Tag Archives: GBC

Undulating wave of LEGO colors is completely mezmerizing [Video]

Berthil van Beek loves making some of the coolest LEGO machines around. Just a few week ago we highlighted his awesome LEGO ball maze that accelerates balls to 1,000 rpm, and he’s already back having spent more than 100 hours designing another breathtaking creation. This time, it’s an undulating wave of LEGO colors featuring 38 distinct swatches from LEGO’s palette (a palette that’s changing over the years).

Rainbow Wave GBC

Like Berthil’s ball maze, this mechanism is designed to fit with the Great Ball Contraption standard, fitting end-to-end with other fans’ creations for continual movement of LEGO’s tiny soccer balls and basketballs. Berthill tells us he was inspired to create the rainbow wave machine after seeing the vibrant rainbow of colors in the official image of LEGO’s Creator XXXL Box, which he also used a source for many of the colored bricks.

The Rainbow Wave Great Ball Contraption uses about 1,150 pieces and is powered by a single motor, with each of the colored pistons sitting on an 8-tooth gear. Each piston’s gear is exactly 1 tooth offset from its neighbors, and this means the balls travel in a perfectly level line as they move across the waving surface. Berthil says this mechanism took a lot of testing and redesigning to perfect, in particular because digital prototyping with LEGO rendering programs isn’t feasible for complicated moving machinery.

Rainbow Wave GBC

Incredible Great Ball Contraption accelerates tiny LEGO balls at 1000 rpm [Video]

If you’ve never heard of a Great Ball Contraption (or GBC for short), you’ve probably never been to a LEGO convention. The term describes a popular theme of complicated LEGO machines built by fans, which can interconnect to continually pass LEGO soccer balls and basketballs around in a mesmerizing fashion, and they’re a mainstay of LEGO fan conventions. This particular GBC is built by Berthil van Beek, who was inspired after seeing another fan’s marble run. Berthil’s machine shoots the tiny balls up to the top of the run, where they hurtle down and are recycled.

Akiyuki Marble Run with ball shooters


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This strain wave gearing makes a spectacularly cool Great Ball Contraption [Video]

Japanese builder akiyuki applies the concept of strain wave gearing to Great Ball Contraptions, a popular LEGO fan convention theme in which hundreds of balls are passed through complex machinery. From both an engineering and a visual standpoint, the module is mesmerizing to watch. See the module in action in the following 2 minute video.

A fascinating read detailing the design process and engineering challenges faced by the builder can be found on akiyuki’s blog.