The Great Ball Contraption Wiki
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Module

From The Great Ball Contraption Wiki


A great ball contraption module is a machine, usually built from LEGO, that moves LEGO balls around. If multiple modules are built to conform to the standard they can be connected together so that the output of one module feeds the input of the next. With enough modules, a closed loop can be constructed so that the balls will cycle around indefinitely.

Functions[edit]

The functions of a module can be divided sequentially into loading, lifting, doing something interesting (with a widget), and unloading. Another key function is driving the module, or producing the motions required to load, lift, run the widget, and unload. Many modules will blend some of these functions together in the same mechanism.

Loading[edit]

Loading means receiving balls from the previous module and feeding them into the current module's lifting mechanism. Standard modules will receive balls through an 8 x 8-stud opening that is 10 bricks above the module base. This section will address means of getting balls received this way into a flow that works for different lifter requirements.

Lifting[edit]

Lifting mechanisms are detailed in the lift mechanism category.

Doing Something Interesting[edit]

Widgets are mechanisms that exist solely for interest. They should be detailed in the widget category.

Unloading[edit]

Unloading is receiving balls from the widget (or the lift mechanism if there is no separate widget) and providing them to the next module's in basket. In general, this is the easiest function. But there are cases, such as with shooters, where this is problematic.

Driving[edit]

Driving is supplying kinetic energy to the mechanisms. That is, it is making your module move. Variations:

  • Direct drive: an electric motor is directly connected to the lift mechanism. This is by far the most common method.
  • Shared drive: an electric motor drives a mechanical linkage, and individual modules connect to the linkage.
  • Water-wheel drive: a falling or descending stream of balls turns a paddle wheel, which in turn runs a lift mechanism.
  • Pneumatics: an air compressor (usually driven by an electric motor) provides energy into a system of pistons and switches.

Module Types[edit]

Modules can be divided up into two main categories, continuous and batch-based.

Continuous[edit]

Continuous GBCs move the balls in a conveyor-belt system, constantly. They are the easiest to build and the most common module type. A few examples of these are:

  • EXAMPLE 1 (Link to Example 1 in Module List Page)
  • EXAMPLE 2 (Link to Example 2 in Module List Page)
  • EXAMPLE 3 (Link to Example 3 in Module List Page)

For more examples, check out the full list of GBC modules here! (link)

Batch-Based[edit]

Batch-Based (also known as Bucket-Based) GBC modules are much more complex and are rarer than continuous modules. They work by moving large volumes of balls at once, usually in a bucket. There are many styles for these, and here are a few of them:

  • EXAMPLE 1 (Link to Example 1 in Module List Page)
  • EXAMPLE 2 (Link to Example 2 in Module List Page)
  • EXAMPLE 3 (Link to Example 3 in Module List Page)

For more examples, check out the full list of GBC modules here! (link)