Monday, August 27, 2018

GBC Observer 👁 Week 35, 2018

Here are some interesting new modules that appeared on YouTube over the past week.

Josh David has created a new Pneumatic module powered by Mindstorms.  It's definitely too slow to meet the GBC standard for output speed, but maybe it could be scaled up to carry more then 2 balls per trip.

BVB has built an animated Wall-E passthrough to go with his Paternoster module.

PV Productions has released a new Pinball C-Model for the Technic Hovercraft set that came out last year.  Unfortunately this module wouldn't work at a collaborative layout without some sort of modification.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tri-Sep Version 2 - Lego GBC Module

Today I present the video for my updated version of Tri-Sep.

So what's changed with Tri-Sep and why?

The first thing that I wanted to change was the input hopper/conveyor.  The one I built in the first version was overbuilt using a large number of bricks, and the input hopper was quite small.  As well, the balls sometimes had trouble loading onto the conveyor.

The current Input Bin / Conveyor now uses a modified version of my recent "Workshop Module 01" Conveyor.  This hopper is larger, agitated, and loads balls onto the conveyor more reliably.

The second thing that had to change was the fact that the first version used two motors.  I was not as experienced building shared power drivetrains when I first built Tri-Sep so I copped out and used an XL motor on the input hopper conveyor.

The new module now uses a clutched, shared power drivetrain that links both the vertical sweeper and the conveyor to a single Power Functions M-Motor.  I use 7 different types of gears, a CV joint and 2 Universal Joints in the new drivetrain.

New Recirculation Ramp
I've added a double sided ramp that can switch the model into a standalone mode.  It's mechanically very simple and works really well.


Monday, August 20, 2018

GBC Observer 👁 Week 34, 2018

Here are a few GBC videos on YouTube that I enjoyed watching over the last week.

Beyond the Bricks official GBC Tour with Tom Atkinson at Brickfair Virginia 2018 is an enjoyable long watch with several modules acting up during the tour!

Builder Riku Katsumata has an interesting looking prototype module.  Is the motorcycle wheel operating as some sort of flywheel or gyro?

Builder Ryk Field is back after his amazing Great Ball of China module, with a Minecraft followup using what appears to be a Lasse Deluran Ball Pump and an Akiyuki Zig Zag Stairs.  I like that he's using the older Lego Cuusoo Minecraft Microscale pieces.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Lego Powered Up - Take 2

Recently a Lego Group Representative answered a Q&A regarding Lego Powered Up and confirmed that the current Power Functions line of products would be phased out.  I believe that there is a few areas of concern on how this will affect Lego GBC builders moving forward.

For those of you who are not familiar, Lego Powered Up is the new wireless controlled motor system for Lego moving forward into 2019 and beyond.  All of the new motors and sensors connect to a battery powered hub, which can be controlled with either a Lego brand bluetooth remote, or your bluetooth enabled tablet or smartphone.

I will take a few of the Questions and Answers that directly relate to GBC builders below and add my own thoughts and possible solutions.  I will refer to Lego as TLG (The Lego Group) and Powered UP as PUP.

Community: Has Powered Up been designed in mind in any way to be more easily utilized by many other themes than before with Power Functions?

TLG: The Powered UP platform is being designed to replace the Power Functions platform. It is offering a more intelligent wired connection with broader usability, a wireless BLE connection with better possibilities than IR and link to mobile smart devices opening a new range of App connected possibilities.

My take: In Yoda's voice "More intelligent, it is not."  There is no longer a simple way to connect a battery pack to a motor, flip a switch and have it run.  You literally need a wireless controller or a tablet/phone to start a motor with these new systems.  As well these new systems rely on battery power which is expensive and bad for the environment.

Community: Is there any kind of backward compatibility with Power Functions?

TLG: The plugs in Power Functions and Powered UP are not compatible.

Community Followup: I really hope the PU Team is still considering at least some compatibility, as the PF extension wires, which double as adapters for 9V, are immensely useful.

TLG: The 2 power control wires of the 9V system, Power Functions and Powered UP have the same function across the 3 platforms (9V, PF, PUP).

TLG: You can make anything happen with a little customization I guess, but we're not going to provide actual products which allows compatibility.

My take: It would be dead simple for Lego to manufacture a Power functions cable that can interface with a Powered Up motor, because they have confirmed they use the same power control wires as the current PF and 9V motors.  I'm unsure why TLG has said they would not be doing this.

Community: Is it possible to upgrade older sets with powered up or is a lot of rework to be done?

Lego PUP M-Motor

TLG: This will very much depend on the product in question. For trains it should be very easy since the Powered UP hub has the same shape as the Power Functions battery box and the train motors are also same shape.

Lego Boost and PF Motors

My Take: The current boost external motor is a little bit larger then the current PF M-Motor, so it's not a direct swap if it cannot fit.  Having said that, the WeDo/PUP M-Motor does look similar in size to the current PF M-Motor and should swap in fairly easily.
Community: Will the Power Function 1.0 line be discontinued and if so, when? / Are any product lines, such as PF, being phased out and if so, which ones?

TLG: Over time the Power Functions platform will be phased out as the Powered UP platform is further developed.

Community: Will we have warning to stock up on specific components? Or will they simply disappear suddenly?

TLG: The Power Functions platform will not disappear from one day to the other and components will be available through shop@home in an overlapping period.

My Take: As soon as the PUP parts show up on Lego Shop@Home stockpile some motors on a Double VIP Points day...  It looks like PF is on the way out and unlike the 9v Speed controllers (which last forever according to Tom Atkinson) motors tend to have a limited lifespan.

The entire Q&A can be found here:

Additional End User Discussion is happening here over at Eurobricks Technic Forum:

Monday, August 13, 2018

GBC Observer 👁 Week 33, 2018

Here are some great GBC modules for week 33, 2018!

Builder MSX has his modules running in a layout in Italy

Huw is back with a double take on the 4-Bar mechanism

Here is a look at the Brickfair Virginia Layout, with lots of new modules!  Shoutout to Solaire @ 1:52

Friday, August 10, 2018

GBC Mailbag #4 📦

Here's my latest Bricklink Order Parts Unboxing video!  I needed a bunch of stuff to fix and finish a few modules for BrickCon 2018 in October!  Building intensifies!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

New Video - How high will BW2018 pump?

Todays video is more of a fun one that I had to make after someone asked me "how high will that module pump with the check valve?"  Enjoy the heights.

Monday, August 6, 2018

GBC Observer 👁 Week 32, 2018

Lets see what's appeared on YouTube over the last week

Rohan is back with a fun to watch ball launcher with a loop.

I linked to this Work In Progress of the Great Wall earlier this year, and wow it turned out to be quite spectacular. It definitely raises the bar when it comes to decorated GBC modules.

One of the builders from Brickset Forum has created this nice little mini-layout on a single 32x32 baseplate using 4 great modules.  I really like the colour job on the Brickworld 2017 module.

Friday, August 3, 2018

GBC Tutorial - Where can you get GBC balls?

I know many of you GBP readers will know where to acquire GBC balls, but for people wanting to start building GBC I've uploaded a video showing where you can get them online.  I also share the reasoning why it's best to build with the official balls if you think you might eventually bring your modules to a collaborative layout.

If you haven't seen it before my online information on this topic is available here.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New Technic Sets for Summer 2018

I thought we could take a quick look at these 4 new technic sets that were just released (August 1st, 2018)  and think about what kind of GBC we could build out of them.

42079 Heavy Duty Forklift
Seems like a decent little kit.  A bunch of system pieces are used in this kit which is not usually the case in technic sets.

Parts I like: A lot of Technic Beams and Panels in Dark Blue, a few 5x7 Square Technic Beams in black.  I really like the dark blue color and more parts in that color are welcome.

Possible Builds: It looks like there is enough required parts to create a "Remix" module using only the parts in the set.  There is plenty of small gears and the piece needed to create a hand crank.

42080 Forest Harvester
This set comes with a Power Functions L motor, and some components in the new Pneumatics System V2

Parts I like: The L Motor, and the new pneumatics system.  Lots of new parts in both lime and regular green.

Possible Builds: Some sort of pneumatic Scissor lift.

42081 Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX
Parts I like: 8 of those new 5x7 Technic Bean Squares in black.  The huge digger bucket.  (How many balls could it shovel?)  There is a good amount of Technic Panels in black as well which is nice.

Possible Builds: Some sort of ball pusher/scooper utilizing that large bucket.

42082 Rough Terrain Crane
Parts I like: Like the 42080 Forest Machine, this set also comes with a Power Functions L motor.  Along with that are 8 of the Large Ring Gears which would make for a nice dark version of my SOLAIRE module.  Lots of panels here, as well as 3 Clutch gears!

Possible Builds: With over 4000 parts you should be able to create all sorts of modules.