It cannot, however, keep your cat from messing it up
July 7, 2013 9:42 AM   Subscribe

LEGO Mindstorms can be used in a great many ways, but in terms of building something that perform a task better than your average human, you can't beat a steady hand for lining up dominos.

Here is a tutorial by the creator on how to build your own.

And as with most things LEGO, there's more than one way to do it.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (9 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My mistake: The first machine is actually just Technic with a non-LEGO motor, but the other four are Mindstorms.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 9:48 AM on July 7, 2013

I vaguely remember a commercial toy, produced in the late 80s / early 90s (maybe into the mid 90s?) that laid dominoes out for you. Its mechanism was different, though; I think it actually flipped the dominoes from the magazine over a wheel and then laid them down directly behind the path of the vehicle.

I really wanted one but unfortunately we had a nearly-100% carpeted house so dominoes were right out.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2013

Kadin: was it Domino Rally?
posted by gnidan at 10:39 AM on July 7, 2013

I got a ton of Domino Rally on clearance from Toys R Us. Fortunately I had my buy-anything sucker dad with me rather than my stingy mom when we found it. There was no machine to set them up. They were just mounted in racks so you could flip them to standing easily in larger blocks than one-by-one.

The guy in this video makes all kinds of awesome stuff, usually out of wood, including his own bandsaw and other woodworking tools.
posted by DU at 10:48 AM on July 7, 2013

I have never wanted a new set of LEGO so bad since I was six years old. This is the first big change in LEGO since then that I actually like. This is way more like an open-ended model kit than anything they've done since the deluxe brick box sets. The new deluxe set is slightly different than the set I had from 30+ years ago, but still consists of blocks to build anything instead of a model kit to build one thing, which is mostly what I had come to expect of the newer kits... until this.

Oh man. Now I gotta figure out how to budget a $350 toy ROBOT FACTORY.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

You can get the older Mindstorms cheaper than $350, especially if you buy it piecemeal.
posted by DU at 11:50 AM on July 7, 2013

DU: "You can get the older Mindstorms cheaper than $350, especially if you buy it piecemeal."

Yeah, I'm going to have to wait a while anyway, but it will be my next frivolous purchase. I like that it's much easier to buy parts and used sets today than it ever was when I was a kid.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:52 PM on July 7, 2013

I love Mindstorms. When I was in High School, we did a sort of Battle Bots / King of the Hill competition. Everyone got the same starter Mindstorms set, and the instructor build this ramped pyramid sort of structure. Everyone went for fast and mean; I built a slow-moving worm gear-driven 6-wheel drive skid-steer tank, with angled pieces protecting all the vulnerable spots. It inched its way along, all torque and grip, and while the other bots would attempt to ram me or trip me up, my tank relentlessly crept forward, gaining ground while slowly pushing them back toward the edge. A LEGO vehicle falling from a four-foot drop to concrete explodes fantastically. Undefeated, I was. :D
posted by xedrik at 12:23 PM on July 8, 2013

gnidan: Yep, that looks like it. I'm pretty sure that the little domino-laying machine was sold separately from the rest of the stuff in the ad; I had forgotten that there was ever anything else related to it.

You could probably do some pretty cool stuff if you put steerable front wheels on a thing like that and made it remote controlled, or even just line-following using light sensors. Then you'd be able to easily lay big curved paths.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:38 PM on July 8, 2013

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