Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Harshbarger's Lego Globes

Name of Model: Globe and Globe, Redesigned
Created by: Eric Harshbarger
Found at: and
In 1999, the legendary Eric Harshbarger built a Lego globe for his own enjoyment. Although Eric is no longer taking commisions, he is a famous Lego builder due to his career as a Lego sculptor. Eric's fame came from his Lego sculptures, Lego computer programs, and mathematical Lego puzzles.

It's difficult to make an accurate globe because of the details of the landmasses, but that's not actually the main attraction to a model like this. Spheres and rounded surfaces can be very difficult to make out of Lego, because standard Lego bricks are fairly rectangular. If you put some time into it, you can develop some basic Lego "sculpting" skills and create round models freehand the way hobbyists and professional builders like Eric Harshbarger can, but this can be quite time-consuming. A number of websites are out there that can help you find or create building instructions to do this more easily.

One building method that makes creating spheres easier is the Lowell Sphere method. There is even a program online that will create Lego CAD building instructions with this method for you. Eric Harshbarger has built a new globe with this method as well.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lego Vending Machine

Name of Model: Vending Machine II
Created by: Ricardo T.
Found at:

Today's fascinating model of the day is a Lego Vending Machine built by Portuguese Lego enthusiast Ricardo T. It features a number of amazing building feats - for example, the lettering on the top made of really small pieces in the somewhat difficult to find light blue color. As someone who has attempted a similar project, I am also impressed by the sturdiness of the machine and the ability of the motors - in order for a project like this to work, the structure of the machine needs to be braced with other Lego parts to handle the weight of soda cans and motors needs to be geared in ways that will enable them to handle the load of the products. Specialized programming and careful arrangement of motors and sensors was required, as it is with most any Lego robot.

Sadly, some cheating was neccessary - non-Lego springs and glass was used. In this case, I'll make an exception to my usual rules about sticking with Lego elements.

A number of pictures of this stunning creation are available at it's directory on BrickShelf. If you poke around a bit there, you can see some details of the machine's inner workings.

Test post

This is just a little test post. This blog is currently in an "open beta" of sorts. Expect some real introductory posts and a layout to emerge within the next month. Regular posts will probably begin in the very near future.