Friday, March 30, 2018

Great Ball Pit - Spring 2018 Layout Video

I did a shakedown of my modules yesterday in preparation for BrickCan in 3 weeks.  A few new issues appeared which is great, I'll have time to fix them before the event.

GBB8-C: The gear connected directly to the internal motor fell off.  This is due to the motor being placed in an axle down position, and there wasn't a proper support to keep the axle in.

Trench Run: A few ships fell off (sometimes they can get hooked on the surface the module sits on if it gets bunched up.)

Bucket Boost: Continued to drop a ton of balls (but I didn't do a timings pass on it before setting it up for this video.)  As well the Ball Loader got jammed up and then broke open dumping balls everywhere.

Roadwork and Greylime sat in the middle running flawless for an hour in standalone mode.

My new conveyor attached to the bridge worked with no issue.  Roadwork and Container Yard were left offline, as I wanted more balls inside the loop then in stand alone modules.

Other Notes
I realized when setting up, that I have quite a few modules now, and set-up and teardown takes a lot of time.  The logistics of getting all of these packed for BrickCan is daunting.  I also need to prepare a support kit that will include extra parts for the major mechanisms in my modules.

Video Below

Monday, March 26, 2018

GBC Observer πŸ‘ Week 13, 2018

Here are some GBC videos that I enjoyed over on YouTube last week.

BVB has recreated my Solaire module with a few additional improvements.  He's added an intigrated switch, and hidden the motor inside the module.

Akiyuki added his last train moduler the Elevator and Rotary Dumper

In addition to this he showed a full layout of all his train modules together running with 4 train carts.

Maico sets up a smaller layout in Reims, France.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tilt-Shift - A Lego GBC Module

Today I officially reveal my latest module, Tilt-Shift.  It is a technic built module using a Power Functions XL motor to drive a tilting stairs lifting mechanism.

This is actually the first all Technic module I've built using pieces from my entire collection.  All of the previous remix modules have been "parts limited" from the sets they came from.

The majority of the tilting stairs is built from 3x11x1 Technic Panels stacked up on each other with 4 of them being used to finish the exterior on the sides (A total of 14 panels).  The flag piece was used as the ramp for the balls to travel to the next level, they are attached with a small bar which is connected to the pin underneath.  I used some "Old Dark Grey" flags which was a mistaken order (I really wanted dark bluish grey).

The Power Functions XL motor drives 3 different mechanisms, the agitator, the ball indexer, and the tilting stairs.  The agitator is interesting because I use a free floating chain of "Universal Joints" to connect the gearing to the agitation lever.  This allows for the lever to stop briefly before being forced forward, which adds some additional random force inside the input bin.

Here are a few images of the module.


And here is the video.

Monday, March 19, 2018

GBC Observer πŸ‘ Week 12, 2018

Hey the YouTube channel hit 200 subscribers this morning! πŸ˜πŸΎπŸŽ‰

And now back to our regular scheduled programming, here are this weeks YouTube GBC videos that have caught my eye.

YouTuber Hugolin has this Ondulation module which has a nice lift mechanism, and side-to-side shifting ball motion.  It also appears to meet the GBC standard, nice!

Next up we have a small GBC Layout from Spain!  There's a few interesting modules here!

That's it for now, I hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Rolling into Spring 2018

Hey guys, here's the latest on the Great Ball Pit as we head into Spring 2018.

Module Update
I recently finished Solaire and Tilt-Shift, two brand new modules.  The video for Tilt Shift will be up soon.  Both have been added to the "My Module" section.  The next two modules I'm planning on tackling before I get into BOOST is a Binary Counter, and a Marble Run type module.

I have no current timeline but I am still planning to roll out a free instruction section here on the blog for a few of my modules.  There's a few logistical things that I need to sort out first, like which format will work best, PDF, LDD Files or YouTube videos.  I'll update you all as soon as I'm ready to release my first set of instructions.

I recently picked up the Lego Boost Creative Toolbox, and will definitely be making a GBC module out of it.  Lego Mindstorms is something I've wanted forever, but it's quite old at this point and has never received a price drop, so I'll be waiting for the NXT 4.0 version (if it's ever coming out).  I have already wired up the boost brick so that it can be powered with an 9v AC adapter, which should solve any battery issues.

A few Boost module ideas I have are: Color Sorting Module, a Moving Mine Cart type module, and some sort of interactive GBC module you could play some sort of game with.

BrickCan 2018
5 weeks until BrickCan 2018!  I will be there with as many modules as possible.  I think it will be at least 12 modules.  I'm hoping that we try a large collaborative layout this year instead of multiple separated loops.

I wanted to remind all my readers to follow me on Instagram (if you have an account).  On Instagram I frequently post upcoming build ideas, or builds in progress.

My YouTube videos are usually scheduled for release, early in the morning which means they show up there before anywhere else (including this blog).   We are closing in on 200 subs, which is amazing, and I've promised to make a layout video with all of my modules before we hit 300!  Be sure to subscribe, as it shows support and helps grow the channel.

Want to talk GBC?  Join us on the Great Ball Pit Discord Server.  Maybe you have some questions about GBC, or my modules, feel free to ask.  It may take a little while for me to see the message and reply but I usually check discord once a day.  Discord is free to use, and you don't have to register or sign up, it can also be used from within your web browser.

Post your own modules at the newly created /r/GreatBallContraption since /r/Lego doesn't seem to want GBC modules on there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Solaire - A Lego GBC Module

Today I present my latest GBC Module Solaire!

This module is a sweeper type module, that uses the older Skateboard Ramp pieces in conjunction with the newer large ring gears that were first released in the Bucket Wheel Excavator set.

It is a very simple module that uses a Power Functions M Motor to sweep balls along to the next module.  I'm very happy with how clean and simple the module looks, praise the sun!

Monday, March 12, 2018

GBC Observer πŸ‘ Week 11, 2018

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend.  Here are some GBC modules that I've found on YouTube over the last week,

Akiyuki is back, with an updated version of his train modules.  In a surprise twist, he has provided building instructions, something he hasn't done officially before.

While we are on the Akiyuki train, sawyer has created an invisible mini-lift based on Akiyukis original invisible lift.

And lastly we have a closer, official look at Takanori's Geneva Module

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Displaying your modules at a public event

So you want to bring your GBC modules to a public event?  A GBC Layout can be exciting and sometimes stressful if you aren't prepared.  Here are a few tips on what you should be doing before and what you should be bringing to the event.

Before the event
  • "Soak test" each module for at least 15 minutes to make sure they are not dropping balls or jamming.  The more reliable your modules are, the more you will enjoy the event.
  • Run a small layout at home to see which modules will work best next to each other.  If you have a few configurations planned out ahead of time, it can make setting up your layout a lot easier.
  • Make sure you have all your power needs sorted out, how many modules will you run off each 9 Volt Train Controller.  Do you have enough Power Function extension cables?
  • Label things that matter to you with your name.  Use tape or a label machine.  I label all of my 9 Volt Controllers, and extensions cables.
  • Plan your transportation strategy.  How will you bring your modules to the event, what will you pack them in, will everything fit in your vehicle?
List of things to bring in addition to your modules
Power Strip - So you are able to power multiple 9 Volt Train Controllers from a single outlet.
Power Extension Cable - To get power to your power strip from a wall outlet.
Lighting - Desktop or Freestanding Lamps.  Sometimes your display space may not have the best lighting to show off your modules.
Ball Poker - Something to unjam or clear balls easily (lego axle, chopstick, screwdriver, forceps)
Retaining Wall - Something to surround your display so that dropped balls don't roll away from the display.  Brick built walls can add some nice flair to your layout.
Extra Parts - Extra parts for most moving mechanisms, motors, gears, axles, pins
Promo Materials - Want to advertise your modules?  Pamphlets, Business Cards, LUG information.
Camera - Phone or dedicated camera to film your display.  This is good for debugging your modules later.
Table Cloth - Can help prevent balls from rolling too far when dropped from a module.
Water Bottle - Stay hydrated, modules that are jamming and malfunctioning generate a lot of sweat. πŸ˜…

Monday, March 5, 2018

GBC Observer πŸ‘ Week 10, 2018

Hello everyone,

Here are a few modules that have caught my eye over the last week over on YouTube.

sawyer has a great mini build of the "cardan lift" mechanism

Rohan's Carosel is fun to watch.  I love these large ring type modules!

Martin S has an interesting self contained "island" module that has 3 different lift mechanisms.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Inclination Pumping Station - A Lego GBC module

Hey everyone,

Today I present my latest creation, the Inclination Pumping Station which is a 3 in 1 module.  You can run the 3 parts individually, or all together.  When combined together they are all powered by a single Power Functions XL motor.  When separate they can use their own individual Power Functions M motor.

Here they are individually.

Here they are in a small layout.

Here they are combined.

The module is very strong thanks to the brick and beam construction used throughout.  The long gear chain however has questionable reliability.

Here is the video.

I will be creating LDD instructions for these modules, and provide them free of charge here on the blog, when I have some extra time.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Join me on Discord to chat about Lego Great Ball Contraptions!

Want to chat about GBC modules?  I've started a discord channel that you can join for free to chat with me, and others about Lego Great Ball Contraptions.

Discord is a free, easy to use chat service that many people use for video games, and streaming on Twitch and YouTube.

Just click the following link to join the chat, no sign-up is required.  You can "Skip Setup" when asked to enter your email.

I won't be in there 24/7 but the server will be.  Hope to speak with some of you guys soon!