Meerkats are pretty incredible little creatures. They live in tight-knit family groups and are known for fearlessly defending each other from predators. When they are old enough, every family member takes a turn at keeping watch. This wonderful sculpture by Andreas Weißenburg is a lovely tribute to those exceptional lookouts.
What’s even more impressive is that these sentinels actually move their heads from side to side, scanning the horizon. The inner mechanisms are simple, but clever and efficient. It involves two continuous belts catching and turning gears at different times. The resulting movement really brings them to life!
We’ve been following the ongoing evolution of a series of mechanical LEGO dinosaurs built by Dan Schlumpp. Each iteration has become more and more streamlined, and the latest addition to his Mesozoic menagerie is no exception. The body-shaping is excellent, as well as the color choices.
This stegosaurus not only looks great, but lumbers around beautifully! It’s amazing to get such an organic body while still trying to create and hide all the right mechanical components.
If you’re curious about the previous iterations, check out our feature on one of Dan’s previous dinos.
Now that we’re closing in on December, it’s time to release the Christmas builds! I’ve been anxiously anticipating another seasonal kinetic sculpture by Jason Allemann, and he hasn’t disappointed.
These elves at their workbench are cute enough alone, but of course, there’s more! Jason’s latest creation uses a nifty mechanism to give it an assembly line feel.
Watch a video of this kenetic sculpture in action
Ever wondered how some of the classic magic tricks are done? Teun de Wijs might have some answers for you! This LEGO version of the “floating woman” illusion is a little technical marvel, and when seen from multiple angles, gives an idea of how such a trick might be done.
See this magician in action!
It wasn’t very long ago that we featured an interview with superb Japanese builder Takamichi Irie. We’ve also covered a number of his builds on this site. So if you’re having deja vu about seeing this lovely animal before, you’re not crazy! The sleek scorpion is back as one of Takamichi’s signature automata. Using only brick-built cogs and simple mechanics, he’s breathing new life into this automaton and other eye-catching builds.
Click to see this scorpion automata in action!
Building dinosaurs is undeniably awesome. Even more awesome is taking it a step further and making them move. This eye-catching Allosaurus is the work of Cornbuilder, who we featured back in March with his incredible giant black dragon. (At the time, his username was mrxsto99) His latest carnivore creation isn’t a major departure, although instead of lighting effects, this time the creature walks!
The movement of the lumbering giant is actually made possible through a reverse engineering and tweaking of Jason Allemann’s iconic Sisyphus kinetic sculpture. The mechanism runs off a single LEGO Power Functions M-motor and battery pack.
Back in May we covered some other dinosaurs that could not only walk, but also swing their tale and bend their necks to eat. Read more about the evolution of those creations here.
Last month LEGO revealed Forma, an experimental kinetic sculpture set designed to target the adult market. The product was launched via crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo but is currently only available to buyers in the U.S. and U.K. The product was of interest to Jason Allemann since he enjoys building LEGO kinetic sculptures. Because Jason lives in Canada and is unable to order the Forma set, he decided to reverse-engineer the design well-before its official release!
Jason’s shark is more than a direct copy, as it contains his own personal touch. Since the Forma skins are not currently available, Jason created a stunning brick-built skin. The brick-built shark body doesn’t interfere with the model’s functionality and will likely appeal to LEGO fans who were not impressed by Forma’s plastic skins. Jason modified the mechanism to achieve a more realistic swimming motion, and the lower level consists of a small school of fish swimming beneath the shark. Finishing off the entire model is an attractive coral reef base, which offers a nice splash of color.
There are certain building styles you can spot miles away; maybe even… Cross Country? With every creation it becomes more and more clear that Jason and Krystal of JK Brickworks are the king and queen of kinetic sculptures. Jason’s latest model, this Canadian Cross Country Skier, uses slightly similar techniques to past builds, like Sisyphus, but is still unique. This time we have a really interesting crank-shaft mechanism providing natural movement.
As always, this build is mesmerizing, polished, and genius. Personally, I’m quite jealous of Jason’s ability to see just how to make things move so smoothly. Anyone who has tried to build similar sculptures knows it’s not that easy. And even though I’m sure there were a few iterations, this outcome is a sure medal winner. Check out the video to see just how it’s done!
Vintage sewing machines might not be the same as antique cars, but nevertheless, there exists a community of people who enjoy stitching with old equipment. This small brick-built antique sewing machine by Pixeljunkie might just leave them in stitches. In addition to being wonderfully detailed, a turn of the crank handle reveals this piece of equipment is functional. Sew what if it doesn’t actually sew? The foot pedal moves back and forth while the needle bobs up and down, just like the real deal!
Click to see a video of the sewing machine in action
Builder Jason Allemann, (aka JK Brickworks) has made a name for himself building kinetic LEGO sculptures, from Sisyphus eternally pushing a boulder to a ball maze that was turned into a real LEGO set, or even a tense Death Star trench run. But now he’s turned his hand to the new 21314 Tron: Legacy set to give it a bit of dynamism, making the lightcycles bob and weave as they cut their way across the grid.
What we love about Jason, though, is that he’s never content to simply show off something cool and leave us wondering how he did it. Instead, with every build he walks us through the steps of how his mechanisms work. Check out the video below.
Click to see the video and discover how they’re built
Building a Technic mechanism to make a LEGO model actually move can be daunting for those who mainly build static models, but perhaps this excellent Star Wars kinetic sculpture by Josh DaVid will inspire you (and me) to give it a try.
The model features a circling snowspeeder, and moving legs on the AT-AT, which can be powered by hand or with a Power Functions motor. The builder has done an excellent job compacting and simplifying a seemingly complex mechanism into such a small space. Check out the video below to see the model in action!
Kinetic art is fascinating to me for both the seemingly impossible nature of its function as well its ability to evaporate a similarly impossible amount of time from the lives of those who are awestruck watching it. This video of a LEGO kinetic sculpture by aeh5040 is sure to entrance anyone who dares press play.
If you’d like to make your own copy of this piece of LEGO kinetic art, you’re in luck. Check out instructions and related materials for this build over on Rebrickable.