Brick Adapter tricks

The Brick adapters seem to work best with full snaps on the end. That is, having one-sided snaps on each end (i.e. power or bitSnaps), creating full snap pegs on both sides, rather than half pegs at either end. The components I have tried with just half snaps on an end (e.g. Power and a Motor, see pic) don’t seem to have the inside grip to hold well. Photographs showing difference:

I just noticed this is also discussed in the “Provide Extra Support for littleBits that Experience Force” section of Tips & Tricks: littleBits + Lego®, linked here:

Of the suggestions, the bitSnaps route seems the way to go (dissasembling a wire module?! no). However, it is odd to require additional pieces to make the adapters work well. This isn’t an issue just with torque or heavy components. Both sides of the adapter are fairly loose (compared to LEGO’s tight fit). It would be nice to have “bitEndCaps” created & included with the adapters. Also, the tolerances could be tighter all around, since even with flanking components the littleBits seem to pop off adapters easier than with Mounting Boards.

One last request, since this has gone in that direction. Could we also have some reversed blocks for using Mounting Boards? Currently only the LEGO side is offered in both orientations. LEGO plates are nice, but I would like the option to pick and choose. It might also be less confusing, and less have less flex, if the littleBits side looked more like the Mounting Board. Currently it has peg outlines rather than the more solid surface of the board.

In support of Mounting Boards, I will provide an example in both Mounting Board and LEGO. This image below shows two Mounting Boards sandwiched back to back, and gaffed. The LEGO front is simply gaff taped to the boards. The extra power leads were for motor flanking, but not needed if you plan on taping. More pics on next post, since I am currently limited to 3.

Optical sensor build details, by JackANDJude, can be found here:

The underside of this build also has the motors gaff taped, with 1" strips across the power connects in and out, for added strength. Taping adapters like this would be tougher I believe, since you would be blocking the other side. I will try a couple options though and post results. Using a similar sized LEGO plate with adapters should work. Especially if I can keep the tape off the opposite side of the plate (possibly just pinch it at each edge with blocks). I’ll see if I can’t find the correct sized LEGO plate later today. One small thing to mention, is that this will change the side to side spacing a little. I’ve noticed that the adapters are built to have space between them.

Here’s an example of the underside. You can see how I used the gaffing tape for support. This type of tape is low adhesive (but it does have some, which can be useful for making axles tacky if they start to slip - apply tape to axle and remove). You might notice the small sliver of business card wedged between the motors since this is a zero tolerance motor config.

Also, since we lack Mounting Board to LEGO adapter blocks, I taped the LEGO struts for the front “tracks”, on the example from the above post. I used some business cards to keep them spaced apart (you can see the orange corner if you look closely - sorry it’s split between posts, 3 pic limit). You can see this in the third pic below.

Wired for dual IR proximity sensors. These would go on the other side. This unit is useable at this point however, as a quick example. It merely drags the rear around if you flip the switches correctly.

Optical sensor build details, by JackANDJude, can be found here:

An example of how I attached the LEGO tracks. I simply took advantage of the long blue struts the tracks are attached to. Again, business cards used for spacing. I could have also used a LEGO plate across the struts (a better approach, with less frustration when attaching). This was quick rebuild to grab the photo I had forgotten.

Here is the LEGO build of a sound activated version. This is the underside. Same struts/tracks up front and motor config as the Mounting Board version. You can see here that I used the Mix module to complete the motor circuit. This is only to flank the motor for strength, as mentioned above. I used Mix only because my other options were in use. I do not suggest using Mix :stuck_out_tongue:

The topside of that quick LEGO build. This uses the LEGO Ninjago Thunder Raider kit (70723). It’s a solid deal because it is actually two models, has the right wheels, cool tracks, and mini figs.

Keep in mind, the Mix module is only there because I needed the one sided ends for motor flanking and my other connecters were in use.

Which gets back to the original point of this thread. The adapters in the full LEGO result in a fairly “loose” build. Granted, this example is using a minimum of blocks. More blocks would strengthen the LEGO parts. The interface with littleBits is going to require patience and extra care though, due to the fit. Just have children take their time, and lend them a hand when things start to get wobbly. Finally, don’t feel that you have to only use LEGOs and litteBits. If you have to gaff something to keep it from falling apart, have at it :smiley:

Oh, an IMPORTANT note on drive wheels. It might be easier just to get wheels with 3mm axles (Iike Pololu #1088 - as suggested in the Robot Butler build). The LEGO wheels you need are the ones that take the LEGO axle shaft (LEGO 3707) directly. This includes LEGO 56145 (use to find kits that have these). You may want to check out Pololu 1011 (shaft adapter) as well. I have not yet tried it, but if it works, it would reduce the length, and subsequent side load, of a motorMate plus an axle (even the short, notched 32062 - which is pretty perfect)

Here is a link with rims and their axles:

A quick note regarding Gaffer tape (think of clouds parting & angels singing in joyous recognition of this tape). It is NOT duct tape. It is pricey, but very re-usable for maker projects. The tape is easy to remove and the adhesive will not remain on your LEGO or littleBits components. I prefer a 2" wide roll. It is fairly easy to tear once you have the hang of it, thanks to the cotton construction. So making narrow strips is quick work.

…and I believe I am done now. Sorry for all the edits.

@CRomer Thanks for testing my IR proximity sensor design! I hope you share your project on the project page. :smile: I see you made a hole for the micropotentiometer - very good! I also did that on the 3D design version. I think the pressed beads version is better, BTW. - Jude

Jude, thank you for posting your IR Proximity Sensor guide! I added a link to that in this article. Sorry it wasn’t there originally. I did link to your page when I built them for a theremin (FB Maker Stuff). I can only assume I overlooked it this time because they are in so many of my builds now :smile:

Question for you, Jude. Have you tried IR filtering on the sensor to cut down on light interference? Also, any tips for dealing with that super stiff IR LED lead?

Thanks again!

@CRomer I tried adding VHS tape, but that seemed to block IR light, too. I had trouble finding an old diskette. There’s an example of a diskette being used as an IR filter here:

I bend the IR led so that it is coming from below, while the whole assembly is attached to the edge of a mounting board or a brick adapter.

I can’t see your facebook post - perhaps it is set to private or friends only?

Cheers & you’re welcome!

@JackANDJude, thanks! I will try the diskette hack tomorrow.

I do the same with the IR lead, but it’s so darn stiff it wants to pull right out. I’ll have to keep my eye out for some sort of clear cap, that will grip the LED. Something with a flat, or rounded, top that can be pushed through from the top

The Facebook album access should be fixed. I’ll include an additional link here, in case anybody is curious and doesn’t use FB (this link will not show comments though).
FB Maker Stuff
FB Maker Stuff (non-FB Users)

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This is a VERY good post. We have also been having issues with the mounting boards and Lego adapters and will try some of the tricks you mentioned (full double ends).