Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week TechVideo, 2013 #25 - Mechanical computer modules for a large GBC ball counter module

This week Brian Davis published a video from his GBC module, "Gates" of its name, which was displayed at Brickworld Chicago 2013. This is a mechanical logic GBC module with about 28 ball-activated mechanisms, 212 distinct ball paths, which mechanically counts up to 169.999 balls.
It was part of a much larger GBC chain (with 50+ modules), but it was the largest single module by far. It won the 'Best Mechanical' award at Brickworld Chicago this year, and it took 1,5 years develop and some more to plan the mechanisms. The only motors are used to lift the balls - all the ball sorting, re-routing, and counting is done purely mechanically by ball-activated mechanisms.

But these are not the videos that I'd like to show you here today...
Brian also published one video where he shows some of the prototypes of mechanisms used in the GBC module 'Gates'. These mechanisms alone, should have taken about 90% of the whole module development time before achieving the high-reliability required to put all them together and testing the whole mechanical computer module.

The video shows modules for a Cascaded Flip-flop (divide by 4 mechanism), Dumper (divide by 5 mechanism), Decade counter (divide by 10 mechanism), Hold Five (waits for 5 balls), Avalanche Gate (flexible alternative flip-flop), Divide by Three Mechanism (tightly cascaded Y-gates), Latching Gates (Set/Reset dual-layer gate) and these are only a few of those used in the "Gates" GBC module.
Better see the video to understand how all these work!

It is not the first time that Brian builds a "marble logic" computer, and as you can see by the date of this post, he might have been thinking on how to fit it into a GBC scenario, for many years now (at least 5 since the mentioned post).


Please avoid sending requests to post specific models on this TBs section.

We understand some of you would enjoy to see your creations featured here, but please understand that because only one video gets highlighted per week, it is impossible to accommodate all the great MOCs continuously build by the Technic builders out there. They simply won't fit all and that's also not the purpose of this blog (see the header statement).

Many of your MOCs are scanned anyway and listed for later publication when they do not fit immediately. However some remain in the backlog queue just for too long and eventually loose the relevance or the publication opportunity window. As a rule of thumb, we also avoid publishing MOCs that have been featured by their authors or other fans at some other great web places dedicated to the Technic community out there. It doesn't mean that occasionally some won't get published here anyway.

Thanks for your understanding!


santi said...

As always, I love all of these "physical computation devices". Amazing work!

Brian Davis said...

Thank you :). In some ways these are "vignettes" for me - the important thing is the small modules, components, and elements of something like this, because without those being Just Right... the machine as a whole fails miserably.

Unknown said...

Hi Brian Davis, wondering how you made the Hold Five (waits for 5 balls)? I'd would like to use it in a machine I am working on.

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