We’ve seen a lot of cool stuff lately on the different ways on how LEGO bricks can be used to make things easier: from dispensing tasty, chicken legs and nuggets, to dispensing toothpaste on a brush. These LEGO contraptions were meant to make things easier for us human beings in a funny, unusual way. So when someone thought, “Hey, let’s build a LEGO paper airplane folding machine,” it’s kind of hard putting it in the right context. Not at least if you’ll going to build as a tribute for a major electronics think-tank firm, and the one who’s doing it is a name that will appear on your screen when you Google, “World’s Best LEGO Robotics Designer.”
Truth be told, building a paper plane factory around the LEGO Mindstorm project is not exactly a novel idea. The idea was spawned already by a YouTuber that goes by the name ‘Hknssn’. Using more than 7,000 LEGO Technic and Mindstorm parts, she (he) showed that building the LEGO paper airplane folding machine, and being able to launch its product at the same time, is indeed complex rocket science. That was almost four years ago and as they say, technology eventually caught up.
In a similar vein, Arrow Electronics launched its campaign ‘Five Years Out’ with the expressed goal of encouraging innovation among young minds. What better way to do it than with the help of the creative minds behind promotions and marketing firm, Elevation Digital Media and the brilliant engineering and design skills of Arthur Sacek – and yes, it was his name that came up when Jon Stevenson, Director of Production for Elevation Media, Googled the flashy title.
Gizmodo has a pretty neat round-up of Sacek’s work including a Lego Pinblock animator, a copy machine, and a 360 degrees Milling Machine but none have been as wonderfully complicated as the LEGO paper airplane folding machine that can turn a single piece of paper into a flying contraption, and even launches it the end of the assembly line. The mission-inspired video excellently pictured Sacek’s machine, and the spirit of innovation behind Arrow’s work. You could almost feel that you’re part of something greater than yourself, as you listen to JFK’s ‘Why We Choose To Go To The Moon’ speech… OK, let’s put a break on the nostalgia, shall we.
Using multiple LEGO Mindstorms intelligent bricks, and quite a bit of custom code, Sacek’s design looks far more streamlined and reliable than the one we previously mentioned, both in aesthetics and final output of the paper-folded plane.
Arrow Electronics shared some of the behind the scenes action in the making of this LEGO masterpiece, showing how some parts of the paper airplane folding machine were designed and assembled. However, as it seems, Arrow and Sacek is a little keen in guarding and revealing their ‘trade secrets’, so it’s wise not to expect any instructions or building guides. Perhaps we’ll have a better chance with Hknssn – if we can get in touch with her (him?).