Mindstorms NXT Forklift Truck & Bin Emptying Machine

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I’m currently working on a Sorting Factory, complete with LEGO Mindstorms NXT Forklift Truck and Bin Emptying Robot. Part of a larger project I’m currently working on (partly visible in the upper-left corner of photographs). The Forklift is used to deliver full Bins of balls to be emptied by the Bin Emptying Machine, and then the empty bin is taken away, back to the processing facility.

Forklift & Bin Emptying Machine - Components.jpg

The Bin Emptying Machine detects the presence of a new Bin to be emptied when the [laser] Beam Reflection is broken. The [laser] Beam is reflected by a piece of 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material – 8910 Silver Fabric. Scotchlite reflective fabrics is composed of wide angle, exposed retroreflective lenses bonded to a durable cloth backing, available in several construction types. 

Forklif & Bin Emptying Machine.jpg

The bin is clamped, lifted and then emptied. There are 4x motors controlled from a single NXT: 

  • 1x Bin Clamping Motor
  • 1x Bin Lift Motor
  • 1x Bin Rotating (Emptying) Motor
  • 1x Ball Shoot Motor

The Ball Shoot Motor is controlled by the NXT in conjunction with a [NXTMMX].

Forklif & Bin Emptying Machine -3.jpg

The forklift it’s self is fairly straight forward, using a standard NXT Light Sensor to follow the ‘Black’ lines and a standard NXT Colour Sensor used to detect the coloured lines which mark various positions along the Forklift’s trail. Two NXT type Motors directly drive the front wheels, with a third NXT Motor used to lift the Forklift’s Tines up-and-down.

Forklif & Bin Emptying Machine -1.jpg

The Forklif uses [rotacaster] on the rear to allow precision turning. The Rotacasters also allow the Forklift to be nice and compact.

Both the Forklift Truck and Bin Emptying Robots are programmed using RobotC.

RobotC Code for Forklift Truck:


RobotC Code for Bin Emptying Machine:


Click the CAD Drawings below to Download the LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) CAD Files:

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Forklift Truck without Mast and Tines

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Forklift Truck’s Mast and Tines

Bins for the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Forklift Truck

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