We’re surprised that LEGO machine expert JK Brickworks has never built a Great Ball Contraption module before, but his first one definitely lives up to his standards. Watch as four tiny LEGO robots work along an assembly line, each passing a ball to the next to move it down the line. It also appears to work as a hypnosis device.
THE BEST Mechanical
If you’re an airplane mechanic, one of the last things you want to do is drop a screw into a turbine engine you’re working on. Due to their construction, it would be very difficult to get it back out if you did. But as this video from AgentJayZ shows, it would make quite a pleasant sound before it totally ruins your day.
With the advent of pay stations and mobile parking apps, meters are becoming a rare sight. But these coin-collecting dinosaurs still have some neat mechanical bits worth exploring inside of them, as Rescue & Restore shows when he tears down a 1960s Duncan meter and makes it like new again. That shiny red coat is a thing of beauty.
We’ve seen various works by artist Daniel Rozin over the years, but this interview with WIRED is the first time we’ve heard from the artist himself, and not just what inspires him to make his mechanical “mirrors,” but the painstaking effort and technology that drives his works.
Check out this amazing bit of arcade history. This 1973 SEGA Moto Champ machine had no screens, buttons, or a joystick. The electro-mechanical racing game had a group of magnetically-attached motorcycles which rolled over a treadmill-style “road,” as a spinning cylinder cast images onto the moving mat.
Take a look at the video, and you’ll swear that these balls are spinning in a circular orbit. But look more closely, and you’ll see that each ball is moving along a perfectly straight path. The mechanical model is based on a design by 16th century Italian poymath Girolamo Cardano.
Design collective onformative shows off a nifty mechanical sculpture they created, which uses a series of spinning black metal tubes which allow light from an array of fluorescent bulbs to pass through. The result is a binary pixel display with an alluring soundtrack. More here.
Up for a fun and challenging project with a satisfying result? Look no further than this wooden model of a London-style double decker bus. Once you assemble all 216 laser-cut parts, you’ll have a working vehicle that can actually move up to 12 feet on rubber band power.
While mechanical metronomes have gone the way of the dinosaur for most, we still find these old school rhythm keepers fascinating. Mr. Smith’s LEGO Models shows off a build which uses Technic parts to replicate the functionality, complete with an adjustable interval.
To prove just how versatile cardboard can be, Houston-based Victory Packaging turned up to a tradeshow with a 16-foot-tall gear-driven sculpture reminiscent of the space travel portals from Stargate. This isn’t the only time they built something awesome with cardboard.
If you thought The Citadel was complex, check out builder Samuel Hunt’s insanely complex K’NEX ball machine. It’s made from over 50,000 pieces, has 6 networks, 33 paths, and 13 lifts. It took him nearly 2 years to construct and film all of its paths and mechanisms.
3DSage got their hands on this nifty mechanical device from Japan – it’s a hand-operated gadget which follows the outlines of a stack of disks to move its arm, which in turn draws a corresponding image. A web-based conversion tool is used to design disk templates.
Most digital displays are completely solid state, with no moving parts. But check out these nifty (and noisy) Alfa Zeta 7-segment displays from FlipDots, which look digital, but use magnetic fields to change states. Check out more cool FlipDot demonstrations here and here.
Cube puzzle guru Tony Fisher decided to see how the insane 17x17x17 Yuxin Huang Long puzzle is put together, so he cracked it open to reveal the thousands of pieces which go into its assembly. Now it’s a whole new kind of puzzle to try and put it back together.
Watchfinder & Co. provides an up close look at one of the cooler wristwatches out there, the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk, which features a numeric display, but uses a mechanical movement to flip its digits. Also, we’ve been using the word “digital” wrong all this time.
We’ve seen metal miniature kits before, but never ones like these. Time 4 Machine’s big selling point is that their detailed models are mechanical. The wind-up cabrio and tank actually drive, the clock tells time (for an hour), and you can actually play the table hockey game.
This could be the most complicated clock ever built. We cannot imagine the engineering involved in getting all of its gears, pulleys, and pendulums to work together to tell time. Mark Frank and Buchanan’s masterpiece has been under construction for over a decade.
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