Tuesday, March 26, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 14, 2019

With YouTube search currently disabled, the Great Ball Pit Discord Community has stepped up with a bunch of new GBC videos over the last week.  Click HERE to join in on the chat, no signup required. 

First up Rohan puts on a small show in Australia 🇦🇺

Next, Pinwheel and BigFoot from TwinLUG put on a small show at their local Science Center.

And Brian Bell from DixieLUG gives us a walk-around from BrickFair NC, both FakeSpaceSquid and Brian have modules in this layout.

Have a great week!

Monday, March 25, 2019

New Lego GBC Module - EV3 Counter

I've recently completed my EV3 Counter GBC Module that I will be using at BrickCan 2019.  I consider it a utility module so I decided to leave it rather plain looking.  I may return to it at a later date to make it look a bit "nicer".

It uses a Power Functions M Motor to power the conveyor which is using the new extra large sprockets (part #: 6253463)

Battery life is yet to be determined, but I'm pretty confident the 6AA should last throughout the weekend since the EV3 Hub is not driving any motors.

If it ends up being reliable at BrickCan 2019 I plan on releasing instructions and the EV3 program.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 13, 2019

Welcome to the GBC Observer for week 13 of 2019.

First up we'll take a closer look at Lawrie's EV3 dump truck that runs on train track.  This allows it to be used as a corner module, or return balls to the beginning of a GBC loop.

Beyond the Brick takes us through the GBC modules at Bricks Cascade 2019 in this next video.  "Everything jams eventually"

In this last video we see the layout from BrickWorld Indy 2019.  Theres a few new modules in here, I like the one with the oval racer track that's just pushing balls around.

Have a great week everyone.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Free Instructions Updated + GBP Update

Hi everyone, I've finally finished updating the WM01 module instructions which completes the task of moving them offsite to GitHub. Check out my GBC instruction page HERE.

As well I've finished my EV3 Ball Counter module (video forthcoming) and I should have time to build / repair one more module in time for BrickCan 2019 which is at the beginning of May.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 11, 2019

Hey everyone, welcome to week 11 of 2019.  A few new interesting GBC modules have appeared this week.  But before those, let's start with a more in depth look at John Sherman's layout from Bricks Cascade 2019.

Korean builder Sung Joon Yoon is back with an interesting take on a stepper/pusher module. I have not seen one done this way before.

Here is an interesting take on a GBC train. It doesn't look like it would meet any of the GBC standards, but it has an interesting triple car loading mechanism.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Lego Technic Axle article by Huw

Huw has written a pair of articles on the history of Technic Axles.  I really enjoyed learning more about these parts that we frequently use when building GBC.

They can be found on BrickSet at the links below.

History of Technic Axles Part 1

History of Technic Axles Part 2

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 10, 2019

Hey everyone, it's week 10 of 2019 and here is your GBC Observer!

First let's look at the GBC from Bricks Cascade 2019.  Modules by Kevin Mitcham, John Sherman, Josh Gay, and Rick Vogt.  Thanks to Adam's Brick Junction for the video!

Want to get started in GBC?  Lawrie shows us his variation of the first Brickworld Workshop module (GBC DONAHUE).  This module is cheap, reliable, and a great place to start!

Since there wasn't too many new modules seen over the last week I thought it would be fun to look at this Akiyuki layout from 2010.  Lots of NXT/Mindstorms stuff going on here.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Upcoming GBC Events for the Great Ball Pit

Some people have been asking which events I will be attending in 2019, so here is a list of the Lego conventions in 2019 I will be at with some of my GBC modules.  If anyone has any GBC specific questions about these events please feel free to email me @ matt@greatballpit.com and if I don't know the answer, I can put you in contact with the GBC coordinators at these events.

BrickCan 2019

May 2-5
River Rock Casino
Richmond, BC

BrickCon 2019

October 3-6
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
Seattle, WA

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 9, 2019

Welcome to Week 9, of the 2019 GBC Observer series.  We have several layout videos this week, so enjoy!

Maico has shared his "follow the blue ball" video from Lego World 2019. This layout features a world record 279 modules.

Beyond the Brick has released their Brickvention 2019 GBC walkaround which shows a  the modules in more detail than some of the earlier videos.  Thanks to Rohan for the shout-out!

Huw has shared this video of the GBC layout @ Reading Brick Show 2019. I like use of those odd shaped Technic panel pieces in the down chute of the overpass.

And last since I forgot to post my latest video to the blog here is a small 4 Lego Minecraft module layout.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 8, 2019

Welcome to week 8 of the GBC Observer here at the Great Ball Pit.

First up is a nice large conveyor and square tower by Sung Joon Yoon. It is a pretty tall module, and I appreciate the simplicity.


Next, Lawrie gives us a closer look at the GBC Catapult module he built using images and video from Beyond the Brick videos.  The original module is by Tom Atkinson.

The last video this week shows us the GBC layout from Lego World Copenhagen 2019.  There are quite a few modules running in this layout.  They must be quite reliable as there is not  many GBC techs hanging around.  A few copies of my Solaire and Whirligig modules also make an appearance.

Have a great week everyone! 

Monday, February 18, 2019

New Lego GBC Module - Winter River

I've recently created the 4th and final module in my Minecraft theme series.  It's a tipping ramp module called "Winter River".  It uses my WM01 module as the lift mechanism, and the balls gently roll around in the river before falling out to the right.

I've always enjoyed seeing these table style modules where a large quantity of balls can roll around before exiting.  So I figured with WM01 as the conveyor this would be a great close to a series of four modules that use different lift mechanisms.

My Lego Minecraft GBC Series
  • Morgan's Mine: Tipping Ramp
  • Matt's Mine: Triple Stepper
  • Chicken Pump: Ball Pump
  • Winter River: Conveyor
The tipping ramp simply "Bolts on" to the WM01 module and is powered by the meshing of the 40T gears.  It took me a little while to get the right speed and amount of tilt correct for the table.  I used a bunch of pieces from the Minecraft Polar Igloo 21142 set for the decoration.

While this is not a complex module, I enjoy watching it operate with it's slow motion.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 7, 2019

Hey everyone, I haven't been able to build much over the last month for a variety of reasons. Luckily for us, there is a ton of great new modules that appeared on YouTube recently.

Akiyuki is back with a great new lift mechanism that is similar in function to his stuck ball machine.  A pair of robots grasp at the air until they catch a ball which they spin around and toss into the output.

Berthil has done an updated and improved version of my Separation Anxiety module.  It runs very smooth and has a GBC standard compliant input bin, nice work!

While we are looking at brick separators, let's look at Sawyers latest which also features them as part of the lift mechanism.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 6, 2019

Quanix is back with version 3 of his Pneumatic Ball Factory.  This one has quite a few different mechanisms, including a new turntable mechanism, as well as an interesting build for a simple conveyor using the older tread/chain and some rubber dampers.

A new German builder has appeared and uploaded several interesting GBC modules.
Here is one of them.

Here is an interesting Korean conveyor build that looks similar to one that Maico has done in red previously.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Lego GBC balls price drop?

I recently looked on Lego Bricks and Pieces and noticed that the price has dropped on the orange Lego GBC balls. This time last year they were listed at $1.27CDN and they are currently $0.81CDN.

In November 2016 I placed my first order for GBC balls and they were $1.01CDN each.

Here are the February 2018 Prices


And here are the February 2019 Prices

I have no idea what type of data Lego uses to price their parts but now seems like a good time to buy a few.... Also why are the white balls always out of stock?

Sunday, February 3, 2019

GBC Event Map by Lawrie

GBC builder Lawrie George from New York has created a pretty nifty map of upcoming events that will feature a Great Ball Contraption layout.

You can visit Lawrie's YouTube page HERE

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Lego Technic "Control+" reveal, and PF L Motor revelation?

Last year AFOLs were informed by the Lego Community Team that Power Functions would be phased out.  Many discussions took place between the AFOL community and Lego, and you can read more about it in the post from last year HERE.

Control+ (The new bluetooth system for Lego Technic)

Yesterday Lego revealed what would be replacing Power Functions.  It is not called Powered Up like we were told.  Instead it is a new brand of Bluetooth controlled components called CONTROL+

The first set to include CONTROL+ will be a massive Liebherr Bucket Excavator based on this real world machine.

The set is said to have over 4000 parts, 2 Control+ Hubs (which each have 4 outputs) and 7 motors.  As well the model will be able to send telemetry back to the mobile device controlling it.

The new Control+ Hubs are said to use 6xAA sized batteries each, and battery life has yet to be reported on.

This new set will be available August 1st, 2019, and is reported to be priced close to $500USD.

PF L Revelation

Community chat member Brian B brought up a very interesting item that all of the recent Technic sets from 2018+ that did include motors, were motors of the "L Size".

42080 - Forest Harvester
42082 - Rough Terrain Crane

42095 - Remote Controlled Stunt Racer

I'll speculate here and say that by doing this, it allowed them to scale down production of both the M and XL motors, and focus on having L motors produced to be used in the final sets that include Power Functions.  In fact 42095 might be the last set that has any Power Functions motors included!

It is quite possible that M, L and XL motor production has stopped completely, and what is being sold now is remaining inventory.

If you are planning on GBC'ing in the future you should definitely grab a few extra motors sooner, rather then later.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 5, 2019

Welcome to the Observer for Week 5, 2019.

Something that I'm often asked for is instructions for my reservoir stepper.  In this video, Laurie shows you his modified versions of Stuart's BrickFair workshop stepper.  Instructions for Stuart's original can be found HERE.

Ryk pulled this beauty out of mothballs after we were discussing Star Wars builds in the community chat.  Another well themed module, and fun edit for the video.

And lastly here is a basket shooter that is super clean, and appears to work well.  I remember seeing it on Lego Ideas a few years ago when I was first looking into GBC.  It's re-surfaced under some new branding from a builder who has a finalist MOC in the BrickLink Stud.io contest that is currently happening.  I would love to build this shooter or something similar.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

9v Train Speed Regulator Drought

We had a nice conversation on the Community Discord today about the state of the 9v Train Speed Regulators.  It looks like worldwide supply is running low.  Here are the stats as of 15:30 PST today.



10 of them ranging from $25USD to $70USD (usually including a power adapter)

What does this mean?  I would order them today if you plan on building some GBC.  Prices are only going to climb as GBC continues to grow in popularity!

Join the Lego GBC Community chat by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 4, 2019

Builders like Doug72 and Berthil van Beek seem to be obsessed with improving and adding to Akiyuki's Train System V2.  Here Berthil has created yet another Train loader, this time a bit more conservative with a simple conveyor.  Interestingly he uses the old treads to lift the balls up into the train car.

Here is a walkaround the Brickvention 2019 GBC circuit from Rohan. There is a lot of well themed modules in this layout!

And we will end this observer on a friendly note.  Here Ryk Field is back with a new set of modules based on the newly released friends heart shaped boxes.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 3, 2019

Week 3, 2019 brings us some interesting new modules.

4 people eating soup?  It took me a few seconds to realize what I was looking at. 🍜 The input bin is a bit high, but that could be fixed by adding a small conveyor, or ball pump.

DILL.I.AM (One of our lego gbc community chat members) has created a nice small module with 2 different mechanisms.  First a pair of steps, followed by liftarms that push the balls ahead.

And now lets take a look at Kevin Mitcham's updated train loader module.  Kevin's train is powered by Arduino, and I believe the programming was done by Alex Popiel the runner-up in last years the Great Ball Pit Challenge.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New YouTube channel trailer for 2019

I've created a new YouTube channel trailer which highlights the type of stuff I will continue to work on over the next year as I try and reach my goal of 1000 subscribers.  Thank you to everyone for your continued viewership and support!

There will be a small giveaway and I will build a special GBC module to celebrate 1000 subs, stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 2, 2019

Ahh Tuesday, I think the Observer posts will now be posted on Tuesdays in 2019!

Welcome to week 2, 2019

While I try to feature modules that are complete and would work at a collaborative event, I found this cute little soccer ball kicker mechanism quite enjoyable. I do feel bad for the poor mini-figs, and were surprised that their hair didn't get tossed!

Seasoned builder Lawrie shows off his new gateway crane.  It looks great and appears to function as designed!

And here is a recent small layout from a builder in Belgium.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, January 7, 2019

New Lego GBC Module - Separation Anxiety

New for 2019, Separation Anxiety is a sideways conveyor module that uses 25 of the brick separator tools to carry balls from input to output.  It was built with the separators in mind in order to use some of them up! (I had quite a few of them on my desk.)  It was built over 3 days, and runs off a PF M Motor at around speed 3/6 on a speed regulator.

Some people have said it looks like an angry insect, or creature, what do you think?

This module can handle a fast throughput of input as long as the batches are smaller.  It would fail the 30 batch requirement of the GBC standard.

I look forward to showing this module alongside Tri-Sep.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 1, 2019

Welcome to 2019!  A new year and lots of new Lego to create GBC with.

Let's take a look at what's appeared over the last week on YouTube.

Animatronica shows us several of his non-standard modules in a nice layout.

REF05 by Ryk Field shows us another way to use up some of your banana gears.  It's a Batman themed module, and he has provided free instructions as well!

And here is a new look at a small layout I showed previously.  Even though this doesn't meet the GBC standard I like the combination of different mechanisms here.