Tag Archives: Mechanical

From animation to automata [Video]

In 1878, Eadweard Muybridge studied animal locomotion and took a series of pictures of a trotting horse to see every phase in a stride. How? He placed 24 cameras around a racetrack, each 27 inches apart. As the horse trotted past, a tripwire each shutter was snapped. Combined, those pictures became a precursor to motion pictures, and technically, the first GIF. In honor of this, Tobias Munzert has built a mechanical LEGO version that gallops in stride with the original animation.

LEGO - A horse galloping

The mechanics are timed really well to get that genuine look of a horse in motion. If you look closely, you can see that even the head pushes forward slightly. You should also take a closer look at the excellent parts usage on the neck, head, and feet!

While you’re here, check out some more cool horse builds, and other mechanical models.

Champion of the velodrome

Fixed gears, no brakes, and eye-watering speeds – what more could an adrenaline junkie want? If you’ve never watched the sport of track cycling, I’d highly recommend visiting a velodrome (or at least watching it on TV during the Olympics this summer). It’s not just biking in circles. These insane athletes zip around the bowl-shaped track, vying for position like gravity-defying daredevils. Being aerodynamic is key, as demonstrated by this LEGO kinetic sculpture, built by George Panteleon.

Track Cycling (Motorized)

Though the mechanism is simple, it’s so satisfying to see the rider’s legs “pedal” the bike. My favorite elements of this build (other than the fact that it actually moves) are the paint-roller handlebars and the shoulder armor turned helmet!

We’ve also featured several of George’s vehicles, a giant watch, and some outstanding character sculptures!

The cutest rickshaw you ever saw

Or as RJ BrickBuilds likes to call it: a Brickshaw! This has to be one of the most adorable automata RC builds I’ve ever seen. It’s powered by a large LEGO Power Functions motor, IR receiver, and battery box. I love how the elements are hidden in plain sight, as the seat and the little guy’s torso.

I’m not sure what it is about a cartooney character with giant eyes, but you can’t help but smile when you see one. And that’s not the only thing that makes it cute – the waddle-run gives it extra character. He’s working so hard, he deserves a tip! The colorful cart itself is also instantly recognizable, with the Technic panels covering the battery doubling perfectly as a seat blanket.

Click the GIF to see the full Youtube video. And while you’re here, take a look at some of the other excellent kinetic builds we’ve featured.

A Christmas icon goes kinetic [Video]

When you think of Christmas songs, chances are one of the top ten that comes to mind is “Little Drummer Boy”. While not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas, I’m sure many of you can appreciate the most recent LEGO kinetic sculpture built by Jason Allemann of the JK Brickworks duo. Before the thing even gets moving, it’s clear that the ox and sheep are adorable.

Little Drummer Boy

Once the crank starts turning the magic starts. The little trio are mesmerizing to watch. Builds with timing can seem so complicated on the surface, but as Jason often shows, the inner-workings aren’t all that complicated. Still, it’s hard not to be jealous of how easy he makes it look.

As always, the instructions for this build can be found for free on the JK Brickworks website. This also isn’t the first kinetic holiday model! We’ve featured a flying Santa’s sleigh, Santa’s elves working on toys, and even a robotic cookie decorator.

The answers you seek lie within the bricks [Video]

Like Zoltar, ask this guy a question or make a wish, and you’ll actually receive answers. Well, maybe not the best answers, but how many fortunes lay it out straight? You won’t be able to fault Teun de Wijs once you watch the video of this extraordinary LEGO build. This mechanical fortune teller doesn’t just move his arms and bend over the crystal ball. Oh, no, my friends, this guy is the real deal. Inside his box is an ingenious mechanical randomizer. You heard that right, folks. An internal block with four answers will spin and be stopped at random, like a coin flip. It’s up to the powers of the universe to provide an answer to your question. Like a Magic 8 Ball, they may not be the most helpful answers, but beggars can be choosers. Don’t question the man with the epic batarang mustache, he’s just the messenger. And careful what you wish for, because we all know how that turned out in the Tom Hanks movie, Big.

Scratching your head trying to figure out what I’m talking about? Click below to watch the video of the automaton in action!

See the video of how it works!

Epic triple-decker pinball wizardry [Video]

We recently featured a pinball machine with a modular play field. I’m not sure why there is a sudden uptick in pinball builds, but I am totally on board! Bring them on, pin-wizards! I have to say, you may have a tough time competing with this one, created by Nachapon Lego. I’ve seen a few multi-tiered LEGO machines, but this is probably executed the best. The physics behind pinball can be complicated. The size of the field coupled with the size and weight of the ball, plus the angles of the obstacles, all make for a tricky design process. Then you bring LEGO into the mix and the constraints take on another level of difficulty.

*INSANE* LEGO Pinball Machine!! Please vote at Lego ideas website.

The Star Wars theme will be popular for many of you, but if that’s not your thing, the builder made a sister-table. The obstacles are the same, but this one has a creative and colorful adventure motif as a tribute to the vast possibilities of LEGO. The game-play video below will have you wishing you could have a go at it yourself! I particularly like the ball-saving that can be done by kicking it back to the main level once it drains.

If you haven’t already, definitely take a peak at some of our other featured pinball articles! You’ll find my own Classic Space pinball machine, along with a few others that will get you excited about making one too!

Modular pinball for all [Video]

Some of you may already know I’m a little obsessed with pinball. I just can’t help being enthralled with the awesome engineering that lies within a pinball machine. It’s like an obstacle course for your mind, but tangible. And nothing makes me more giddy than one made from LEGO. This little machine, built by Dawid Marasek, may look simple, but it has a great asset: it’s modular.

Pinball Machine 2.0

Click to watch the video of how it works!

Doggone adorable prairie dogs [Video]

These little LEGO fellers are cute as all heck! In true JK Brickworks fashion, builder duo Jason Allemann and Kristal give us not one, or two, but four critters with entirely different movements. It’s a bit maddening that they make it look so gosh darn easy. These simple mechanisms come together in a fun and unique display of kinetic magic.

Prairie Dogs

Of course, standing still in the picture above doesn’t do them justice. But as soon as you see them move, you’ll be captivated. Click the link below to watch the full video!

Click to see how it works!

A giant, lumbering herbivore [Video]

As soon as I saw this picture, I knew the build had to be from Dan Schlumpp. There are loads of dino nerds out there, and plenty LEGO dino nerds, but few have tackled movement so well. Dan has created several iterations of these prehistoric animatronic creatures. Each time he continues to perfect his skill. It’s not just the movement, it’s also the complexity of the specific dinosaur he’s trying to emulate. Wrapping organic-looking armored plating around a finite mechanical frame isn’t easy. But I’d have to say this heavy-footed Triceratops is my favorite thus far. That head is excellent!

Remote controlled walking Lego Triceratops

Of course, you have to watch it walk to appreciate the build fully. The gaps in the body are necessary for the ability to create realistic movement. That movement is what makes the gaps forgivable, though, because that hip and tail swing is awesome! They really bring this creature to life.

We’ve had the pleasure of covering Dan’s previous iterations, including one of his initial dino skeletons, as well as more recent Stegosaurus.

 

Sew cute and functional!

Alright, alright! I know it’s a pun only a dad could love, but I can’t help myself. This adorable little LEGO sewing machine, built by Vaionaut, is both clever and crafty. I’m a fan of the dress slopes used to make the body look sleek. I also like the Fencer’s foil used as the needle.

Sewing machine

Of course, what would an old-fashioned sewing machine be without its mechanics? I’m a sucker for moving parts. The function is pretty simple, but it sure does make it look cool!

If you think this little guy looks familiar, maybe that’s because another builder came up with a sewing machine very similar a while back. It also moves! And in fact, that builder, Pixeljunkie, has updated his machine with some shiny new bling.

Click to see the updated Singer Sewing Machine

A marvelous music machine [Video]

This music box, built by Peter Carmichael, is currently one of my favorite LEGO creations. Its smooth edges, customizable cylinder, and colorful “comb” are all gravitating. As my very tactile partner would say, it’s one of those things you want to “see with your hands.”

Lego Music Box

Click to see a video of the mechanism!

Double jumps and pipe dreams

If you think about it, the Super Mario universe is one of the only places where you want to go down the tubes. I mean, other than a water slide, where else can you find something fun at the end of a “plumbing” pipe? Perhaps this extra large (64×64 stud) pixleated pipe, built by H.Y. Leung, contains all the extra coins Mario could dream of.

It's Lego Mario time!

And don’t worry, he’s not going to be stuck in mid-air forever. This pipe contains an equally large mechanism inside to move him up and down.

If you’d like to see more of H.Y. Leung’s builds, be sure to check out our previous articles highlighting them.