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. PV-Productions, whose past GBC work has been covered by Geek.com, is back with another incredible creation.
PV-Productions 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.
The GBC 6 uses the following GBC modules (you can see them all in the gallery):
- Lift: Lifts the balls.
- Automatic labyrinth: Moves in four directions to lead the balls to the exit.
- Stop-go mechanism 1: 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: Waits until 8 balls have filled the arm, then the arm moves down and the balls exit.
- Pick-and-place robot: Picks the balls up at a low level and places them at a higher level.
- Horizontal lift: 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: 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.
Detailed 3D building instructions of the LEGO GBC Pick & Place Module are available. The package also includes pdf-file building instructions, the NXT program and more.
To open the building instructions LDD-file you need to download and install LEGO Digital Designer. For the building instructions PDF-file no extra special software is needed.
NOTE 1: You may not reupload the building instructions!
NOTE 2: Pay attention to the port your motor is connected. Motor A moves the arm up and down, motor B opens and closes the claw and motor C rotates the Pick & Place Robot.