This Automated Lego Car Assembly Line Builds Tiny Toy Cars Like a Full-Size Factory
I’ve never been so enthusiastic about small-scale mass production.
People do incredible things with Lego bricks. They're a powerful tool to turn any number of ideas into something real and functional. Cars have always been popular Lego products, but a machine that builds cars? That's a lot less common. In turn, this particular Lego car factory is super interesting.
It was designed by Daniele Benedettelli, a self-described "automation engineer, freelance LEGO designer, [and] robotics educator." Truth be told, he built it seven years ago, but it was recently reshared on Instagram where it received a lot of attention. And while this isn't the only Lego car factory, there's something about the way this one works that makes it especially intriguing.
The magic is in how everything works together. As a basic chassis rolls down the assembly line, three components are placed on top and stuck together. The robotic arms do this with careful precision. Just when you think a part is slightly misaligned after being placed, the arm comes back, gives it a little tap, and all is right with the world.
Each part is fixed to the chassis with a little Lego press. They each use a specific arrangement of parts in order to apply the right amount of pressure in the right places. Other Lego assembly lines seem to combine the act of placing the part with the pressing motion. This particular machine separates them out, though, and I think it's for the better. In this instance, much of the actual assembly happens before our eyes, as opposed to other devices which combine functions or complete assembly in a more obscure fashion.
The cherry on top is that the assembly line is elevated and the Lego car rolls off of it unaided when it's completed. Again, it's the small things—no pun intended—that make this a joy to watch. Despite the relatively small amount of parts being combined, you get the sense that you're watching something being born here, and it's all happening in the context of Lego, which makes it charming.
That being said, I would love to see a Lego assembly line that installs a working air-powered engine, or something like it. Now that I've had a taste of the world of an entirely plastic automobile industry, I just want more.
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