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2x4 Brick Sorter
A brick sorter using 2x4 bricks powered by pneumatics and power functions.
About this creation
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This is one of those classic types of Mindstorms projects: the brick sorter! This uses a Mindstorms RIS 2.0 set plus pneumatic components and Power Functions motors. Unlike the NXT which you can get a color sensor for, the original RIS system just had a light sensor. If you wanted a color sensor, you had to make your own (homebrew as it is called). In this case, the brick sorter is monochrome, meaning the light sensor sorts the bricks by the shade of color than the actual brick color. For the injector, I didn't want to use a motor with rack gearing to push the bricks into the bins so I got the idea of using a pneumatically powered injector mechanism. Problem was the little air pumps (even with two of them) can't provide a high enough pressure to operate the piston quickly which then granted the need for the compressor to provide air at 20 psi. For the rack that moves holding the bins, I originally used a Technic 9V motor with a worm gear at 24:1. This moved the rack back and forth quite slow, so with a Power Functions converter cable and 2 medium-size motors I changed it over to use those with a 3:1 gearing and connected it to the drive sprocket via chain links.

Like my ball machine, the brick sorter is also configured to be modular. This allows the sorter to be seperated into two modules by just disconnecting a few parts making it easier to transport. The bricks used in the sorter are placed upside-down in the loader as the light sensor reads the shades of the bricks better than right-side up. Plus, when done, they just go on the board and go with it wherever.

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By Brian Mausolf
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Added July 7, 2012
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