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A great ball contraption conveyor mechanism moves balls up horizontally, vertically, or any angle in between.

Rafe Donahue has an equation for determining the number of links needed for a given conveyor belt length.


Brian Davis and SMART proposed several variations Davis.

  • chain-based: a continuous chain drive, with paddles or blades that sweep balls from the input hopper to the top. Benefits include that it could grab more than one ball at a time (depending on the conveyor width) and small footprint. A key design consideration is the input hopper geometry.
  • belt-based: a series of overlapping tank tread belts lift balls up shallow inclined path, with perhaps axles or other small thin parts keeping dumped balls from being pinched or spun between consecutive belts. It may be limited to very shallow slopes.
  • custom belt: a wide belt of frictionless-pin-linked studless beams carried and driven by various tires instead of gears. Might be heavy compared to a chain, but novel.
  • multi-bladed/propeller: a series of rotating blades project through the conveyor floor, such that the first rank of blades lift the balls up and forward, and as they rotate back down the second rank of rotating blades continues the process.
  • roofed: a smooth sloping floor of conveyor just holds balls against moving roof that pulls balls up the passive floor. Feeding may be a problem, and may be easier from the side rather than the bottom end.
    • tank-tread roof: balls roll up the floor ramp at half the speed of the belt, rolled by the moving roof above. May be limited to single tank tread length, as transitioning to a second belt is problematic.
    • custom or link-based roof: moving roof uses hanging paddles to snag balls in a pocket or cell, dragging them up the ramp.
  • The chain lift could be considered a variation.


MOC builder explanation given image available video available instructions available follows GBC standard
Ball Counter Module V1.5 LegoGBC yes no yes yes no
module de GBC 2 pg52, TeClem8 (Technic57) and Nicoboost no no YouTube no no
Module de GBB 2 pg52 no no YouTube no no
GBC Donahue Rafe Donahue, with Steve Hassenplug and Brian Alano PowerPoint (in English) yes Flickr multiple formats yes

External References

Davis - The Great Ball Contraption

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