Robot Inspiration Series #7: NXT Balls in Motion

A really cool LEGO project concept is the Great Ball Contraption (video, recent blogs, Google), where you design a series of modules (general examples, NXT examples) to move small LEGO sports balls around.

Talking some inspiration from this, here is a variation that you might try for a fun challenge with your NXT set and any other LEGO parts you have to add to it: Move the larger NXT balls around, and for an extra challenge, make the motion continuous so that the balls each travel in a continuous path in, around, and/or through and back to the start of your machine without any human help. Never mind about modules and standards for multiple builders for now, just see how interesting of a way you can come up with to keep the NXT balls in continuous motion.

Here is an example NXT Ball Roller Coaster with building instructions for a single NXT retail kit that does this:

Obviously the more additional parts you have the more interesting it could get. I would love to see somebody do something cool with flexible pieces if you have some of them, for example. The possibilities are endless, really. And you don't need to be limited to a track type idea either, think of other ways to keep balls in motion. For example, this Mystery Machine keeps one NXT ball in motion in kind of a silly way, and there are lots of possibilities involving throwing/dropping/etc., as long as you can catch the balls and keep them going continuously. If you know of a link to somethink cool that does this or build something of your own, feel free to comment with a link!


Alberto said…
This is mine:
Anonymous said…
Where was this stuff when I was growing up? ;)

Anyway, I have a son of my own now, so when he gets a bit older it will be interesting to see what's available at that time... and then I'll have an excuse to get some.
Unknown said…
do you have videos somewhere of your mystery machine or the roller coaster?
Tis is a pretty good idea and the according robot page would highly benefit from a video that shows the machine in motion.
Dave Parker said…
I haven't taken any videos yet, but I will probably need to start doing that at some point soon. One thing that has kept me from doing it is a feeling that it takes some of the fun out of building it if you have already seen a video of the finished project beforehand... Ideally I would have videos only for people that don't intend to build it themselves, but there's no way to know that!
Unknown said…

I see your point.
However, at least for me it's vice versa: I'm hesitant to build something if I don't know if it's worthwhile (spare time is a valubale resource). In particular for robots that have a high "mobile" background, a good video usually is rather a stimulation to me in that regard.

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