LEGO Mindstorms NXT Coloured Ball Sorting Crane

LegoMindstormsNXTColouredBallSortingCrane    Send article as PDF   

Good things do sometimes come from disasters. A couple of days ago I was attempting to lift down approximately 5Kg of assorted LEGO parts when the container took advantage of gravity, and headed straight to the floor. This ended in a completely empty storage container, and LEGO dispersed for metres about. Towards the end of the cleanup, I came across a pair of Green Mudgaurds from a LEGO Technics 8291 Green Dirt Bike.

ballsortingcrane-01  ballsortingcrane-02
ballsortingcrane-03  ballsortingcrane-04

I chose to use LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Medium Motors for just one reason, besides weight, DESIGN. Both the standard LEGO Mindstorms NXT & EV3 Motor designs are crap! If they had mirrored the EV3 Medium Motors, but increased there size to something similar to the Large Power Functions Motor, life for the Mindstorms Builder would be heavenly…. The Motor issue is on par with the lack of a “BACKLIGHT“, on both the NXT & EV3 Programmable Bricks. As my eyesight is failing, a few cents for a LED would make mine, and many, many other peoples lives much easier!


A pair of Green Mudgaurds from a LEGO Technics 8291 Green Dirt Bike, make excellent Ball Clamps. The design of them, automatically forces the ball from the tips to the back of the beak, not unlike the beak of a parrot. After prolonged use I found that the studs on the hinge plate that the beak pieces attached to began to dislodge from the Technics connector, but a small dab of superglue solved that issue for good.

I found this Robot to be a source of wonder for the under 8 year olds at several shows and schools where it has been demonstrated. Lots of “Colour and Movement”, is always the key to keeping their attention.

CODE for the Coloured Ball Sorting Crane


NXT Coloured BallSorting Crane

LEGO Digital Designer:

Download the LEGO Digital Designer CAD Files: NXTColouredBallSortingCrane.lxf



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