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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
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 discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.