LEGO Zoetrope

Monday, September 19th, 2011

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Inspired by Lego Tron’s minifig LEGOtrope, I decided I had to try to build one myself. A zoetrope is an old device that has a series of images on the inside surface of a slitted drum. Each image is slightly different, like an animation cel, and when the drum is spun and the images viewed through the slits, it creates an animated effect.
Where Lego Tron had made an 8-frame zoetrope, I wanted to try something larger. #3 angled Technic axle connectors are just the right angle to create a 16-sided polygon. Using 6m axles and 1×2 bricks with cross holes, I connected 16 4×6 plates to the framework to form the backdrops for the 16 cels.

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The connectors also proved to be useful in creating the upper slitted part of the drum. Lego Tron’s Legotrope used the slits between the cels themselves as the viewing slits, which is an elegant and compact solution, but I wanted to try to replicate the original design of the zoetrope and have the slits directly opposite each cel. (Another possibility is to use Lego Tron’s technique but create a drum with an uneven number of sides so that the slits are opposite the cels. This is a design challenge in itself).

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For an animation subject, I created “Skippy,” a little three-brick stick figure. I laid out all 16 figures in a row and adjusted his arm and legs to create a skipping animation.

See the Lego Zoetrope Video at YouTube

More photos at Flickr

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