Thursday, May 8, 2008

GBC at Fana'briques LEGO event

Yesterday I got a mail from Philo, challenging me. He wrote,

At the end of June, "Fana'briques" LEGO event will take place in Rosheim, east of France. During this event we will set up a Great Ball Contraption. There are already about 50 modules foreseen in the loop, but more would be great of course ;o) - so you or any of your readers is welcome to bring his modules (or just to watch!)

More details on Fana'briques:

And of course I immediately decided on passing you the challenge, to participate or try to be present too! ;)

As you see from the images above, it is an event organized by the French LUG (FreeLUG) and as you can find written at the event webpage, they aim to put together more than 100 GBC modules. Lets help them! ;)

So Philo gave me the right excuse to finally write here at TBs a few words about something, I was planning to do for a long time, but which I never done... Yes, GBC (Great Ball Contraption)!

I must confess some time ago, I had to go to the dictionary to find what the hell "contraption" means... "strange-looking machine or piece of equipment" as I found. It couldn't fit more perfectly! ;)
GBC is another idea developed by Steve Hassenplug and Brian Davis (I think to be correct, this statement) and to put it simple, the goal is to pass LEGO soccer balls from one module to the next. Each module can be as simple, or as complex as a builder wants. It follows the same principles illustrated by Rube Goldberg, an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor best known for his series of popular cartoons depicting Rube Goldberg machines, complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways.

Much like other AFOLs made with Moonbase and Classic Castle standards, GBC allows different people to build modules/sections that interact into a common display.

A few definitions to interface between modules and many other info, can be found here.
Also here, a few examples how the modules could interface, based on the defined rules.

Below a few video examples from GBC setups, to show what can be achieved with it.

First GBC setup from teamhassenplug on the left, and FreeLUG GBC setup during Legoworld 2005 on the right

BeLUG GBC setup at Lego World 2005

GBC setup at Brickworld 2007

If got interested and willing to try something like this, take also a look into Philo's GBC webpage, where you can see his creations. Below also somo photo examples.

Philo's individual GBC modules

The same GBC modules assembled together

Have fun!


Unknown said...

I've some GBC modules with instructions on my web (
I would like to go to Rosheim, but it isn't easy for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Koldo,

Looks cool! If you don't come (and if I find time...) I'll try to build some of them and bring them to Rosheim. With full credit of course!

Unknown said...

It's good Philo, I'll send you MLCAD files.

Brian Davis said...

If you've never seen or participated in a GBC, it's quite a bit of fun... even if some of the terms don't translate easily :). The nice thing is that single individuals can start, and more can contribute as they can.

As far as who started it, Steve & I did a lot, but credit should really go to a large group of people in central Indiana, mainly the Lafayette LEGO Robotics Club, or LafLRC. These were the people that helped hammer out the standard, and test it, as well as provided a huge amount of creative input (& no small amount of ABS!).

I ended up being so taken by the idea, I've build a "computer" based on the idea... now I've just got to make it standard-compliant to fit in a GBC :)

TechnicBRICKs said...

Amazing your "DigiComp"!!
Have seen it some months ago, and for sure will have its place here at TBs one of these weeks. ;)

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