as the balls swish from side to side.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here's this week's effort, my first with a servo motor:
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.
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...
And yes, this time there is a video!