It's not every day you see something that makes your jaw drop, but today, while watching the video of the largest, most intricate Lego machine I've ever seen, mine did.
The machine, known as the Great Ball Contraption (GBC), was built by a Japanese mechanical engineer in his house over the course of two years -- a total of a whopping 600 hours in construction time.
The monstrous 5 ft x 21 ft (1.5m x 6.5m) machine boasts 17 modules that can process 500 balls for a length of 101.7 ft (31m) at a rate of one ball per second. I know, it's hard to wrap your head around it without checking out the video, below, first.
It's not just the machine's enormous size that impresses fans, but the individual modules themselves, which are described as follows:
Spiral lift T2
Elevator and coaster
Spiral lift T1 & step
Catch and release
Belt conveyor & pinball
5-axis robot S750
The video of the device in action is a whopping seven minutes long, but if you're in any way interested in Lego and mechanical engineering, you really must check it out.
Elizabeth M, I agree. It's quite ironic that a video on LEGO engineering was aired on Design News when in my Control Systems class I showed a couple of videos illustrating mechatronics applications using the LEGO NXT-Mindstorms kit. Such a cool video and I will definitely be showing this magnificent machine to my class next week. Awesome engineering!!!
TJ McDermott, I watched approximately 3mins of the video and I was blown away by the shear complexity of the machine. There's a lot of cool manufacturing processes and automation techniques that can be learned by watching this magnificent machine in operation. What a cool video!!!
Any idea as to basic Lego part count in this video? Not the motors, sensors, and controllers necessary from the MindStorm kits. I'm talking about the basic static Lego parts. They average about $.10 a piece (so a 500 part kit in the store should run about $50 in the USA). I'm curious about what we just watched cost the builder.
I was fortunate to visit BrickCon in Seattle last month. I saw a large-scale Hogwarts model in such intricate detail. I think I was looking at close to a quarter-million dollars in bricks alone.
Wow. This is a magnificent machine. Who on earth has the time to build something like this? I hope it's on display somewhere. I've seen a machine like this -- but not as elaborate -- in a science museum.
,,,and not ONE loose ball, rolling on the wood floor! Then, at the point where the robot arm was taking shots at the hoop (and hitting about 90%) I burst out laughing!! ,,, So much fun, just to watch! Maybe the designer needs some suggestions on how to turn a profit on this ,,,,
1. Break up the modules individually and document as lessons in Automation.
2. Sell it to Disney. (heard they're in a "buying" mood; just paid LucasFilms $4B for STARWARS,,,)
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.