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.
TJ--I agree but then I was absolutely fascinated by the complexity. I would love to know the thought processes that went in to the planning phase of the project. LEGO must really love this one. It has to be a hit just about anywhere viewed. I don't do the U-Tube or Face Book thing but has the video been shown on these two social outlets? Any one know?
Rob, it has gone viral because my four year old grandson has watched it now about 2 million times!! Seriously, he's fascinated with it and after about the 30th viewing I thought I'd had enough — but I still find myself stopping as I walk by and watching with amazement at the contraption. Such creativity. But we have renamed some sections of it "Archimedes Screw 1, 2, etc." :)
Good point, Rob. I hadn't envisioned the engineer and his spouse working on it together, so much as her having a better understanding of his passion if she were a like-minded engineering or creative type. But I still don't want one in my living room.
Yes, the difference between Yoko and Lennon's first wife is that Yoko went to work with him. That solves a lot. So, if the person who built the Lego contraption had a spouse, perhaps they worked together on it.
Lennon's first wife was not a co-creator and fellow artist, like his second wife Yoko was. I think that can make a big difference: if spouses have similar, or at least parallel, interests they can understand each other better. OTOH, if my husband built that LEGO contraption or went off to climb Everest I'd have a lot to say about it.
Yes, Ann, I too have bumped into the spousal disagreement over projects. It's a fine line between serving your muse and serving your family.
John Lennon claimed his marriage broke up over the time he was spending making Sgt. Pepper. He said looking back that Sgt. Pepper wasn't worth losing a marriage over. That marriage was doomed anyway, but still it's an interesting comment.
I agree, Rob, on the amount of effort and its worthiness. Some of the comments, though, were pretty funny. I've been on both ends of the spousal disagreement about spending "too much" time at work or on a project, so I can relate.
In some ways, building this contraption is no different than preparing to climb Mt. Everest. Both activities require time, money, and dedication. Both deliver very little besides personal satisfaction. Perhaps the gadget offers the greater good since it can be shared, as with this video.
That's a great site, Ann. Interestingly, this gadget with the same video is the top item on the news section of the Rube Goldberg site. Apparently, this video has gone viral. It certainly deserves that.
Eleven years ago one of those rare, brilliant moments emerged from the crack staff of Design News: Let’s put the tinkerers among our audience community to work in designing and building some truly wacky devices. And Gadget Freak was born.
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