Sunday, December 8, 2013

Great Ball Contraption

When a group of guys published the specification for the Great Ball Contraption (GBC) in the spring of 2005, it was being done for a little bit of fun.  When we took the GBC on the road to a fan event for the first time in August 2005, we had no idea that there would be an overwhelming fan and public response to the giant Rube Goldberg-like creation.  And, ever since that time, the popularity of the GBC has exploded worldwide.  While the original 5 or 6 of us that pushed and operated the GBC kind of faded into the background, we still kept watching and enjoying.

Well, now we are pushing a resurgence of the GBC.  Several of us have created a few new modules and we want to continue to bring life to our LEGO creations.

You might be asking yourself, what is useful in this post.

There is a point.  The point is that things that move and make noise are more fun for the average person to watch.  While some of us are more astute LEGO artists that look for nuances and look at building techniques, the average person want something to jump out at them.  And, the GBC does exactly that.

I am not encouraging everyone to make a GBC module.

But, I am encouraging you to consider the additional of movement and noise...and even a little interactiveness to your displays.  Some people might not have a great appreciation for it, but Tim Allwein's Studsville is a perfect example.  Watch the reception it gets from people and you will understand more of how to make your creation more popular to viewers.

Of course, this is selfish encouragement.  Because the better your displays are, the more that people enjoy Brickworld.  See you all at an event in 2014!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Google+ Success

I successfully created a Google+ Brickworld page this evening.  Now, to get all the linking to happen automatically!!!

It is almost 2014!!!

We are never sure exactly what the new year will bring except that change is inevitable.

Of course, nothing is definite in life or in LEGO...So, what will 2014 possibly bring?

Note:  All comments below are purely speculative and not guaranteed

  • A new look for the Brickworld web site?
  • Trophies for MOCs nominated for awards?
  • More Brickworld expos?  Maybe we are coming to a city closer to you!!
  • A coordinator kick off meeting in February at the Renaissance?
  • An event kit contest for 2015 where the models are judged at Brickworld Chicago in 2014?
  • Maybe we will put the brick into Brickworld?

Short and cryptic?  maybe....and stealing a line from Starship Troopers:  "Would you like to know more?"

We hope everyone has a safe holiday season.  We will see you all soon.  On that note, we will be at the NILTC Cantigny show Dec 14 & 15.  Maybe we will see you there.

Monday, August 12, 2013

It has been a while

First, thanks to all 30 of you that actually follow this blog.  I can't figure out why more people aren't interested in the boring details of making Brickworld happen....Okay, maybe I do understand.  But, every once in a while I will drop a tidbit here first as a thank you for following.

Is there a tidbit in this post?  hmmmm...

We have been busy since the event ended in June.  We are working on web site updates when we can.  The theme has been selected and announced.  And...

We are taking a hard look at the big picture of the event schedule.

We have been holding opening ceremonies on Wednesday evening for the last 3 years now.  And, in looking at how this fits with the new venue, we realized that the reason we moved the ceremony to Wednesday was the space limitation in the Westin.  Once we had this realization, the flood gates opened to new ideas and approaches to the overall schedule.

Additionally, we received post event comments from people asking for more things like parts drafts and games...along with "please bring back the theater" (which endured a 1 year absence this year under the list of "just couldn't make it happen").

So, next year (and we signed the contract for next year a couple days ago by the way) we have obtained a dedicated theater room for all 4 days of the event.  We have obtained a dedicated room for games & parts drafts all 4 days of the event.  And, we are taking a hard look at moving opening ceremonies to Thursday evening.

This leaves Wednesday evening open and because we have a lot of people that show up on Wednesday, we are thinking about an over 21 mixer on Wednesday evening with a cash bar.  Maybe even something just out on the terrace that has a bit of organization.  Input on this (and anything else) is more than welcome.  We are in the early stages of this discussion (like it is not even out on the coordinator forum yet).

Was there a tidbit in there for you?

We have also been busy building a copy of the Cummins engine model to send to India.  When it breaks, someone will need to go fix it...any takers?  (flying to India doesn't interest me)  Lots of progress in building but I am not looking forward to recreating the custom foam inserts for the shipping crates.  Lots of contact cement.

We are looking forward to Brickworld Fort Wayne (Sep 28 & 29) and then Brickworld Lafayette (Nov 2 & 3).  Staying busy is what I do.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brickworld Chicago is coming!!

Holy cow....I have been receiving emails from people telling us what they want to do at Brickworld to add to  the event.  It is great that people are getting so excited.  Of course, I am always swamped (right now with BW Indy) and I live concerned that I am not returning their emails and getting information out quickly enough.

In a couple weeks, I will be focused on Chicago and the faucet will open...I will be putting out information and details...I will be asking for more people to step up and add to the event.  We will be in full swing of organizing the convention side of the event.

On top of that, we will be opening MOC registration and table reservations.  I can't stress enough how much I believe in the power of the collaborative displays.  M-Tron debuted in Chicago last year and I think it will be even bigger this year.  VirtualLUG is busy cooking up another fabulous collaboration in secret and I fully expect the Eurobricks crew to be up to the challenge with a collaboration of their own.

Meanwhile, we have the castle collaboration.  If you have ever thought about doing something for castle, this is the year to do it.  Yet to be announced is a special set of prizes to commemorate the anniversary of the first castle set (or so I am told).

The Great Ball Contraption is another collaboration that is pretty daunting to some people (the more artistic).  But, it is always fun to watch.  If you are mechanically inclined, give a simple module a shot.

Then there is the microscale collaboration.  It took a hit last year because some key people weren't at the show.  But, there is no reason that EVERYONE couldn't make one 16x16 module for this collaboration.  Just think how big it would be with 1,000 modules of this cool would that be?!?!

Collaborations help bring the community together.  And, that is really the heart of what Brickworld is about.

Lots going on behind the scenes right now!!  More to be revealed soon.  But, first - Brickworld Indy on March 9 and 10.

I am soooooo excited this year!!!

Play well

Friday, February 8, 2013

Event Kit Parts

So, I spent all day getting the instructions for the event kits half way readable so I could use them to count out parts and construct 1 of each to make sure we got all the parts.  An interesting exercise.  I found 1 part where I ordered 200 but I need 400.  Easily remedied as it is readily available on Bricklink (whew).

Focus for the rest of the weekend has to be on Brickworld Indy.  I need to get the layout together.  And, we have an IndyLUG meeting on Sunday and everyone will want to know where their display is.  Of course, I have to go coach the high school robotics team from 10 AM - 6 PM (or maybe later) tomorrow.  So, it will be a long night tomorrow night.

Last week I started working only Monday through Wednesday.  Having 2 more days each week to work on catching up with this stuff has really helped and my stress level should be a lot lower going forward.  Though right now I am stressing because registration numbers are still lagging behind 2012.  It really makes me wonder if there were people registering just to get the LEGO discount.  Very sad indeed.  But, if that is all they were doing, they weren't making the event better for any of us.  And, they were probably in the way.  So, they won't be missed.

Off to relax for the evening.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Parts Order, Stanchions and BW Indy

So, now that the stanchions are here in Indy, I have spent some time figuring out how to better organize them for storage and improve the process of set up and tear down.  All the chain has been cut into lengths that span between 2 stanchions 6 ft apart.  So, you get a piece of chain with each stanchion.  Also, when we store the stanchions in the future, no more garbage bags.  I have boxes that will allow us to store the posts with the caps and hooks installed.  And, I am removing the bottom plate on all the bases so they stack nicely into boxes.  The boxes are all double walled and should be pretty durable if we don't abuse them.  I have to admit, cutting all that chain into 470 pieces the same length took a long time!!

Today, our parts order for the event arrived...on a pallet.  Yikes!!!

Parts for both event kits, items to put in the goody bags, the badge bricks and mini-figures made quite a pile. Now I have to sort it all and then re-ship the event kit parts to Massachusetts where Jeremy Moody (probably with some help from the family) has taken over the box design and actual kitting of the parts.  This is a big relief from Adam and I as we were always struggling to make time to get this all done for the event.

Brickworld Indy is now just a month away.  Time to get that layout finalized and polish up the plans.  It has also moved to a new venue.  Lots of changes this year!!

As a side note - life could be interesting as we run up to the event in June this year.  My FLL team qualified for the North American Championships that will be held in May at LEGOLand CA.  So, if we decide to go, I will have kids at the house for that for a while on top of mentoring the high school FRC robotics team.  Wish me luck...I might yet lose my sanity!

Good night all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Whew - things are moving

We had our first coordinator meeting for Chicago.  Lots to discuss with the new venue.  But, that was last week.

This week I took a quick drive up to Chicago and met up with Adam.  We went over and emptied the storage unit into a trailer with some stuff going in Adam's SUV.  I brought the trailer back here to Indy with me.  It turns out, storage in Indy is a lot cheaper than Chicago.  Since we are using the stanchions at Brickworld Indy this year, it made sense to store them here.

We got the on line sales link set up for Brickworld Indy.  Now it is time to get the word out and get some tickets sold.  We have an ad coming out in Reach Magazine.  It will go to 500,000 households in the area.  Hopefully we get some turnout from this.  We are generating coupon codes for the on line ticket sales that will give us a good idea how people are hearing about the event.  In the past, we ask when you walk in the door and then try to tally it all up.  Automation is good  :)

I need to get the Brickworld Indy layout done too.  But, that comes after running by little fighting robots at a Pinewood Derby tomorrow.

Registration for Chicago hit 200 this week.  But, we are running behind last year's numbers.  Register early and don't forget your hotel room.  Unlike the Westin, there are not any reserve rooms that are empty in the hotel to increase the size of our room block.  So, when they are gone, they are gone.

While I have only gained 30 followers on the blog over the last year, I am okay with where I am at.  I hope you find my posts interesting at least.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chicago 2013 Registration Open

We have been working on the web site to make it more informative and friendly.  Unfortunately, this effort hasn't completed.  But, that didn't stop us from opening registration today.  The content of the web site will continue to shape up over the next couple weeks.  We decided that most of the people that would be looking to get registered this early are already familiar with the event and a little missing content wouldn't be a big deal.

Apparently we were right as we are already approaching 100 paid attendees only 12 hours later.  What an incredible start to registration this year.

There is plenty of work to do!!  We are already excited to see how the event will go at the new venue.

More to come!!