Mechanical Beehive

Feel the wonder of the Honey Bee in the palm of your hand!

This is my second LEGO Ideas project, please go support the project here!

Working with LEGO on The 2x3 was an amazing experience, but soon a subtle fear began to sink in. People were asking me 'what's the next thing you're going to do?' and I had no idea where to go next. I was worried that I hit the highest I could go. You'd think that after winning a contest that the next model would be easier, but in reality it became a lot harder because I didn't want to let anyone down. My mom told me to just keep building, and she was right. Just like how I built The 2x3 to encourage me to keep trying before the contest, I needed to keep trying afterwards.

We began brainstorming ideas. Mechanical models have fascinated me ever since I was little. I've always wanted to make a kinetic sculpture out of LEGO and now was a great time to try. This model started out as a really simple, really rough sketch drawn by my mom on the back of a receipt. We still have that original receipt and it's really cool to see how far it came. After two weeks of building the Mechanical Beehive in (and a few rough prototypes in real life), I ordered the parts from Bricklink and built the first physical version. The first few disks worked great, however as I added more layers the wheels generated lots friction that made the handle extremely hard to turn. Not to mention the beehive seemed to jiggle and blob around like Jello, which was humorous to watch but not exactly what I was aiming for!

Sometimes the most frustrating problems become your favorite moments after solving them. After studying how the beehive was behaving (beehaving?) I noticed the center axle was bending because there was too much weight, and this was causing that laggy and fragile feel. The solution was reinforcing the bottom of the axle with a few 2x2 bricks and using those as the center axle for the first two disks. You can see the fix in the picture below. That simple redesign made the mechanism feel a hundred times smoother. I was so happy and felt as if I were skipping with joy throughout the house for the rest of the day!

A day before I submitted the beehive I went to a beekeeping presentation and had the opportunity to show everyone my beehive at the end of the event. Everyone loved it, but the most exciting moment was watching some 5-7 year olds play with the model. I've received many wonderful compliments about my MOCs in the past, but there's something really special about watching a young builder enjoying something you created. Only a few years ago I was their age, time goes fast.

This has been a really exciting build, and I will bee coming back periodically for updates on the project's progress! Thank you for your support!