If you've got to watch a clock, then watch this one
September 22, 2013 12:55 PM   Subscribe

LEGO Ball Contraptions have been seen (and gawked at) once or twice on the Blue before. But if you're looking for a bit more purpose to this particular genre of LEGO build, look no further than the impecably accurate and stylish LEGO Rolling Ball Clock.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (11 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Soooo cool! Thanks for posting!
posted by grouse at 1:09 PM on September 22, 2013

Damn, I need to do something internet clever worthy.
posted by sammyo at 1:15 PM on September 22, 2013

That would look smashing next to my Lego Rolodex.
posted by pipeski at 1:19 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love that he took the time to show how it works. My oldest son, whose Secret Internet Name is The Lego Savant, and I tried to design a small ball contraption, and one of our biggest challenges was how to pick the balls up and carry them back to the top, so I love that this designer took the time to show how he solved each of these problems. Minifig hammers and teeth would never have occurred to me; I never could figure out how to pick up the balls in a way that would let them roll off at the top but not let them fall off on the way up. If we ever pick that project up again, I'm totally stealing this guy's design. Shamelessly stealing it.
posted by not that girl at 1:47 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love rolling ball clocks. The Lego contraption here is a variation on a design invented back in the 70s by Harley Meyerschein. There have been bigger ones, including one that used bowling balls instead of ball bearings. If you don't feel like building one you can just buy one instead.
posted by pmdboi at 2:12 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Looks cool, but I prefer my clocks to have 60 seconds to the minute rather than 54.
posted by skintension at 3:23 PM on September 22, 2013

Damnit, skintension!

Well spotted.
posted by tigrrrlily at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2013

I don't get why it has 54 seconds to the minute. It seems to count six lots of ten rather than six lots of nine. There are nine balls, but one of the minutes is counted with no balls on the top rail, so it does count ten as far as I can tell.

What am I missing?
posted by pulposus at 10:58 PM on September 22, 2013

The balls count the 60 minutes in an hour.
The number of seconds per minute is controlled by the motor speed (and the length of the chain)

I was hoping he'd invented a way to get accurate seconds from arbitrary motor speed using only lego, but it looks like he hasn't. Still a cool ball counter though.
posted by doiheartwentyone at 1:00 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Personally, I vastly prefer K'Nex. But somehow they never seemed to capture the broader interest. Easier for my hands to handle, way faster for building high structures. Mindstorm sounds all good, but seriously, 3 ins and 3 outs? For that price?! P. T. Barnum had a point.
posted by Goofyy at 2:53 AM on September 23, 2013

The use of minifig hammers and "teeth" -- both of which are in my 5-year-old's rapidly growing collection -- is the definition of out-of-the-box thinking. Unbelievable.
posted by rouftop at 11:22 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

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