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sansbury
12-25-2009, 06:34 PM
So here's a little stump-the-band question for all of you hiding from your in-laws this evening.

My little nephew has about 10 gallon-size pails of Lego bricks, and my sister challenged me to come up with a way to sort them. As I see it, this entails:

1. Metering out bricks from a hopper
2. Feeding them through some type of sorting mechanism

As a practical matter, I'll assume that all the bricks have been taken apart before going in the hopper, and we're talking only the classic bricks, not the new Mindstorms stuff.

I'd be interested for any pointers to machines that do similar types of operations--I'm not an automation engineer so I assume there have been lots of similar challenges solved in a variety of ways.

John Stevenson
12-25-2009, 06:38 PM
If you have ever trodden on a piece of lego in the dark with no shoes on will soon appreciate that a shop vac is the best way to attack this problem.

.

dockrat
12-25-2009, 06:45 PM
If you have ever trodden on a piece of lego in the dark with no shoes on will soon appreciate that a shop vac is the best way to attack this problem.

.

LOL! No $hit John. After getting hit a couple of times with the grandkids I.E.D.'s while on my way to the can in the dark at my son's place I learned to minesweep a trail before I went to bed.:D

SteveF
12-25-2009, 06:52 PM
If you go on YouTube, looks like a few folks have just used the Lego Mindstorm kit to build a sorter. It has a color sensor and a touch sensor. Looks pretty cool.

Steve.

tdkkart
12-25-2009, 07:18 PM
LOL! No $hit John. After getting hit a couple of times with the grandkids I.E.D.'s while on my way to the can in the dark at my son's place I learned to minesweep a trail before I went to bed.:D


I.E.D.??

Improvised Excrutiating Devices??

kf2qd
12-25-2009, 08:21 PM
Tyr using a conveyor and play with the position of the catch bins. Run the conveyor fast enough and the various weights will "fly" different distances. Won't do anything about color, just weight.

RobbieKnobbie
12-25-2009, 10:23 PM
Vibratory bowl feeders do exactly what you're looking for. The bowl vibrates, the parts shimmy their way up the tracks along the inside of the bowl, and you can fit all sorts of selectors on the way.

A google search with pictures can explain it a lot better than I could.

sansbury
12-26-2009, 11:25 PM
Robbie: Thanks for the pointer. That looks like an interesting approach to all or part of the problem. Now just need to figure out how they work and how to fabricate such a thing...

Mike of the North
12-27-2009, 01:36 AM
You might want to look here. http://www.lugnet.com/ this site is mostly trains but may have an answer for you. http://www.railbricks.com/