Tag Archives: Tensegrity

Double the tensegrity, triple the trouble

Over the past few months, LEGO tensegrity sculptures have been all the rage, with their gravity-defying stacking attracting builders of all stripes to try their hands. While most tensegrity structures consist of a single floating element, a few builders have managed to add another floating section to that, which makes the delicate balancing exponentially more difficult. David Roberts makes it look easy, though, with this tower of rings.

The Three RingsTensegrity sculptures stay aloft thanks to being held in tension with three tethers (chains in this case), but David’s model also adds tension to the rings themselves, which simply comprise Technic tread links joined inside out to make a tensioned circle. It all comes together to create a beautifully simple sculpture.

Now, who wants to try their hand at creating a tensegrity sculpture with three floating levels on top of the base? Any takers?

Want to see more tensegrity sculptures? Check out our LEGO Tensegrity archives for examples from tanks to dragons.

Something to ponder

I’m old enough to remember when things were simpler, and LEGO Tensegrity builds were all the rage. This sculpture from Bendrig evokes the calm and peaceful state of a nearly forgotten age. Arch bricks and curved slopes create an organic trunk, and there’s just the right amount of foliage. I also like the simplicity of the two-tone base where a layer of loose 1×1 round plate makes for a nice zen-garden feel.

Tensegrity Bonsai

It’s nice just to take a break and ponder the natural levitation of this sculpture. Maybe one day more things will be in balance like this.

Rarin’ to go

Despite the great variety of LEGO tensegrity builds lately, almost all of them seem to have a few traits in common. In particular, most builders have “explained” the chains and string that connect the base to the hovering elements in similar ways. Either the connection is designed to look like it’s pulling the top section straight down, or it’s minimized to try and enhance the sense of gravity-defiance. What I like about this build by lokiloki29 is that the design of the connections implies obvious motion away from the center of the build. The 10-SGTY Racer feels like it’s trying to escape, and is being barely held in place by the tie downs. The result is a very dynamic build.

10-SGTY Racer (tensegrity)

It certainly doesn’t hurt that the racer stands alone as a quality spacecraft build. Technic panels and curved slopes in medium azure give a sleek bit of contrast to the bright-light-orange of the quarter-arch bricks. I also like the ring of 1×2 tiles that match that arch. There’s some clever building with lightsaber hilts going on there.

10-SGTY Racer (tensegrity)

I think it’s also a nice touch that the pilot has a big grin on their face. After all, I imagine flying a racer like this would be quite the joy.

Tanksegrity

The LEGO community has been on a big Tensegrity kick lately, and I for one couldn’t be happier. While the art-lover in me is fond of the abstract sculptural versions, there’s just something cool when builders combine the mind-bending physics with their own choice of theme. Carrier Lost has chosen to take things into the realm of science fiction with this Tensegrity Tank. The sleek design and neon highlights makes this feel like it was lifted directly from some TRON:Legacy concept art. Is it a stretch to label this as a new take on a “hovertank” as well?

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The art and science of LEGO tensegrity builds

The recent trend in the LEGO-sphere community has all been about magical floating compression structures, better known as a tensegrity – a portmanteau of “tensional integrity”. The fad started with a very rudimentary build on a Reddit and soon spawned many more creative iterations. We pick a few of the more outstanding ones that we’ve seen that has impressed us. A couple of them come with build videos and instruction guides for you to build your very own.

Click to see some of the best we’ve spotted around

Don’t leave me hanging

One of the hottest LEGO fads right now is tensegrity sculptures. These builds use tricky physics to create models with sections suspended in mid-air with no obvious means of support. I’ve seen a lot of different approaches, but captainsmog has come up with one of the best. Invocation features a giant flying dragon, suspended in the air by taut lengths of LEGO chain. There’s no Photoshop trickery here. It’s just science. But I’m willing to admit there’s just a bit of magic, too.

Invocation

Even if there wasn’t mind-bending suspension going on, this would be a great build to look at. The dragon’s belly is constructed of minifigure arms, creating an eerie organic feel to that armor. And the invocation platform is pretty swanky, too. I like the use of minifigure beards to create different versions of drippy candle wax, and the use of glow-in-the-dark tile for lines of mystic power is inspired. There are even tiny little touches, like the candle flames all blowing outward from the downdraft from the dragon’s wings. I love that attention to detail.