Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Great Ball Pit - Challenge 2020



Welcome to the 3rd annual Great Ball Pit GBC Build Challenge. This year we will focus on building a module that delivers balls to the next module in a batch.  The size of the batch, 13 balls. 

Dump, Scoop, Run, or Shoot?  Who’s "Bakers Dozen" will be the most entertaining to watch exit the module?

 

Module Guidelines

  • The module can be any size, and use any lift mechanism.

  • The module should *only* output 13 balls at a time to the next module.  If the input bin is empty and the module is running, it should wait until it has 13 balls to release them as a batch.

  • The batch must leave your module in less than 3 seconds: first ball leaving, to last ball leaving.  This will allow for creative output scenarios, example: a marble run with 13 balls going down at the same time, the balls would hopefully all exit the run within 3 seconds of each other.

  • The module must meet the GBC standards for input bin height (10 bricks high), and capacity (30 balls minimum).  Output speed needs to be "reasonable" which should be around 13 batch every 13 seconds. (Assuming the module is receiving 1BPS)

  • The module must be powered by official Lego components such as: EV3/Mindstorms, Power Functions, Powered Up, Boost, or Control+.

  • The module should be something that has generally not been seen before.  Existing mechanisms are *OK* but try and be original. 

Challenge Details*

- Submissions will only be accepted in the Discord "challenge-2020" channel. Click HERE to join the Discord.

- Submission Deadline is 11:59PM (PST) November 7th, 2020

- Submission must include a video of the module operating. YouTube or posting a video file directly to the challenge-2020 channel is preferred.

- Must live in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, or Europe (for prize shipping reasons)

- By entering this challenge, you (the builder) are allowing me to post videos and additional content showing your module with full credit to the builder.

 

VOTING

Each entrant will vote on their 1st and 2nd favourite module.  1st choice receives 2 points, 2nd choice receives 1 point.  The winners will be selected based on which modules receive the most total points.  You are not allowed to vote for your own module.  I will be allowed to cast a vote in this challenge, regardless of an entry.

 

Prize Pool


First Place Prize

- Choose *one* of the following (new sealed) sets:

21140 - Minecraft The Chicken Coop

70821 - LM2: Emmet and Benny’s ‘Build and Fix’ Workshop!

70427 - Hidden Side: Welcome to the Hidden Side

41250 - Trolls World Tour: Techno Reef Dance Party

- Choose *one* bonus prize:

  • Brickloot.com: 100 Pack Multi-color GBC Soccer Balls

  • 5 x 40 tooth gears & 5 x 28 tooth gears (these are all new and unused)

- A Great Ball Pit exclusive “Eat, Sleep, GBC” 1x8 Engraved Brick

- The prestigious Challenge Winner” Role on the Discord server.

 

Runner-Up Prize

- Choose *one* of the sets left in the prize pool, after the first place winner has selected.

- You will receive the left-over bonus prize.

 

All entrants will receive the new "Challenge 2020" role on the discord server.

 

* I reserve the right to modify or append additional rules to challenge at anytime.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Lego GBC Observer - Week ???

 Welcome to the Lego GBC Observer, where I feature interesting Lego Great Ball Contraption videos from YouTube.

This week we have 3 great modules from members of the Lego GBC community Discord server which can be joined by clicking this link: http://discord.gg/YPwm9w7

First up is a nice clean take on an Achemedes screw by RJ.  As usual with RJ's builds this one is very clean in design and the spinning logo at the top really is the cherry on top!

Next up is a "brick built" conveyor from Sawyer.  This one uses the often overlooked engine block piece as the main component to the lift.  

And finally NDL shares his SawBlade wheel lift which was built using the "shark fin" technic connector.  

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Weeks 30 & 31, 2020

Welcome to the GBC Observer, where we take a look at interesting Lego Great Ball Contraption modules via YouTube.

First up RJ has modified his square spiral into a gbc standard compliant module.  Wonderful looking module and slightly hypnotic 🥴



And here's an update from Sam F, who has updated his pinwheel module to be a GBC standard compliant.  This module is also using his shared power which is a great feature, nice work!



And finally an aptly named Small Ball Contraption that features 4 lifts and a ball counter! This appears to be created with parts from the Spike Prime education set.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 29, 2020

Hello, and welcome to a scorcher of an Observer for week 29, 2020.  Scorcher?  We are in the middle of a "heat wave" here in the Greater Vancouver area, and it's a toasty 30c outside.  But let's take a look at some cool Lego Great Ball Contraptions that have appeared on YouTube over the last week.

Builder Rimo Y is back another factory line style module.  This one appears to be moving a lot of parts at a high rate of speed, so I'm curious how long it would run before shaking itself apart? 🤔



Next up, a simple module that looks great.  I like the use of the cheese slopes spaced out with the grill tiles in between for the output ramps.  I feel like the grills are helping to slow the balls slightly as they flow down the ramp.



Lastly Pinwheel shares a nice simple "cruisin" module that features a car driving along while the GBC balls pass by.   I like how easy it was to be re-skinned.



Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

V-22 Osprey no longer coming to stores August 1st.

So the Osprey set has been cancelled, and we won't be discussing the politics of why here.  So instead let's talk about the tangible effects of the set being cancelled.



First let's speak on the demise of Lego Power Functions as it currently exists.
The Lego Group has stated that the Power Functions line of electronics will be sunset at the end of 2020.  This follows the 2019 discontinuation of the 84599 Rechargeable Battery Pack which is now over $100 used on Bricklink.  The 84599 was the only modern purist way to have variable speed control and be able to plug it into a wall.  Variable speed control is crucial in developing GBC modules, as it allows for various test situations to ensure module reliability.



84599 Rechargeable Battery Pack
Now while most veteran GBC builders today are using the older discontinued 2868b 9v Train Speed Regulators.  Many of us are looking to move forward with the Powered Up (PUP) line of products so that we will be able to quickly and easily buy new components direct from Lego should the need arise.  The current issue is that none of the current powered up hubs allow for AC power, and none of them have a rechargeable component.  As well they are very expensive because they include a small circuit board and bluetooth radio inside each one.  (Lego Education hubs do have rechargeable batteries)

PUP Boost HUB
PUP City HUB


PUP Control+ HUB


So where does the V-22 Osprey fit into all of this?  TLG hinted at a "Simple Battery Box" over a year ago during their PUP workgroup.  It was supposed to be a device that would operate like the current PF battery box offering a simple "on/off" for the PUP motors.  We rejoiced in knowing that "it may arrive eventually".

Well with the reveal of the V-22 Osprey set, many of us were delighted to see that the simple battery box would indeed be released, and be more functional then we expected.  It had 2 motor ports and offered axle holes connected to each switch that would allow for interesting connections to flip the switches.

PUP Simple Battery Box and L Motor


Well now that the set has been cancelled, we are nowhere closer to having a cheap solution to run our PUP motors.  Some are speculating that the parts may become available on Lego's Bricks & Pieces  on August 1st.  We will have to wait and see.



Lego GBC Observer 👁 Weeks 27 & 28, 2020

Welcome to another GBC Observer post for 2020.  Some great modules have shown up over the last few weeks and here are some of the interesting ones.  As always, if you'd like to chat about Lego GBC, come join us on the Discord server where there is plenty of Lego GBC and Lego related discussion.  http://discord.gg/YPwm9w7

First up is a module featuring the new waterpark slide pieces found in some new 2020 sets.  The novel thing here is that the builder has decided to run the conveyor chain inside the tube.  That is something new and quite ballsy.



Something we've been talking about recently on the Community Chat Discord is building a bowling themed GBC module.  Well too much talk has resulted in someone else building one first!  While this is quite a basic looking bowling module, I like the use of the BW2018 pump and modification to add a ball putter.



Pinwheel is back with another large ring module.  Using his hail-fire wheels as a bucket passing module.  I always enjoy seeing how those large rings can be used in different ways in GBC.



Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 26, 2020

Good morning everyone, and apologies for the late Observer post.  I've taken a small break from GBC building to do what every AFOL dreads: sorting, and organizing!  I'm hoping to be back building GBC next week, now onto this weeks interesting videos.

First up, the nonsense wars channel brings us a new module using a new linkage.  As always the design and build process is well narrated by Pikohan resulting in an enjoyable GBC module walkthrough.



Kevin Mitcham shows us the latest version of his lifting arms sweeper.  The interesting thing about this sweeper is how low the pickup is, Kevin mentions it is approximately 4 plates high!  I have seen him use a variant of this to recover the balls at the output of his train module.



Master builder Akiyuki shows us an updated version of his spiral lift.  I've seen reproductions of his earlier design fail frequently at convention layouts, so hopefully this new design is easier for adopted owners to keep running.



Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Updated Module - RISE+RUN Version 2

Recently while going through my collection of modules, I took a hard look at my RISE+RUN module and had to make a decision.  Tear it down, or rebuild it to work reliably.  I decided on the latter since the original had zero run time at BrickCon 2019 due to it jamming as soon as it was put on the table.

The main issue was the piston steppers at the front of the module: Brick built, poorly.  They would catch on other bricks, and then gears would jump and become desynchronized.  My solution: Do a "full technic" rebuild of the module, removing 90% of the system brick leaving only the transition ramps and input bin tiling.

The results are a sturdier, more reliable module.  I replaced the "piston steps" with smaller tipping ramps.   I've also added a phase adjustment knob, that allows for tuning the ramps to pass balls without any hiccups.

Please enjoy a short video of the module in action below.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 25, 2020

Welcome to a late but not absent GBC Observer post for Week 25, 2020.   It was great seeing everyones GBC Loops at the BW Virtual Event on the weekend.  It provided lots of new GBC ideas and inspiration to work with!  But now lets check out some videos.

First up is a new take on a ball passing module.  This one uses a stepper like drive train but instead of steps, it pushes gears up against a gear rack piece to generate an up-and-over motion for the small cup above.


Next up is "Double Tipper".  Aptly named for requiring two tips to pass balls through the module.  I really appreciate the simplicity of this mechanism.  If I was to improve this, it would be to somehow add a viewing port on the side so you could see the balls exiting the module from the hidden chamber.


Lastly lets look at this module from Dunes.  I'm not sure if I featured it before, and it is a recreation of another builders module.  I like the ball loading slabs of brick, and the right angle triangles of treads that control the motion of the arms.


Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

New Lego Powered Up GBC Module PUP-01

Today I'm sharing my first official "Lego Powered Up" GBC module, not to be confused with my previous Lego Boost Pachinko module that also falls under the "Powered Up" brand.  I'm calling it PUP-01, and I plan to do a series of modules showing what GBC's you can build using these smaller, cheaper PUP components.


This module uses the City Train/Batmobile HUB with 2 ports.  Connected to the ports are a Simple Medium Motor and a Color/Distance Sensor.  The motor drives the main conveyor both forward and reverse depending on the color sensor being triggered by a Green Brick or a Yellow Tile.  The drivetrain also connects to a copy of my WM01 small conveyor which feeds a tipper bucket.


The drivetrain runs through a special gearbox that only outputs rotation in one direction.  This way the motor can spin either way, and WM01 will only operated in the correct direction.  Thanks to RJ Bricks for the design of this gearbox.


Here is an image of the simple code blocks used to run the logic of this module.


Please enjoy the video.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Brickworld Virtual GBC - June 2020

Virtual GBC - June 27, 2020

For the second time this year, I will be participating in the Brickworld Virtual GBC loop alongside several other talented builders.  There will be 10+ loops displayed, and I will be co-hosting alongside  Bob Luzenski, and GBC Legend Tom Atkinson.

I'm sure we will see a ton of new modules this weekend, I will be debuting several myself.  Hope to see you there.

Information on the event and how you can purchase a pass to join in can be found here: https://brickworld.com/brickworld-virtual/

Monday, June 22, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 24, 2020

Welcome to the Lego GBC Observer for week 24, 2020.  I've been busy building a fair bit, I rebuilt my RISE+RUN module, and also finished a Powered-Up module as well.  Now onto this weeks featured videos.

First let's take a look at this 2 person collaboration out of Japan.  There are a ton of great modules here, my favourites are the brick built funnel, and the mini archimedes screw.



Next up, Doug72 shared a look at one of his Akiyuki inspired train modules with me.  The EV3 swing arm unloader, it has great motion and the use of the battery pack as a counter weight is a great idea.



Finally let's look at the highly stylized Chicken and Crocodile module from RJ.  This module is a chicken themed ball pump that feeds balls into a hungry animated crocodile.  Great theming here!



Have a great week everyone!


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Lego Boost Pachinko GBC - Star Wars Trench Run

Today I'm revealing the second of two new game boards for my Lego Boost Pachinko GBC module.  This board is themed after the Star Wars Trench Run on the Death Star.


This board took quite a bit more work then the Minecraft one, due to trying to get the board to look like the death star.  Simple things like the rotating auto-laser turrets needed refinement to get the balance correct on the spinners.


I used inspiration and the same design for the ships from my now disassembled Start Wars Trench Run GBC module.  The jackpot is triggered when a ball enters the thermal exhaust port.

I will be keeping this as my only game board for now.  Please enjoy the short video below.



If you haven't seen it, here is my original Trench Run conveyor.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 23, 2020

Hey everyone, welcome to a new week of Lego GBC building and discussion.  Thanks to everyone who joined me for the Monthly live stream on Youtube this weekend.  I'm looking forward to July's stream already.  Now onto some interesting YouTube videos that have appeared over the last week.

First up, Sawyer shows us how to use some sprockets, not like sprockets.  This module uses the newer XL sprockets as a lift mechanism, which looks great in action.  I really like this one!



Next up, the nonsense wars channel provides us with some commentary on a new take on the tipping ramp style of modules.  Something different here is that each tipping ramp also changes it's height throughout the motion.  Nice!

2

Any finally we have a "Small Ball Contraption" which I really enjoy.  It's a small 32x32 machine using different lift mechanisms to move the balls around.  Very cool, and extra points for not labeling this a GBC.



Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

New Lego GBC Workshop Module - Worm Mill




Today I'm presenting the newest module in my "workshop" series.  The Worm Mill (WM02).  This module uses a compact double vertical sweeper to lift the balls from the input area to the output ramp.  The drive unit is connected to the module with a pivot point at the rear so that it won't "snap or pop" if balls get caught under the lifting arms while it's in operation.


The throughput of this module is what I would call "very high" which is common for most vertical sweepers.  It's powered by a lego Power Functions medium motor because it has the anti-studs on the bottom which allows it to connect to the system built drive unit / worm gearbox.  A Powered Up medium motor should work as well since it also has anti-studs.



The gear train is built using the system gearbox, which contains a 2L worm and 24T gear.  You can rig it up for shared power between duplicate modules, but I have not included instructions for that.  There is a bit of trial and error into getting the output to work with the motor removed.  The motor in the regular build is actually part of the output ramp, guiding the balls out.



Free instructions have been added to the Lego GBC Instructions page.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 22, 2020

Here we are in week 22 of 2020, I hope everyone is doing well!  This week we have some great new modules, from several "new to me" builders over on YouTube.

First up RJ Bricks shows us his Wheely Wonka module which was built using several parts from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-Carrier.  It's a nice clean looking module that spans a good amount of distance.  The built in recirculation feature is also a nice touch. This looks like a nice module you could display all of your avengers mini-figs underneath.



Next up is a literal twist on the ring-in-ring modules that you may have seen before.  In this module the 3rd ring is horizontal in orientation which reminds me of the akiyuki ball factory.  The decorated ball indexer at the start is a fun touch as well.



And finally we have a small module that is interesting to me for a few reasons.  First it uses the linear actuators without the need of a programmable brick or software.  Secondly it has a mechanical switch flipper which can be difficult to make work reliably. 



Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

New game boards for my Boost Pachinko GBC module.

While setting up my new Lego room, I took a moment to dust off most of the GBC modules I still had assembled.  My Lego Boost Pachinko GBC module debuted at BrickCon 2018, and has been sitting in its crate ever since.  So I decided to make a few new game boards for it, the first one I revealed today is a Minecraft themed one.

The module itself had a few tweaks, I braced the conveyor gearing, and added some more support to the aiming mechanism, but other than that, it's mostly a cosmetic refresh.  The jackpot on this board is triggered when the ball passes into the Nether Portal.

I've also built a simple stand for my phone while it runs the Lego Boost application.



The second game board is a Star Wars themed one that will be revealed soon.  If you want to know how my Boost Pachinko module works, you can take a look at the original video where I reveal the insides.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 21, 2020

I've been having fun getting back into building, and have several GBC projects on the go.  I'm working on 2 new game boards for my Boost Pachinko machine (as well as updating it) and I have a new module done, along with some other half finished modules I need to complete.  As for this weeks videos, let's take a look at the updated vertical stepper from NW, and a lifting arm module.

First up NW talks us through his updated vertical stepper design.  This is really slick and I plan on building something like this very soon!



This next module features an interesting lift with a twist, that seems to work quite well.  I'm having deja vu when watching it, because I'm pretty sure I've seen this mechanism done before.  I can't quite put my finger on it, perhaps a sawyer module.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 21, 2020

Good morning, afternoon, or perhaps evening where-ever you are.  Welcome to the Lego GBC Observer for week 21, 2020.  There hasn't been too much new GBC activity over the last week, so a few of these choice picks are from earlier in the year.

First up is a speed-o-meter module from Bananaman, these types of modules have been done before, and use a differential mechanism to adjust the "speed" indicator, which will decrease over time unless balls are flowing through the machine.  Good stuff 🍌🕺.



Next, Snowy has created a new conveyor module with an interesting feature (which you'll have to see for yourself).  While the feature is relatively simple, I've never seen this on any other module.  This will allow for some basic audience interaction, very creative!



And for the finale this week, Lawrie walks us through his glow in the dark WORLD OF LIGHTS segment he did for the last Brickworld Virtual event.  My favourite is the super heroes shooter tower with the glowing balls being shot through the air.



Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

New Lego GBC Module Video - Catamaran Remix


Today I'm doing the official reveal of my 42105 Catamaran Remix Lego GBC module.  This module uses parts from the Lego Technic 42105 Catamaran set, and has resulted in a vertical sweeper module that actually floats! (Video linked below)

It was challenging trying to figure out how to incorporate the sails into a GBC module, and in the end they ended up being used as part of the input bin and output ramp.  The worm gears included in this set allowed for a proper gear reduction, and the pontoons worked as a large stable base for the module.


In order to achieve the floating, I had to add a few Lego boat weight pieces to help balance the weight in the stern of the boat.


I've run this module at a few events now both live and virtual and it has had no issues.  The input bin does not meet the standard for 30 ball batch, but smaller batches of 10 or less seem to work okay.


Instructions will be available in the boutique soon, so check back later if you are interested!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 20, 2020

Week 20, 2020.  If only there was 20 videos to feature, or perhaps a video with 20 modules...

First up is a shooter from smartbricks. Shooters have been done many times in many different ways, but the simplicity of this module is the stand out feature to me.



I love the nonsense wars videos because the builder (pikohan) is very informational.  In this video, he walks us through the creation of this stepper that uses a circular motion to achieve the lift.



And here we have Riku K's finished "Oldham Coupling", this is definitely a "can't stop watching" type of module.  It's part of his Modular Module series, where one input/powertrain can connect to many different types of modules/outputs.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Video of my Lego GBC loop that was shown at the Brickworld Virtual Con Spring 2020

I recently participated in the Virtual GBC loop that was happened at the Brickworld Virtual Con event, last Saturday.  5 other builders and myself prepared a home layout and then walked through it while answering questions and providing some additional information on each module in the layout.  Hosts Bob, Rafe, and special guest Tom Atkinson kept things interesting and enjoyable as we ran through each of the loops twice.

It was a fun time and I hope to participate in the June show as well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Brickworld Virtual GBC this weekend.


After a successful practice run earlier today, I'm happy to announce I will be participating in the Brickworld Virtual GBC this weekend on Saturday May 16th starting at 11am EST (GMT-4).  Several other GBC builders from around the world have come together to provide Lego Great Ball Contraption entertainment at this event.  I will be running a layout with 14 of my modules, and answering questions along the way. ⚽🏀

If you would like to join in on the fun, more information can be found at the BW Virtual website here: https://brickworld.com/brickworld-virtual-may-16/

Monday, May 11, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 19, 2020

Welcome to Week 19 of the Lego GBC Observer not so live, from the not so secret lair of the Great Ball Pit! Some interesting modules and mechanisms appeared over the last week, and these ones deserve a second, third, and forth look.

First up, builder Riku Katsumata brings us a new mechanism that is very interesting. It uses a flywheel and some interesting motion in the technic beams to rotate the structure.  This is similar to one of his previously spectacular builds the "orbit overlap".



Normally I like to feature "GBC Standard" compliant modules, but this tiny scissor lift is very interesting. I'm curious about it s long term reliability for a convention ready module.



Mindstork is back with a new "Dumpster" module.  It reminds me of his other popular module, the "cradle tipper".  It's nice to see new modules that are using the Banana gears, I have a pile I need to use up.  One of these will be on my build table if instructions are ever released.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 18, 2020

Welcome to week 18 of the GBC Observer for 2020.  Now that I'm 95% moved in to our new home, I'm happy to get these posts back on track and on time!  So take a look at some great GBC videos that have recently appeared over on YouTube.

Nonsense Wars has created a great "multi-stepper" that uses 3 different types of stepper mechanisms in one module. He also steps us through some of the design and build challenges that was faced when creating this module, nice job!



Kevin Mitcham shows us a home layout that would have presumably been brought to BrickCan 2020 this year if it wasn't cancelled due to Covid.  There is a few new modules in here and everything seems to be dialed in, thanks for sharing Kevin.



Huw is back with a new spike prime based module that solves a major issue with creating scissor lift type mechanisms.  A whole lot of force is needed to get the lift started when it is in its collapsed position.  This is solved here by using the newer large actuators that can provide that strength needed to get it moving.



Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 16 and 17, 2020

Welcome to the GBC Observer for Weeks 16 and 17 of 2020.  I've been busy setting up my new Lego studio, and plan to start building and recording modules in early May.  A lot of interesting modules have shown up over the last little while, here are some of my favourites.

MSK has created a nice module that takes inspiration from vintage flight sim toys.  The different types of aircraft make this one fun to watch.



Sam F has created a ball pump that looks like a mashup between the BW2018 and a Lasse D pump, as well he's created an interesting chimney out of lightsaber bars.  It appears that these can be linked  up for shared power which is a nice feature.



This side stepper by Pinwheel is a very clean looking module with some great motion.  I'm looking forward to building this one as it would colour match my reservoir module perfectly.



John Sherman has created a new type of stepper that uses the macaroni elbows to help guide the balls up the steps.  Nice parts usage in this one!



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 14 & 15

Welcome to the Lego GBC Observer for week 14 & 15.  Apologies for the missing post last week, but I have been busy moving into our new house (which will allow me to create a great Lego building studio!)  It seems like everyone else has been busy building and here are the interesting GBC videos I've spotted over the last week or so.

First up is a well themed module featuring a fire truck, it's built using a ball pump that has an unconventional horizontal check valve.  I'm curious how it would run over a long period.



Nonsense wars shares the second iteration of his "not scissor lift". I really like this lift,  it gains a lot of height with a fairly compact mechanism.



Builder Alex P shares his version of a Pusher Upper style module.  This one looks really nice with the striped pushers, and he has provided instructions in the video description.



In this last video JK Brickworks gives us a detailed breakdown of his Robot Dreams module.  As always, Jason clearly explains how everything works.  There are some great "Techniques" being used in this module.



Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 13, 2020

Welcome to week 13 of the Lego GBC Observer for 2020.  With so many people staying home, a lot of interesting new builds have appeared.  Let's take a look at some of the more interesting ones.

GBC Andre has created a neat lift using 2 pairs of Samsonite gears.  I've seen something similar to this before, but what makes this different is that he is using 2 different sized pairs of gears.  I think this is a great looking simple module.



In this next video, Ben has created what I would call a hybrid lift.  It's half stepper, half jigsaw, and I've never seen anything quite like it before.



Alex P has created a new module from the parts in the 42082 Rough Terrain Crane set.  The main lift is a ball pump, that feeds a water wheel.  Along with the agitated input bin this appears to be quite a robust module.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 12, 2020

Welcome to week 12 of the Lego GBC Observer for 2020.  Several builders have been busy building new mechanisms and modules. (Can you say that 3 times fast?)  Let's take a look.

First up is a home layout by Mindstork.  There are a lot of new modules in this layout, and the cycling one is quite funny.



Now let's look at another "Nonsense Wars" production, the Slide and Spin.  This module has some interesting intermittent motion thanks to a differential and a stack of clutches.  The use of clutches for additional mechanism timing is new to me, and quite clever!



This next layout from somewhere overseas has a lot of new modules, some using original lifts and some repurposing older designs.  It's a good sized loop with around 30 modules.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Weeks 10 & 11, 2020

Apologies for missing last weeks observer post, but with everything going on all around the world and my upcoming house move you could say I've been pre-occupied!  I've just had the chance to catch up on the latest GBC videos on YouTube and found some great modules that I'll share below.

Sawyer has built a nice EV3 "Robot Arm" module which appears to use 3 motors to lift balls in a bucket before dumping them into the output.  These robotic modules are always fun to watch.  I'm curious how much it will "drift" if it was running at an all day event.


Rimo Y has built a "factory style" module that has two stages to the lift and dump of each ball cart.
It looks like it uses quite a bit of parts.


This next module is simple, and I love simple modules.  Why do I love simple modules?  Because they are reliable and/or easy to fix!  Here we have a Minecraft themed 10x10 stepper.



Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 09, 2020

Welcome to week 09 of the GBC Observer for 2020.  This week we will take a look at a few convention layouts as well as a very cool interactive module.

First up is a video I took from the VLC Booth that was at Fan Expo Vancouver 2020.   A total of 4 club members contributed to the layout and it was enjoyed by a lot of people.  Also shown is the prototype of my latest module the 42105 Catamaran Remix.



Next let's look at 2 videos from Bricks Cascade that happened in Portland last weekend.

First is a video of Kevin's loop.



Next is a video of Neil and Josh's loop.



Lastly take a look at Pinwheel's newest module which happens to be interactive, very cool!



Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 08, 2020

Apologies for the late post, but here we go.  The GBC Observer for week 8 of 2020.

First up a utility item that every GBC builder will need at some point, ramps.  Nonsense Wars talks us through his thought process when designing ramps for use in his GBC layouts and testing.



Next up, this interesting module uses a chain drive to lift up small levers in sequence that propel the ball forward.  On the way back down the chain resets the levers.  Now I don't think this would meet the spec for one ball per second, but if you had 2 or 3 of these going at the same it might be possible.



And here is Huw's take on a ball sorter using the newer Lego Education Spike Prime kit.  It's using one motor to drive the wheel, and then a colour sensor and motor to sort the balls into the correct output area.  Very simple, elegant, and expensive thanks to the pricey Spike Prime components.



Have a great (short) week everyone!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 07, 2020

Welcome to week 07 of the GBC Observer for 2020.  I've just returned from participating in my first collaborative layout for 2020.   We did a 3 day show here in Vancouver at Fan Expo where my LUG had a booth where we displayed both Lego GBC and other Moc's.  Video forthcoming.

Now onto this weeks interesting GBC videos.

Dunes has created a path splitter for his GBC layout, it uses an Akiyuki style rotating lift to raise the balls up to a ramp where the balls are send either to the left or right depending on the timing.  Apparently the timing can be adjusted to split the balls faster or slower via a gearbox.



In this next video, Riku has taken what was an EV3 controlled module by Akiyuki and rebuilt it using only mechanical mechanisms to control the movement.  Quite impressive.  This situation is very similar to when Pinwheel  recreated my Boost Pachinko module without the boost HUB.



Looking to build a simple module that is GBC Standard compliant? Sam F has created this simple conveyor which uses the smaller treads and has some nice features like an anti-jam mechanism if it's run in reverse.  Instructions are available in the link in the videos description.



Have a great week everyone.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 06, 2020

Welcome to week six of the GBC Observer for 2020.  With spring on the horizon and all of these new modules appearing, I'm hoping that this is a good indicator that GBC season has arrived!  There are a bunch of North American Lego Conventions kicking off soon and hopefully some exciting new GBC layouts appear!

Now onto this weeks videos.

If you haven't seen it yet, here is Jason Allemann's first GBC module.  Jason is well known in the Lego community for his builds, and has contributed to 2 published Lego Ideas sets.  This module features a simple stepper that feeds into a line of robots who pass the balls along to the output.  Visually it's very clean and fun to look at with the different robot builds.  Plenty of mechanism remains unhidden offering even more visual interest.  I like that Jason identified and solved the classic issue of balls stalling in the input bin by making the side walls asymmetrical using a curved brick on one side and some angled bricks on the other.  The GBC sign is pretty snazzy as well!



Have you guys seen Rohan's 5 mini-golf holes?  He's taken Lawrie's base design and done some great theming here.  I love the Fabuland and classic space ones.



Delwely's going full GBC now, and I really like the simplicity of this shooter module.  I may have to replicate this sometime soon :)



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 05, 2020

A few new modules appeared over the last week on YouTube, here are 3 that are worth a look.

Prolific GBC re-engineer dunes has completed his version of John Sherman's Ball Thingy 2. Ball Thingy 2 was inspired by a French builder and is fairly reliable from what I've seen in person.



This next module from Rimo Y is an interesting new design using 2 wheels that alternate to pick up balls in an indexed motion.  The weight of the wheels on the arms is quite substantial so the motion is pretty jerky which may impact long term reliability.



Delwely, one of our newest community chat members has created a nice little double shooter module using the engine piston pieces.



Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 04, 2020

Welcome to Week 04 of the Lego GBC Observer for 2020.

First up is a G-Model from Ben who has taken the parts from the Corvette ZR1 set and added a 40 tooth gear and motor to create a unique module.   This module uses a very interesting "hoeken" motion to lift the balls up and out.  Nice job Ben, building new modules from existing sets can be quite challenging!



Next up Lawrie gives us a tour of Brickvention 2020 highlighting his favourite modules in the layout.



In this next video, Caz walks us through the GBC layout at latest "London AFOLs" event.  There is a module in there that makes me want to get some of those large Duplo ball tubes to experiment on.



Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 03, 2020

It's only a few weeks into the year and we have some great GBC collaborations to look at this week.

First up, let's visit Australia and check out the GBC Layout at Brickvention 2020.  Thanks to Rohan for this walkaround.  My favourites are Rohans "The Mine" interactive module, and Ryk's Hulkbuster dozer.



Next let's visit the latest BayLUG meeting where the GBC guys showed off some new modules.  I really like the mechanical switching modules like the waiter and the grab and spin.



Here is a French layout with some interesting modules!  The ball accelerator is neat, and I also like the pusharm powered by a conveyor.



LittlePlasticBrick has recently built a reservoir module, sharing some nice shots of the gearing and all of the features.   A reservoir is something everyone should have in their GBC collection. By putting one at the start of your GBC section in a collaborative layout, you will be able to stop the flow and make any repairs on your modules without worry.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 02, 2020

Welcome to week 2 of the Lego GBC Observer for 2020.  Let's take a look at a few recent YouTube videos showing some interesting GBC modules and mechanisms.

First up, Sam F's mini elevator module.  This module passes balls up using pairs of half lift arms which is new to me, I wonder if it could be extended to run the balls to a higher output.



The next video is a recent Belgian GBC Layout from Mout.  There is a lot of classic modules in here, as well as a "new to me" monorail module.



Dunes has updated his Cup2Cup (BvB variant) with a nice long output widget.  I find those longer balls runs always entertaining to watch.



Have a great week everyone!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Lego GBC Observer 👁 Week 01, 2020

Welcome to 2020!  A whole new year to discover, build, and collaborate on Lego Great Ball contraptions.  For anyone who is unfamiliar, this weekly GBC Observer post highlights interesting and new Lego GBC Modules that have appeared recently on YouTube.

First up for 2020, a brand new way to build a conveyor.  Dill.I.Am has used the Lego watch bands in his new conveyor build.  It's always fun to see oddball parts like this being used in a module.



Next, Puddy has created an interesting double scissor lift module.  Scissor lifts are usually difficult to get working due to the extreme load required to raise the lifts when collapsed, he seems to have overcome this issue.



And in this last video Lawrie walks us through the BrickFair New Jersey Loop that happened near the end of 2019.  Lots of new stuff in here, looked like a great layout!



Have a great week everyone!