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DailyDirt: Science With Lego

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

People do all sorts of creative stuff with Lego -- even though Lego hasn't always been cool about people using Lego or Lego-like bricks in various ways. But when Lego interconnecting block enthusiasts are allowed to do anything they want to do, sometimes science benefits. Here are just a few cool Lego-based science links for folks who aren't ready to put away their childhood toys. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  • identicon
    Rekrul, 17 Feb 2015 @ 5:53pm

    If it's only theoretical, why use 2x2 blocks? 1x1 blocks would weight less and could theoretically be stacked higher, especially since the smaller size would provide even more strength to each block.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lurker Keith, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:12pm

      Re:

      1x1xany-depth is unstable. I know from experience. You'd be lucky to get a 1x1 tower to a foot vertically before it started bending. It also may not be as structurally sound as you may think. 2x2xany & larger have one or more reinforcing cylinders in the center; 1x1s are completely hollow.

      2x2xthick is very stable, though. But probably wouldn't stand up to wind.

      Pairs of 4x2xthick, alternating direction, would be rock-solid, though. & could probably resist more weight.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 20 Feb 2015 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re:

        1x1xany-depth is unstable. I know from experience. You'd be lucky to get a 1x1 tower to a foot vertically before it started bending.

        That's why it's only theoretical. The idea is to figure out how high such a tower could be under perfect conditions before the weight of it crushed the blocks at the bottom.

        It also may not be as structurally sound as you may think. 2x2xany & larger have one or more reinforcing cylinders in the center; 1x1s are completely hollow.

        The cylinders in the center typically aren't as thick-walled as the edges of the bricks. They're not there for reinforcement, but to reduce the open area in the bottom of the brick so that the pegs from other bricks will have something to snap into.

        While a 1x1 block is all hollow, there's much less empty space than in a 4x4 brick. Also, I'm not talking about thin 1x1 blocks which are only slightly thicker than the pegs on top of the blocks (do they even make these?) but rather the ones that are the same height as normal blocks. They're often used for making pillars and such.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Lurker Keith, 26 Feb 2015 @ 3:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, 1x1xthins do exist, in a variety of shapes (asking this shows you rarely, if ever, played w/ LEGOs, since nearly every set has at least a few; I've been specifying thin/ thick/ any, when I thought it'd make a significant difference; thick is usually thinx3). The most common are squares & circles (nearly all sets have at least one set; & I don't think you ever just got 1, I usually wound up w/ extra 1x1xthins after perfectly assembling MANY sets from different decades; it's still a common thing even w/ LEGO Star Wars stuff: I usually used the extra transparent ones as landing or warning lights or something), but others exist, too. They are often decorative on larger sets, but can be structural for any sized set. There are even 1x1xflat, which have no attachment stud on top. Such flat LEGOs exist for most, if not all, of the thins & are often decorative, though larger ones are frequently used for allowing sliding bits (it isn't completely unheard of for a 1x1xflat to fill a gap, but it is beyond rare).

          Whether you use 1x1xthin or 1x1xthick, both become unstable VERY quickly. I often made horizontal chains on the floor of the same size & color of blocks when I was working on larger custom projects for organizational purposes. Even horizontal, it didn't take long for 1x1 chains to become unstable, forcing me to just allow it to break & have 2 or 3 chains for that color. If they become unstable at manageable lengths horizontally, they'd be less stable, even under prefect conditions, vertically.

          & I still think the cylinders in the middle are also structural (it often isn't JUST a cylinder). There are some strangely shaped blocks that still have the cylinders (some also have lines going out from it to support the cylinders), but they don't go all the way to the bottom. They're rare, but do exist. I also was aware they provide additional friction points.

          Also, 4x4xthick bricks are rare, if they even exist (which is why I suggested 4x2xthick pairs). I know there are 4x4xthin. I know one of the imitation brands had a specialized brick that was 4x4x2 (as opposed to the usual 4x4x3 = 4x4xthick), w/ a hollow center, allowing for a rotatable top piece, which was used in that set for helicopter blades.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:06pm

    Imagine what scientists will do with 3D printers and interlocking blocks that anyone can design.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    B. Rabbit, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:04pm

    An Open (can of) Worms...

    Now they are emulating a worm's brain... What next? A lizard... a rabbit... a rat... a dog... a monkey... a human?

    Technological process is like a bad drug addiction pattern, where you start with nice soft drugs then can easily go through an escalation that makes you into a crack addict, where you've lost near-total control of yourself, a zombie.

    You gotta control it, or it runs out of control. Top scientists now have warned us about the danger of AI, so what are these idiots here doing? That's what the Hippocratic Oath was about... now the mad scientists like those of the Open Project just thrown in the trash bin, like the rest of their ethics, their consciousness, their sense of scientific accountability.

    Stupid idiots doing this "cool" project don't realize how they contribute to sign a death warrant for the whole of mankind... or just building The Matrix.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:16pm

      Re: An Open (can of) Worms...

      A can of Dr. Who spoilers yeah!
      I didn't want to know that Daleks originated from this planet -.-

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2015 @ 5:54am

      Re: An Open (can of) Worms...

      I'm not sure your tinfoil hat is screwed on tight enough!

      To be able to understand how brains actually work it is very important to do these kinds of experiments.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Beta (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:54pm

    it hit me like a brick

    I think... I think I just had a great idea.

    Open source Lego prosthetic limbs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thrudd, 18 Feb 2015 @ 6:05am

    Not to worry

    The politicos will ban such things the moment they get wind of this.
    No way would they allow our young uns to build things that would replace them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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