Eight Minutes of Nothing But Balls
April 21, 2011 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Lego Great Ball Contraption. (YouTube). Not enough balls? Try this one. (YouTube) More about Great Ball Contraptions: one two
posted by Legomancer (31 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
BALLS.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:00 AM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. Not all the parts appear to be doing what they're supposed to.

Otherwise, playing with your balls: that's entertainment.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:01 AM on April 21, 2011


Any one know how the sorter that sorts balls into basketballs and soccer balls work?
posted by yeoz at 7:03 AM on April 21, 2011


eponysterical, and mesmerizing.. Like watching the Crayola factory visit from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood..
posted by k5.user at 7:04 AM on April 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Any one know how the sorter that sorts balls into basketballs and soccer balls work?

Looks like it's using the Mindstorms Light Sensor.
posted by Legomancer at 7:13 AM on April 21, 2011


8 minutes of that was about 6:30 minutes too long.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:21 AM on April 21, 2011


what hath Lego wrought
posted by orme at 7:24 AM on April 21, 2011


8 minutes of that was about 6:30 minutes too long

I often find Mindstorms videos simultaneously fascinating and dull. The robots can be doing something really awesome and amazing, but doing it so slowly that it becomes hard for me to watch. Sometimes someone will do a time-lapse or speeded-up Minstorms movie and that can work for some things.

I'm enjoying this, Legomancer, though I've only sampled it. I'll watch the vids later with my kids, who like this kind of thing.
posted by not that girl at 7:24 AM on April 21, 2011


I thought this would be a LEGO version of those awesome animated ball-sorting gifs that were popular on SA. This is even more awesome though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:25 AM on April 21, 2011


...and for the true ball afficionado, there's always the Rolling Ball Museum in Seoul.
posted by fairmettle at 7:32 AM on April 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Like watching the Crayola factory visit from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

I totally had that music playing in my head while I watched this video muted.
posted by droob at 7:33 AM on April 21, 2011


OK, the boys--7 and 9--and I have watched the first link and they are in awe. We do Mindstorms, and they said things like, "I had no idea you could do things like that!" and "any one of these robots would be awesome, but for all of them to be together!" and "how could you figure out how these all went together?" and "this is so cool," and "can we do Mindstorms today?" So, 2 thumbs up from the kids here.
posted by not that girl at 7:34 AM on April 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


That was way, way more impressive than I ever expected. Also more terrifyingly expensive looking than I expected. I bet you could get a pretty nice used car for the cost of all that Lego.

I had no idea there were Lego trains. That train is so much more awesome than the trucks that I'm surprised they bothered with the trucks at all.
posted by Western Infidels at 7:43 AM on April 21, 2011


Wow, that was impressive. So many little robots, all doing their jobs. Reminded me at times of How It's Made and some of the interesting automation chains shows on that show.

Great post. I had no idea people were doing this kind of thing. Thanks so much!
posted by hippybear at 7:49 AM on April 21, 2011


Yep, I am ready for the final exam this afternoon... Thanks for sharing!!!
posted by JoeXIII007 at 7:59 AM on April 21, 2011


Ooh, look at the truck going around carrying the balls! And the ferris wheel thing takes them and then the basketball hoop! Awesome.

They put a lot of thought into the assembly-line nature of these Great Ball Contraptions. And even the name is full of win.

I love this kind of stuff. Great post, thanks!
posted by misha at 7:59 AM on April 21, 2011


What strange and wonderful things could Rube Goldberg have created if only he had had access to Legos? Sadly, the world will never know.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:21 AM on April 21, 2011


Also more terrifyingly expensive looking than I expected. I bet you could get a pretty nice used car for the cost of all that Lego.

Bear in mind that the GBC is a collaborative construction, composed of modules brought by many people.

Speaking only for my own Lego collection, it may look expensive at one glance, but I didn't buy it yesterday. It's an accumulation over the last 32 years.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:42 AM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The first video is pretty awesome. It starts slow, with a lot of balls being disappointingly dropped, but then it gets really good. Interesting contraptions and aesthetically well executed. I didn't like the second one at all, but only sampled it. It seemed like most of the contraptions didn't work very well at all.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:57 AM on April 21, 2011


Reminded me at times of How It's Made and some of the interesting automation chains shows on that show.

That's exactly what I was thinking, and I think I've seen every episode of that show.

In fact many of the basic industrial machines are represented in this fancy lego ball handler. Ratchet drives, rolling tables, conveyors, stair-step conveyors, screw drives, sorting machines, pick and place machines, bulk hoppers... all kinds of tools.

There's a few things missing like vibrational sorting tables, but many of the basics of an automated manufacturing or material handling line are there.
posted by loquacious at 9:01 AM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I noticed there was a bit of leakage with a few of the devices. Sadly, that means the machine won't be able to operate forever. Entropy will not be denied.
posted by JHarris at 9:04 AM on April 21, 2011


Enjoyed immensely. Needs a remix with Raymond Scott's Powerhouse.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:18 AM on April 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


At first I was like no way I'm watching all 8 minutes but here I am 8 minutes later saying thanks for posting. So cool.
posted by Sailormom at 10:04 AM on April 21, 2011


I noticed there was a bit of leakage with a few of the devices. Sadly, that means the machine won't be able to operate forever. Entropy will not be denied.

This is entirely true of real world production lines. If you want manufacturing process videos most of the lines have some kind of leakage. Especially food production lines.

You'd think these videos would put me off of my taste for junk food, but, no, apparently I'm a pig. I've actually eaten hot dogs while watching the video about how the make them.
posted by loquacious at 10:05 AM on April 21, 2011


I'm not sure if I should be upset that I watched the whole thing, or upset that I've killed my inner child so much that I think I've got better things to do.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:07 AM on April 21, 2011


Watching this video and the recent Purdue World Record Rube Goldberg machine video reinforces my preference for the short-and-sweet(-and-clever) Pythagoras Switch chain reaction dealy-bobbers I've seen on Youtube.
posted by Straw Cab at 11:22 AM on April 21, 2011


What a horribly inefficient way of moving around those little balls. I could've done that much easier with a couple of grocery bags.
posted by slogger at 12:48 PM on April 21, 2011


I didn't like the second one at all, but only sampled it. It seemed like most of the contraptions didn't work very well at all.

Also, there were a lot more (obvious) non-Lego parts in the second one. My 9-year-old was bothered by that. He has now self-identified as a Lego purist, who believes that if you're making Lego-related things, you should use only real Lego parts.

On the other hand, it was fun that some of the modules in the second one had castle or pirate themes.
posted by not that girl at 1:45 PM on April 21, 2011


This somehow reminds me of Portal 2... Intricately complex mechanisms hidden in the walls that just knock wall panels down before filling in holes with identical bits of panel.
posted by kzin602 at 7:09 PM on April 21, 2011


Just another day at the factory.

QA is gonna shit when they hear about the manual override after the soccerball sort.
posted by slickvaguely at 9:12 PM on April 21, 2011


Needs Powerhouse by Raymond Scott, the factory theme in Looney Tunes.
posted by FJT at 6:23 AM on April 22, 2011


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