I was messing around with slopes, trying to make a jigsaw-puzzle.
I discovered a problem: the 45 degree slopes don’t exactly match. If I try to align a slope and an inverted slope, the bricks aren’t all aligned. The top image shows the bricks aligned: there is a growing gap between the slopes rising from left to right. The bottom image shows the slopes aligned, exaggerating the effect in the bricks.
When applying this to my jigsaw puzzle, the effect looks untidy:
There is a simple solution – turn one of the pieces upside down. Then the slopes and the bricks line up very nicely.
The result is reasonably satisfactory. Unfortunately the gap where the studs are (at the top here) is less than a plate tall, so I can’t easily fill it with a normal piece. The gap at the bottom is even thinner. But everything is nice and square.
EDIT – immediately after posting this article, a friend suggested I read about a new 1×2 slope piece that LEGO produce. There are two of these: the older new one has exactly the same slope angle (and problem) as the traditional 1×2 slope, but the newer new one has a different angle, and solves the alignment problem without having to turn one part of the jigsaw upside down.
The only use of a computer to plan this sculpture was to determine the size of the circles for the cross section of the spirals, and to work out the placement of each on top of the next. For this purpose, I used a “Minecraft circle generator” to work out the pixels. The rest of the design was done without a computer, and without a drawing.
When I first started making sculptures, I thought I would just need loads and loads of 2×4 bricks. It turns out that this sculpture uses 1×4, 1×6 and 2×4 in exactly equal proportions for the spirals.
My wife tells me that I have too much Lego. I can now prove that I don’t, because I’ve run out of 2×4 bricks in yellow.
The biggest problem with making a Lego version of the Star Wars BB8 droid is the round shell: there is no spherical LEGO part that is large enough to contain a motor, a battery box and the infra-red receiver. Purists, please look away now, for I have committed a sin: the shell is not a LEGO piece, but is a two-plastic sphere. basically, a giant Christmas bauble.
Here is my second attempt at BB8. The weight distribution is too high, and the mechanism flips over quite a bit. So back to the drawing board…
… and here is version 3: the wheels are further apart, and the centre of gravity is lower. I also added four “boat weights” to improve stability.
in the meantime, a fellow Brit is also working on a Lego BB8. His version has a ball made of Lego Technic parts. See https://ideas.lego.com/projects/126131/updates and http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?m=mbellis
It is possible to use a genuine LEGO sphere – as seen in this video – but there isn’t enough space inside for the Lego power functions components.
Someone else has worked out how to do the head with magnets – http://lego.gizmodo.com/someone-figured-out-how-to-build-a-tiny-rolling-bb-8-us-1761492071. That was my plan for the head too, but I can no longer prove it, and I haven’t got that far. However, their version only rolls forwards.