Think it’s hard to move a few small balls around with Lego? You have no idea. This contraption uses 3,000 parts and just a single motor to cycle balls through a continuous, incredibly complex, Lego loop.
As we’ve noted in the past, the Great Ball Contraption is just about the greatest feat of Lego engineering that there is. The combination of planning, ingenuity, and commitment required to put together a truly excellent Great Ball Contraption (GBC), is well beyond that level of even dedicated Lego fans. Philip Verbeek, whose past GBC work has been covered by Geek.com, is back with another incredible creation.
Verbeek’s GBC 6 is an entirely new design, featuring 7 custom GBC modules and just a single Lego motor. There are also three servos and an emergency stop push sensor.
Verbeek explained each of the contraptions components to us. He noted that the GBC 6 uses the following GBC modules:
Lift (Gallery picture 4): Lifts the balls.
Automatic labyrinth (picture 5, 18): Moves in four directions to lead the balls to the exit.
Stop-go mechanism 1 (picture 6, 16): Stops balls and let them go by at the right time. This prevents those balls that would come through while the “Stop arm” is down.
Stop arm (picture 7): Waits until 8 balls have filled the arm, then the arm moves down and the balls exit.
Pick-and-place robot (picture 8, 9, 10, 11, 12): Picks the balls up at a low level and places them at a higher level.
Horizontal lift (picture 13, 14, 17): Moves the balls from A to B by a tray. This tray is always horizontal by the mechanism.
Swing mechanism: By making the swing going in the right phase, the balls will come out at the end of the swing.
Push-up mechanism (picture 15): Pushes balls to a higher level.
Clearly, the star of the show is the pick-and-place machine. This isn’t the typical, chip-installing pick-and-place robot, but it’s the next best thing. The mechanical arm is able to pick up multiple balls at once and transport them to another mechanism in a way that, while not as elegant as some other GBC designs, is incredibly cool.
To me, the most clever parts of this GBC weren’t the pick-and-place arm or the maze table, but the swing arm (seen at 2:18 in the video) and the pitch-fork style ball collector (at 2:12). These mechanisms make great use of the bricks and rely less on NXT and motors, and more on good, old fashioned Lego ingenuity.
If you’d like to support Verbeek’s project you can visit his site or vote up his GBC on Cuusoo.
If you want to see more of my LEGO projects you can visit my youtube channel
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