Great Ball Contraption


The idea of the Great Ball Contraption is to take modules from many builders and combine them into one large machine. The modules need to find some way of moving LEGO soccer balls and basketballs from an input point to an exit are that passes them onto the next module. Some of them sort the balls, but in the end the eight-and-a-half-minute video above shows the orbs going around and around. That’s just fine with us, it’s no secret that we love machines that are overly complicated and may be completely useless.

18 thoughts on “Great Ball Contraption

  1. wow!

    must be fun to finally get all these lego mindstorm things working together that is after a months of trial and error.

    Also is this a sponsored project? I would not like to put up the bill for al the lego if you would have to pay for all of it :)

  2. I’m not positive, but I think I saw some K’nex parts in there too.

    Very cool project – a much more advanced version of my childhood hobbies. I became a Rube Goldberg fan the day I got the old board game, Mouse Trap.

  3. is anyone else really sad when one of them hits the ground? the dumping part at the beginning is particularly sad :*(

    the little dump truck that drives back and forth was pretty awesome, though.

  4. @supershwa, not knex, lego makes knex looking pieces like in the lego technic sets.

    @Foofoo, thought the same thing. I thought, OOH a seperator….aww.

    Amazing setup, phone-camera-quality video.

  5. You guys have wa-aa-ay too much time on your hands… I totally loved this to bits!

    I was a bit disappointed when the two different balls were mixing but I was totally overwhelmed when you separated them, not once but twice!

    Love it, Love it, Love it!

  6. For everyone saying that one japanese guy has too much time on his hands, for fuck’s sakes, at least read the first sentence in the description…

    “The idea of the Great Ball Contraption is to take modules from many builders and combine them into one large machine”

    The way it works is people meet together for lego convention style meetups, they give specifications on how to build your own module to be incorporated into a massive machine.. They tell you where to expect to recieve the balls, and where to drop the balls, as well as how many balls per minute the average flow rate should be. Then, people fly from all over the world to meet up and hook their modules together to create an enormous collaborative contraption.
    See here for more info:

  7. To all those talking about time, they probably did spend a lot of time on it, but from reading the description on the youtube page, it looks like different people made each “module”, then they just stuck them together.

    The hardest part was probably making sure there were no bottle-necks.

  8. OMFG!!! That was the most amazing device I’ve ever seen! The most I can make out of NXT is a stupid automated catapult… I’m kind of bummed about the video quality. It sucks, but the device itself is wicked awesome! I am sooo re-blogging this!

  9. all those knocking lego are daft, single most encouraging toy to make little brains become awesome.
    and don’t say its a waste of time either, if you get satisfaction then that’s enough, but I’m sure you could learn a bit about mechanisms and automation working on this.
    Any of you ever seen this stuff?

    Totally gonna build some for my nephew if I ever get time

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