Great Ball Contraption (GBC)

Another website with LEGO GBC information and links.

Getting Started

You’ll need power function motors and a power supply. The can be purchased from https://shop.lego.com. I’d recommend starting by copying someone else’s design; several modules are listed below.

And you’ll need LEGO soccer balls, which are about $1 a piece. As an alternative, 9/16” Delrin plastic ball bearings work well and only cost $0.11 each (if you get 100).

To vary the speed of your modules (which helps with synchronization), you will need a Motor Speed Regulator. Use LEGO 9V train controllers can be purchased or you can make your own. You can also use the LEGO IR receiver 8884 and IR Speed Controller 8879.

I would also recommend creating these Tools.

Modules Instructions

Below are links to reliable module instructions. Many of these are workshop modules from various LEGO conventions. For a list of parts, download the instructions and view the last page.

Brickworld 2019 module

Brickworld 2019 module

This single-lane sawtooth lift picks up balls one at a time and dumps them. The lift mechanism also drives the agitator in the input bin. Designed by John Brost.
📓 Instructions (18MB pdf)
🎥 Video by Great Ball Pit (youtube)

Brickworld 2018 module

Brickworld 2018 module

A simple and reliable ball pump. Its height can be extended to over two feet tall. Note that you have to fill the tower will balls before the first one will come out. Designed by Brian Alano.
📓 Instructions (3MB pdf)
🎥 Video by Great Ball Pit (youtube)

Brickworld 2017 module

Brickworld 2017 module

This ramp module is very reliable and its motor can be driven in either direction. Designed by Bryan Bonahoom.
📓 Instructions (3MB pdf)
🎥 Beyond the Brick Video from BrickFair Virginia (youtube)

10x10 Mini Module

10x10 Mini Module

This is a very simple module and works well to fill gaps in a layout. Designed by Maico Arts, who has many other nice module instructions on his page.
📓 Instructions (17MB pdf)

12x12 Wheel Lift

12x12 Wheel Lift

Another easy to run, reliable module. Created by Brian Alano.
📓 Instructions (3MB pdf)
🎥 Video (youtube)

Brickfair 2018 module

Brickfair 2018 module

A simple stepper module with three stairs reliably brings balls up and out one at a time. Its motor can be switched out easily from the bottom. Designed by Stuart Roll.
📓 Instructions (32MB pdf)
🎥 Video by Beyond the Brick (youtube)

Brickworld 2015 module

Brickworld 2015 module

This module is stackable onto a 2x2 grid and may be stacked many modules high. It uses a simple wheel mechanic to lift and agitate balls. Designed by Bryan Bonahoom.
📓 Instructions (4MB pdf)
🎥 Video by Chris Wilmott (youtube)

Brickworld 2014 module

Brickworld 2014 module

Conveyor ramp modules, such as this, are easy to create and reliably get balls from left to right. These work best when the top gear drives. Designed by Rafe Donahue.
📓 Instructions (2MB pdf)
🎥 Video by Beyond the Brick (youtube)

Resources

The following pages are great GBC resources

Tools

I would recommend having these tools available when designing modules, but especially when running them at a show:

  • 10x10x10 ball catching box: useful as a replacement for when you need to remove a module from the pipeline. When designing modules, it is a handy guide for measuring the input box requirement.
  • Poker sick (with grabbing end): for when balls get suck in place your fingers cannot reach: https://youtu.be/MLTEb4wO8wc?t=2593 by Rasika Amarasiri of MUGs

TODO: get nice images for each of these, and links to instructions

Mechanisms

Inspiration

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