Tag Archives: Mechanical

Efforts continue in cataloging the mechanical tree of life

The fantastic mechanical creatures of Mitsuru Nikaido have long fascinated me. As I was emerging from the dark ages of my LEGO obsession, the robotic structures of Mitsuru’s models opened my eyes to just what was possible within the LEGO system. While each creature is a dead ringer for their biological inspirations, they also stand separately from them. Their form and selective color-blocking create eye-catching robotic designs. Mitsuru mostly sticks to a light or dark bluish grey contrasting with white and a pop of bright light orange. This simple palette gives a builder plenty of parts to play with though and Mitsuru certainly takes advantage of his options. Let’s take a moment to check out his latest models of a Water bear and a Snail.

LEGO Mecha Water Bear_01

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Taking LEGO Great Ball Contraptions to the 5th level [Video]

Great Ball Contraptions (GBCs) are one of the most fascinating and mesmerizing pieces of LEGO art out there. GBC layouts at any convention will always enjoy an onslaught of wonderstruck fans. But what those fans may not know is that many LEGO GBC modules were inspired by one person. Of course, not all of them – there’s tons of originality in the hobby. That said, a household name amongst GBC enthusiasts is Akiyuki. His incredible designs have been the inspiration for hundreds of builds. Now he’s back with an incredible new creation, his “Five Tilted Rings” module.

Click to watch the video of it in action!

This dynamic LEGO creation is a real page-turner

This creation from LEGO builder Pistash is captivating and full of wonderful, captivating energy. The picture is great, but it doesn’t do it justice. Make sure you watch the build in action in the video below. You’re immediately drawn into the colorful layers of the book as it pulls you deeper, deeper, into the story. I really love how the colors on both sides accentuate each other, and the question mark tiles are a really nice touch.

Inside the book

See the book in action…

A box that unwraps itself

Sometimes I see a LEGO Technic model that makes me scratch my head and wonder how the builder came up with the idea, let alone actually made it work. This unfolding box by YouTuber munimuni Bekkan is definitely one of those times. This clever little box is motorized so that it can unfold to lay completely flat, and then close back up. I’m not sure what you’d use this for, but I know there’s got to be something awesome. I do know that I could have used something like this last time I moved…

Check out the full video of it in action below.

The Hogwarts Entrance Hall to rule all entrance halls

Have you ever had that friend who you try to act all cool around, but who’s definitely much cooler and more talented than you? Well, I have a few, actually, but when it comes to LEGO Harry Potter, there is only one true master. Eric Law has awed and inspired many times over with his dazzling and ginormous recreations of the Wizarding World. This time, he brings us an exceptional model of the Hogwarts Entrance Hall. There is so much going on here, it’s a little shocking. Dare you to take the time to count all the frames!

“But wait, Bre! Do the stairs actually move?” You bet your Firebolt they do! Here is a short snippet GIF, but you should definitely check out the full video on Eric’s Instagram page.

Can’t get enough Harry Potter builds? We have you covered!

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!