(Written by Sarah)
For today’s post, I will talk about some more changes at LEGO CUUSOO as well as feature a really cool LEGO project; the Labyrinth Marble Maze. Jason, the creator of the LEGO project, contacted me and gave me the inside scoop on how he created the project, so read on.
But first, I sadly must address the death of the LEGO Winchester. Yatkuu, the creator of the LEGO Winchester has taken the news of LEGO’s rejection of the project like a true British gentleman: “I have no regrets here. I knew it was a long shot from the start but I learned a lot from this experience, met awesome people… it was all worth it. Thanks again to everyone who supported the project.” You can read more and get in touch with Yatkuu through his website: MakeTheWinchester.com
Though I am very disappointed that the Winchester was not approved to be made as a LEGO set, I am still 100% behind the idea of CUUSOO and the opportunities it presents to fans. I see this as another learning curve in the ever developing and evolving world that is CUUSOO. We’ve now learned that LEGO is still 100% dedicated to making kid-friendly products and that they will not make any sets that they believe are of a mature content. So it’s something we’ll need to abide by and remember when making LEGO CUUSOO projects.
Speaking of CUUSOO projects, I’m sure many of you have already seen this, but another four LEGO projects have recently made it to 10,000 votes:
LEGO EVE Online Ships – Rifter by czar: CUUSOO EVE Project
LEGO Back to the Future by m.togami: CUUSOO BTTF Project
LEGO Firefly Serenity Playset by tbone_tbl: CUUSOO Firefly Project
LEGO The Legend of Zelda by MINGLES: CUUSOO Legend of Zelda
CUUSOO has made a slight change to the review process in that they will do quarterly reviews of all projects that made it to the review phase in time. The next review will start in June. However, they have already decided not to go with the Firefly project since it is too mature. I am very excited for the rest though, and also keeping an eye on the LEGO Modular Western Town as it is very close to 10,000 votes. I hope it makes it in time for June! (If you haven’t voted on this LEGO project yet, you can do so my following the link: CUUSOO Modular Western Town)
One last thing before I get to the very cool LEGO labyrinth, CUUSOO has changed their rules on collaborative projects. Before they didn’t allow it, but now they do. Rule 6 on the CUUSOO Guidelines Page has been updated to reflect the changes. In a nutshell, there is still one project owner, but all collaborators must have their own CUUSOO account and have clearly designated roles in the LEGO project. Everyone must contact CUUSOO within a week of starting the project and provide some basic info.
And now let’s talk about the featured LEGO CUUSOO project of this post: the LEGO Labyrinth Marble Maze!
As explained on the project’s description page, this is a “fully functioning version of a Labyrinth marble maze, featuring interchangeable mazes, a built in removable ball-container and a travel-lock. The mechanics of the maze are actually quite simple; using a set of LEGO Technic axles and lift-arms to control the tilt of the maze”. The great thing about it being LEGO is that you can customize it any way you want to, making it simpler or harder or adding themed elements.
When Jason (aka. Touthomme) contacted me, I was very excited to see such an advanced LEGO model that could appeal to a wide variety of people due to is customizable nature. If this gets to 10,000 votes, I’m not sure what the final product will be, but I certainly hope it has some of those customizable elements that Jason has made. That’s jumping the gun a little, but it’s good to stay optimistic. For now, I’d like to share the process Jason went through in creating the LEGO maze and how it ended up on CUUSOO. Here is Jason’s story:
In November 2011, a good friend of mine posted a picture on her Flickr account of a teen’s bedroom made out of LEGO. When I saw the bookshelf, I immediately thought, ‘cool, that might be an interesting way to build a maze’. I threw together a little maze that night using some of those LEGO panels. I thought it was pretty cool, but then I thought, ‘ah, but wouldn’t it be cooler to make a bigger one that you could move a LEGO ball through?’ I was really into mazes when I was a kid, so it didn’t take very long before I was trying to make a full blown replica of the common Labyrinth ball maze.
My first prototype was actually designed to match the layout of the Labyrinth game as accurately as possible, complete with holes for the balls to drop through. It ended up being far too big and heavy to be practical though. There was way too much flex in the control system, it felt really bulky and unresponsive, and it just wasn’t much fun to play. So it was back to the drawing board.
I shrunk the LEGO maze down to 24×24 studs and dispensed with the holes. This made the maze much lighter, and simplified the construction. I went through many-many iterations and tweaks of the control-system to make it as responsive as possible. Somewhere along this process (which took a few weeks) I also thought it would be cool to incorporate interchangeable mazes, so I started working on a second maze.
I’m a big fan of building with LEGO in micro-scale, and had a few little micro space-ships lying around my building table from another LEGO project. When I was designing the second maze I thought it would be cool to incorporate some detailing and decided to add one of those ships. The result was the space themed maze you can see above. By the time I built the medieval themed maze, my girlfriend was also involved and demanded much more detailing. She was heavily involved in the design of the water-mill and insisted that I also build a dragon.
It probably took about a month from start to finish, and by the end of December, the LEGO project was complete. I definitely get the most excited when a project is in the prototype phase, when I’m solving problems and figuring things out. Taking pictures and posting them online usually ends up at the bottom of the priority list, as I get absorbed with building other things. So it wasn’t until April 16, 2012 that I finally got around to posting this LEGO project online.
I never thought to add the project to CUUSOO, but after posting it on Flickr and YouTube, several people suggested that I should. In the meantime, my original post was picked up by The Brothers Brick and tumbled through some other micro LEGO blogs like BrickUltra. On April 18, I put together a CUUSOO page and once it was approved, I went back and added links to my original posts. It seems to be quite popular with those who have seen it, and currently sits at 795 supporters as of this writing.
Obviously it’s a long way to getting 10,000 supporters, and my challenge now is to get the word out to people that might be interested in it. The LEGO community is pretty easy to tap into as there are many online forums that I can post it in. I’ll need to send requests out to some general interest/geek blogs that might also like to promote it. I’m sure there are a lot of people interested in Labyrinth and mazes in general, but I have yet to find a big online community to tap into.
Thanks for the run-down Jason! As you said, here comes the next challenge – getting to 10,000 votes! The good/bad news with such a wide-appealing LEGO project is that anyone could be interested in it, but there’s no centralized place to gather fans. If you can get the word out there, it’ll easily get to 10,000 votes, but finding the right places is going to be tough.
So now, dear readers, I ask you for your help. Not only to support this LEGO project if you like it, but help spread the word about it (you can Like, Tweet, share on Google+ and other social media sites using the buttons at the end of this post). So, please tell your family, friends and online buddies about it. You can also directly vote for the LEGO Labyrinth Maze here: VOTE FOR THE LEGO LABYRINTH. And if you know of any places to promote this LEGO CUUSOO project, please post in the comment section. Also let me know what you think of the project. Do you have any suggestions for other themes or changes you’d like to see in the maze?
You may also like to read about other LEGO CUUSOO news here: