Tuesday, September 24, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 40, 2019

Good morning fellow builders!  There hasn't been many new modules this week, so only two videos today!

First up, Pinwheel shows us the latest version of his "emmet's red crane" module.  Pinwheel has been kind enough to provide instructions so that you can build your own.

And in this second video Lawrie shows us his "Ball Return" module, explaining how all 3 components work.  The rotating sign is quite clever!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Lego GBC Modules for Beginners

I'm frequently asked, "What are some good starter modules" for newcomers to Lego Great Ball Contraption?

To help answer that question, I have compiled this list of 5 modules that are small, easy to build, and reliable.  I have personally tested all of these modules and keep them in my collection.  These modules use different lift mechanisms: Conveyor, Tipping Ramp, Ball Pump, Wheel, and Cardan Lift.

WM01 - Small Conveyor


BrickWorld 2018 Pump

Stackable Wheel

Compact Cardan Lift

All of this information now lives on it's own page here @ https://www.greatballpit.com/p/lego-gbc-for-beginners.html as a part of my "Discover GBC" information section.

Have you built any of these modules?  Which one do you like the most and why?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 39, 2019

Welcome to the GBC Observer for Week 39, 2019.  The one 2 weeks before BrickCon 2019!
I've been busy doing some module cleaning, module repairing, and module packing for the upcoming trip to Seattle.

A lot of interesting Lego Great Ball Contraption videos appeared on YouTube over the last week, here are my favourites.

First up, Pinwheel shares a video from a recent TwinLUG meeting where they put together a small GBC layout.  I like the wacky sea life module, and also the friends mini-dolls helping out in the Akiyuki cup-to-cup.

Builder Riku Katsumata shows us his "Moduled Module", a ball piston type input/loader that has 4 different output attachments.  Lots of module abuse in this video, beware!

In this next video, Nonsense Wars shares his G-Model of the 42071 Dozer Compactor.  He explains why he built it and how it works.  I'll be building this one at some point.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, September 13, 2019

What's in my GBC convention kit?

As I prepare for a few upcoming events I thought I would share what's in my GBC parts/repair/utility kit that I bring with me to conventions.  My current kit is stored inside a small Plano fishing tackle organizer, adorned with some various Lego/Convention related stickers.

Inside everything is somewhat organized with different tools/parts stored in their own section.  From top left to bottom right is the following:

  • New Spare Motors: 1XL, 1L, 1M.
  • Larger Technic Bricks & Beams, Technic Plates
  • Spare Gears (2+ of each type)
  • Technic Pins, Bushings and Telescopes.
  • Various Technic Beam Variants (Dogbones, T's, Biscuits, HassenPins, etc)
  • Technic Connectors (all sizes)
  • Axles (2+ of most sizes), Spare Sprockets (1 of each size)
  • Smaller Technic Bricks
  • Tools, Larger Pieces, Sharpies, Labels, Pocket Knife, Brick Badge & Promo Bricks.

Here's a closer look at some of the parts stored inside.

One essential item I would also recommend you bring is Masking Tape.  You can use it to label various things like train controllers, wires, or modules.

What is inside your toolkit, and what do you store it in?  Am I missing some essential items?  Leave a comment below.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 38, 2019

Welcome to the Great Ball Contraption Observer for week 38, 2019

Lots of new GBC and layout videos have popped up over the last week, and here are some of my favourites.

Nonsense Wars brings us a small layout from their latest BayLUG meeting.  There is a few new to me modules in here including the interesting ball batter, I like how there is a catch mitt for it.

Next up, Andre shares a layout he worked on with Lasse D and Peter.  Lots of familiar modules in here along with some new ones.  I like the output ramp using the orange technic wheel arch panels.

Ryk has decided to 1up me, after I 1up'd Pinwheel. Here is his Triple Splat module.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Great Ball Pit LIVE! (Upcoming events)

As we roll out of summer, I thought I would update everyone on where you will be able to see my Great Ball Contraption modules in person.  Stop by and say hello, I'd love to talk Lego GBC with you!

Maker Faire 2019
Saturday August 14th, 2019
Vancouver, BC
Science World - Booth 504 (Look for the Lego Battle Bots)

BrickCon 2019
Sat-Sun October 5th & 6th, 2019
Seattle, WA
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall

Friday, September 6, 2019

Great Ball Pit featured on Lego Technic's facebook page

It's always great to get official Lego recognition for the GBC theme, and today the Lego Technic team on Facebook have shared my "Grainbow Sawtooth" module with over 250,000 followers!

Thank you to the Lego Group for supporting the Lego Great Ball Contraption community!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

New Module - Splatiyuki

Here is my latest module which is called Splatiyuki.  It is based off the Akiyuki designed loader for his "Cars with ACC" GBC module.  Differences are that I've replaced the Boost Hub with a Power Functions M Motor and some gearing.  I have also added a second counter-rotating splat lift.

I wanted to do something "interesting" for the output so I used up a bunch of engine intakes pieces to create a zig zag ramp.  The output ramp is designed to sit on the next modules input bin.

Big thanks to Akiyuki for releasing the instructions for the splat loader and making this module possible!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Lego EV3 Program for a Lego GBC Ball Counter

Some people have asked if I could share the programming for my EV3 based GBC counter.  So I've cleaned it up a bit and added comments where I could.  It is now available for free download at my GitHub repository HERE.

Functionality includes the ability to save and restore your count, as well as reset the current BPS if you have a breakdown or stoppage in the layout that you want to ignore.

You will need a Lego EV3 Brick and a Lego EV3/NXT Touch Sensor.

You can see my original Lego GBC Ball Counter video here.

If you have any questions or comments on this you can email me @ matt@greatballpit.com or ask on the GBC chat on Discord which you can join by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

GBC Observer 👁 Week 37, 2019

Welcome to week 37 of the GBC Observer for 2019.

Lots of great GBC videos this week!  I'm back in the Lego now, having updated my GBC counter software and building some new modules!  Lets get to the videos!

Akiyuki is back with another track based module which uses several Powered Up components to load and move programmed train cars around a track.  Everyone on the GBC Discord is loving the splat lift and several people have already built their own copies with custom modifications.

BVB has built an interesting module where you can direct the balls with a remote.  The idea is that someone can try and color sort the balls as a challenge.

Caz shares the layout that was at the London AFOLs GBC Show At Egham Royal.  There's a few  familiar modules in here in the uncommon Rainbow Warrior color scheme!

Have a great week everyone!