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10K Club Interview: MECHANICAL FLIP CLOCK by Sariels Bricks and Pets

We've made it to Friday - that means another 10K Club Interview! Welcome, Paweł Kmieć (a.k.a. Sariels Bricks and Pets) and his exceptionally creative MECHANICAL FLIP CLOCK. A specialist in motorised mechanical creations, Pawel has created a rather unique project. Show your support by liking and commenting!



  1. Who are you?
    Paweł Kmieć.

  2. Where are you from?
  3. How old are you?
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I'm a software developer.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    I play bass and do some rock climbing, at least when I’m not busy with my two kids and an array of pets we live with.
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    Yes - sariel
  7. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud of it and do you have a photo of it?
    I’m still quite proud of a tow truck model I built in 2011. I love classic American trucks, I love tow trucks, and my model combined complex mechanisms featuring 17 motors and 19 meters of wires with a body inspired by the legendary LEGO Black Cat truck. It took plenty of work and I still regret taking it apart. It even had mechanically operated turn signals!
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    Same as many other AFOLs, I was exposed to LEGO sets as a child, liked them, then felt very grown-up and stopped playing with them for about 10 years, and then I realised the error of my ways and became an AFOL. I was specifically attracted back to LEGO bricks by Technic sets, because I felt a need to tinker with something mechanical. 

  9. What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
    I guess I just build things I want to play with. Primarily vehicles, but also mechanisms that interest me. Almost all my creations are motorised and most are remote controlled, and even with more than 250 custom builds under my belt I still have more ideas than I can possibly realise. Building is my primary focus, with filming my creations being fun, too. I don’t display my builds anywhere because they are instantly torn down for parts for the next project. 
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    Technic, all the way. It’s the theme that brought me back to LEGO building from my Dark Ages.
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    It’s hard to choose one favourite set, but I definitely have a dream set that I wish I could own one day. It’s the classic Technic Control Center II from 1995. I love how it lets you build a helicopter or a T-rex or a boat and then program them to move using motors. I think it’s got a very unique functionality that has not yet been followed up on by modern LEGO sets, unless there is a Control Center III in the works.
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    I wouldn’t say I have one favourite but being primarily a builder, I’m currently very impressed with the medium angular motor from the Mindstorms and Spike Prime sets. I think it’s got some rare properties that make it exceptionally useful, such as a decent power-to-size ratio, two-sided output and many pin holes. I believe it’s well-suited for high-stress applications and for very precise movements and I’m exploring its capabilities. 
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    There are many great designers, but I’m definitely inspired by Markus Kossman, who’s like the guru of LEGO Technic and creator of some mind-bending mechanisms, and I’m a huge fan of Mike Psiaki because Mike used to be an AFOL before becoming a designer, and because of the unique building techniques he develops. One such technique in his James Bond Aston Martin set made me think that I’m looking at a printing error and it took me a while to realise that I really can build this way. If you’ve built the set, you’ll know which part I mean. And finally, Milan Reindl because his creativity when it comes to building C-models is endless.
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by? 
    Definitely Brickset, which is an amazing resource when it comes to info on sets, and I’m also a huge fan of New Elementary because they cover all new LEGO pieces so well and they always put them to some innovative use. 



  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    I obviously have a thing for flip clocks and more – when I was a kid, we had big, complex flip displays on train stations that were able to show info for dozens of trains. But more specifically, this model was inspired by two LEGO sets. The Ideas Lighthouse set, which has shown that the LEGO Group is willing to make a set operated by a continuously running motor, and then the Technic Airbus H175 Rescue Helicopter, which introduced a unique 5-sided connector. 5-sided geometry is hard to pull off with LEGO bricks and I thought that by combining two such connectors I would be able to build a regular LEGO decagon – one of the shapes a flip clock requires - but I eventually ended up building it using less specialised pieces.

  2. How long was the process of making the project, and what did you have to research as well? What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
    It was about two and a half months altogether. I looked up schematics of many real flip clocks, focusing on how the flaps are positioned. I had to explore LEGO geometry to be able to build complex polygons that could take some stress without disintegrating and I also had to find the right idea for flaps that would rotate easily.
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    I expected a lot of difficulties when trying to build the decagon (10-sided polygon) and dodecagon (12-sided polygon) shapes, but these actually proved to be relatively easy to build once I started playing with a series of 1x2 bricks connected by hinges. The unexpectedly difficult part was the flaps, because they had to be thin, smooth and rotate under their own weight. I’ve spent a lot of time working with large LEGO flags, but I found that they are simply too light to rotate when they are held by pins or axles. The friction in pins or axles was just too much and stopped the flags from rotating. So I went with something heavier – Technic beams. They are not a perfect solution, but they rotate just right. 
  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell them? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
    I’d say “Don’t go and buy 60 LEGO flags before you’re absolutely sure they’re gonna work”.
  5. How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters? 
    The rough prototype was built relatively quickly, but then took several weeks to fine-tune when it came to flap movement and synchronisation between the three “rotors”. I can’t say I’ve spent much time promoting it, though. I shot a short video and posted it in several places, then one more video when the project hit 5,000 votes.
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 
    It has taken exactly one month and it still feels like a dream to me. I was actually recovering from a sickness when it happened, so you can guess that it felt very uplifting.
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    Between 1000 and 1500, I guess. The decagon and dodecagon shapes required plenty of small pieces to pull off and the 1x5 beam that forms the flaps is used 400 times.

  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    Frankly, if I knew my project would reach 10,000 votes, I would have put more work into it. I didn’t expect it to be so successful so I built it as a simple proof-of-concept and it could definitely use more polish.
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    Since I specialise in motorised mechanical creations, I’m a hands-on builder and I don’t use any software, except for when I need to check how some pieces that I don’t own fit together before I buy them.
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them? 
    We’re talking about black squares with digits on them, so that was roughly a two-minute job in Adobe Illustrator. Printing was done on a sticker foil by a specialised print shop.



  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    From my brief experience, I’d say idea matters more than execution. And the idea should be unique and fresh. There are so many houses on LEGO Ideas already.
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support for your Product Idea? 
    I shot two short videos and shared them across my social channels. Some media were kind enough to mention the project, for instance, Racing Brick and MIKE Shouts.
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    When it comes to projects currently gathering support, I would happily put the Portal Gun by Hooded-Blaze on my shelf. As for the overlooked ideas, there were several great Knight Rider-themed projects that I supported but regrettably, they didn’t pass a review. 
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    I believe the thing about LEGO Ideas is that it gives us sets that would not have happened without it. And that’s probably the key to creating a successful project – come up with something the LEGO Group isn't likely working on already.
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
    I have two more Ideas projects in the works, both partially built. I can say they are definitely meant to be played with and that I haven’t seen their like, but then I haven’t seen all the projects out there. Follow my Ideas profile if you're curious.

  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • mechanical flip clock
  • pawe kmiec

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