The Great Ball Contraption

@ BrickFest 2005

As previously announced we will be assembling a Great Ball Contraption at this year's BrickFest. And at the same time we will be attempting to set a new world record for the Largest Rube Goldberg machine with our Great Ball Contraption.

You don't have to be a master robot builder to participate. In fact this picture shows a module that uses just a couple Technic pieces.

There will be several awards available to module builders including the crowd favorite and the best use of a theme like in this soccer module or this 70s style module. Some of the modules already set to attend include a soccer ball rollercoaster 'Gus' the forklift a construction backhoe trains that can stop at multiple stations and a conveyor belt powered by a motor. Ok the last one is not as exciting as the others but when they're all assembled it's really something to see.

During the weekend we'll be running parts of the GBC and at scheduled show times the whole ball contraption will be moving balls around the room. Sometime on Saturday we'll configure the contraption to act as a "one-shot" Rube Goldberg machine and attempt to set a Guiness World Record for the Largest Rube Goldberg machine.

While we don't need to know exact sizes yet we do need to find out how many people are interested in building modules for our world record-setting Great Ball Contraption. So if you want to participate please send me your name and planned module size. Keep in mind many of the "normal" modules are built on a 32x32 baseplate and you are free to build and contribute as many modules as you wish.

This is your chance to be part of the madness that transpires when AFoLs from all over contribute their modules to one of the biggest works of moving LEGO artwork ever assembled and help us try to set a Guiness World Record...

So start building your Great Ball Contraption modules now...

Things we need to know about each module:

  1. Module name & builder
  2. Size: width & depth (preferably in studs) & height.  The width should only include the module.  If any parts hang over the following module's Input that should not be counted.
  3. Output type (continuous or batch output)
  4. Preferred input: Continuous? Batch? No preference?
  5. Peak throughput: in balls per second or “bps” (aim for at least 1 bps)
  6. Power source: Battery box? RCX? Pneumatic? Other? Do you need access to a powerstrip?
  7. Description: feel free to include what the module does as well as any special abilities or features or anything else you want to draw attention towards.
  8. Total testing time (Minutes Hours Days Weeks...)?
  9. Steps - This is a rather hard-to-define sequence we will need for each module in order to attempt the world record. A "step" should loosly be defined as the ball[s] changing it's path such as (A) riding the lift and (B) rolling downhill

Modules attending Brickfest

# Module & Builder Name Size (WxD) Pref. Input Output Throughput Power Source Description Testing Time
1The Original Unloader - Steve Hassenplug32x32No PrefBatch> 1 bpsRCXIt's a trainMonths
2Lost in the Jungle - Bunnie Cleland48x32No PrefCont= 1 bps9VHours
3Drip - Steve Hassenplug10x10ContCont> 1 bps9VThis tiny 10x10 module pumps balls out one at a timeMinutes
4Cascade - Brian Davis48x48No PrefCont> 1 bps9VAllows bystanders to byuild there own bit of the GBCMonths
5Bifrost 2 - Brian Davis32x32No PrefCont> 1 bpsRCXA rainbow bridge to the GBC trainHours
6Mass Volume - Steve Hassenplug32x32No PrefBatch> 1 bpsRCXTrain unloading moduleHours
7Perpetual Motion VI - Andrew Dykstal64x25BatchSame as Input> 4bps9VThis GBC rapidly propels waves of four balls up a set of walls. I have yet to determine the real max throughput.Months
8Mass Loader - Steve Hassenplug32x32No PrefBatch2.5 bpsRCXMass volume train loaderHours
9Bifrost 1 - Brian Davis32x32No PrefContRCXLoads standard GBC hopper carsMinutes
10Olympic Slalom - Bryan Bonahoom128x32No PrefCont> 1 bps9VWeeks
11Scoop - Bryan Bonahoom32x32No PrefSame as Input2.5 bps9VWeeks
12Drooling Duck - Bryan Bonahoom32x32ContCont> 1 bps9VIf it looks like a duck, moves like a duck, and drools, it must be a drooling duck.Weeks
13Counter Intelligence - Greg Dykstal64x36No PrefBatch> 1 bpsRCXIt counts a preset number of balls into a bucket and then dumps themDays
14'Gus' the Forklift - Brian Davis4 ftx2 ftNo PrefBatch> 1 bpsRCXIt's a forkliftHours
15Yellow Step - Steve Hassenplug32x10No PrefCont= 1 bps9VConverts rotating motion into linear motion to raise balls a small amountWeeks
16Catapult - Steve Hassenplug32x32No PrefBatch> 1 bpsRCXArm lifts bucket of balls and dump to next moduleWeeks
17Air Lift - Steve Hassenplug32x32No PrefSame as InputPneumaticCompressor drives self-triggering cylindersWeeks
18The Original Train Loader - Steve Hassenplug32x32No PrefContRCXHours
19Orinoco Flow - Brian Davis32x32No PrefContRCXUnloads standard GBC hopper carsMinutes
20Rollercoaster - John Brost32x32No PrefCont> 1 bpsRCXIt's a rollercoasterWeeks
21Backhoe - John Brost64x32No PrefSmall Batch> 1 bpsRCXIt's a BackhoeWeeks
22Paddlewheel - John Brost32x16No PrefSame as Input2.5 bpsSpybotDays
23Jigsaw - Philo32x16No PrefCont> 1 bps9VDays
24Shovel - Philo24x16No PrefBatch> 1 bps9VDays
25Unlimited Stairs - Jean-Louis Bergamo32x16No PrefCont> 1 bps9VHours
26Rafe's Ball Contraption - Rafe Donahue200x60ContSmall Batch= 1 bps3 Train ControllersSteps: Approximately 7 (treadmill, screw, pachinko, maze, catching net, chute, sweeper), or 3 or 5 (treadmill, chute, (and possibly new thing, chute), sweeper), depending on route.Months
27Switchyard - Brian Davis32x32No PrefCont9VA high-speed lift feeds a binary splitterMinutes
28Red Chain - Steve Hassenplug16x10No PrefCont2.5 bps9VVery simple and fast chain liftMonths
29Loading Dock - Brian Davis32x32No PrefCont9VUnloads standard GBC hopper carsMinutes
30Balls Rolling Uphill - John Barnes32x32No PrefCont9V--
31A First Attempt - John Barnes32x32No PrefCont9VMinutes
32Module #3 - John Barnes36x32No PrefCont9VMinutes
332 Stage - Walt White72x32ContCont= 1 bps9VTwo stage lifting. Nothing FancyHours
34The Pitching Machine - Curt Werline100x32No PrefCont> 1 bps9VThis module is similar to a baseball pitching machine in that it uses two fast spinning wheels to "pitch" the balls into a backstopMinutes
35Space Shuttle - Kevin McClure32x32ContCont2.5 bps9VBalls travel from the hopper up a chain lift and down a ramp through a model of the Space Shuttle.Hours
36Sir Lance-A-Lot + Stargate - Jean-Marc Détraz64x32ContCont= 1 bps2x Train Regulator fast rotating treads throughing balls - Receive balls from #1 and send'em to an other worldHours
37Bingo - Jean-Marc Détraz16x16No PrefCont= 1 bps9Va bingo ball typeHours
38Trackster + What Way - Jean-Marc Détraz80x32No PrefCont= 1 bps1 Train RegulatorVertical climb between treads - one downhill but with 10 different ways to the bottomMinutes
39Escalade + Spirale - Jean-Marc Détraz96x96No PrefCont60 bpm9Vclimb like stairs close to vertical - spirale with 3 full turnsHours
40Sorter - Brian Davis32x32No PrefCont= 1 bpsRCXNone
41P-Wave - Kevin Clague32x32No PrefContPneumatic!This Great Ball Contraption moves balls from its input to its output, using a propogating a wave down its trough.Minutes
42last minute miracle - ondrew hartigan32x32No PrefCont9VThis machine pushes balls one at a time through a set of fingers into and up the chute that dumps them into the next machine.Minutes
43Pirates! - Jordan Bradford4 ftx32ContCont> 1 bps9VA ball pump pushes balls up a tall tower into a pirate ship. The pirates' "cannon" fires at a nearby town garrison as they attempt to free their captured shipmate.Hours

Updated 8/9/05 4:45:07 PM