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10K CLUB INTERVIEW: GREAT BALL CONTRAPTION SHOWCASE BY jazlecraz

Welcome, everyone! Today we have another incredible addition to the 10K Club. Meet Jared Le Cras, a.k.a. jazlecraz, and his GREAT BALL CONTRAPTION SHOWCASE project. If you are a fan of interactive and playful LEGO designs, this idea will not disappoint! Show your support and comments in the section below.


 

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you?
    My name is Jared Le Cras, a.k.a. ‘jazlecraz’, for anything LEGO-related. 

     
  2. Where are you from?
    Perth, Australia.
     
  3. How old are you?
    37.
     
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I manage an engineering team designing heavy-duty mining equipment.
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    This may come as a surprise, but I’m quite fond of LEGO. But video games and basketball also both rate highly. 
     
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I can be found as ‘jazlecraz’ on Instagram, YouTube, and Flickr. 
     
  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?
    The MOC that I’m probably most proud of is my Minifig scale, Millennium Falcon. I had a dream of creating a stud-less Falcon and it took a LOT of time and effort to work out a way to capture the iconic shape of the ship without showing any studs. The resulting model is dense, but I’m proud of the internal engineering that allows me to hang it on my home office wall. 
     
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    I was a big LEGO fan as a child and was particularly keen on the Spyrius sub-theme. Building my own spaceships was great fun. However, I sold most of it during my teen years (devastating in hindsight!). In my twenties, a couple of sets caught my eye and I was back in again. However, it has been working on my own models that I have found the most rewarding.  
     
  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 find that it’s a great way to unwind after a long day of working and raising a young family. I particularly enjoy digital building because it suits my circumstances since it is easy to pick up and put down. Finishing a digital design and then sourcing the parts to build it in real life is particularly rewarding.  
     
  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?
    My favourite theme (if it counts as a theme…) is the Ninjago City series. Those buildings are amazing and have inspired me to be more creative in my parts usage and to embrace the use of color! 

     
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    I would have to say set 76989, the Tallneck from Horizon Forbidden West. I think that set is as close to perfect as you can get. Great accuracy, beautifully presented, fantastic Minifig, and a reasonable price. What more could a LEGO enthusiast ask for? Plus it was the perfect match for my Thunderjaw MOC, I just had to add a matching base. 
     
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Recently it has become PLATE 1X1X2/3, W/ 1 KNOB, ROUNDED (6424674), it opens the door to so many great new building techniques and since it is so new, there are plenty more to discover! 
     
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Overall, I think it would have to be Hannes Tscharner (Marshal Banana). His builds are consistently awesome and I’m a fan of the subject matter he favors. He doesn’t post builds very often, but when he does it is well worth the wait.
     
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by? 
    I guess Bricklink counts as an official LEGO site these days, so I’ll drop down the list to my other two favorites – Brickset and the Brothers Brick. I visit both daily since they so nicely complement my love of both official and custom builds. 


     

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    I’ve been a fan of great ball contraptions for a long time, but it was only recently that I finally tried to build one myself. And it did not disappoint! There is something so satisfying about watching an overly complex mechanism perform a simple task.
     
  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?
    The process took a few months from the original concept to the working model. I didn’t have much display space available, so I had the idea of combining as many GBC mechanisms as possible into a closed circuit with a small footprint. I researched a lot of different GBC mechanisms to find the ones that were compact but also visually impressive. I designed each mechanism digitally and combined them into a closed circuit before doing my first test build. Once the mechanisms were refined and reliable, I moved on to the aesthetic part of the design, ordered all the necessary parts, and built the final model. 
     
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    Getting all the mechanisms functioning off a single input crank, while keeping a relatively ‘modular’ design that allowed each mechanism to be tested individually was quite the challenge and required many design iterations! 
     
  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?
    This is actually the second time this project has been submitted to LEGO Ideas. The first attempt failed to reach 4000 votes and expired, which was very disheartening. I submitted the design because I was certain that there were countless GBC fans out there who would love to see a GBC design hit 10,000 votes, but the project just didn’t get the votes I was hoping for. Despite the disappointment, I eventually decided to resubmit. This time though, the community really took notice and the project flew to 10,000 votes. I wish I could go back and encourage myself at that low point that the design was capable of 10,000 votes and feel proud even though the first attempt failed.  

     
  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? 
    It ended up being a fairly even split. Designing, testing, and building the final model took a few months and it took 15 weeks to hit 10,000 votes. However, if you also take into consideration the failed first attempt, it has been a long journey that started back in 2020! 
     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? *
    There was a massive feeling of relief and pride that after only 15 weeks the idea had reached 10,000 votes. There was also a strong sense of endorsement from the LEGO community which was very encouraging. 
     
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model? 
    Exactly 3258 + balls!
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    I really enjoyed including the tributes to the classic LEGO themes in each module. Deciding the most appropriate theme for each mechanism and attempting to tell a simple story was a lot of fun. 
     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    Stud.io – highly recommended!
     
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    No stickers or custom prints here. 


     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    If you are attempting to submit a design that doesn’t rely on third-party IP, then it’s all about creating an eye-catching main image. Perhaps the biggest change I made between my failed first attempt and successful second attempt was using a moving main image. The movement draws attention and if the idea is solid, it should retain that attention. 
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    I made some posts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit. But the greatest exposure came from being selected as a staff pick. So a big thank you to the Ideas team for that! 
     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    Hands down it is 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay! The design is already amazing before you even consider the fact that you can transform it into a ship. Incredible!
    I’m also really impressed by Matthew Esposito’s Godzilla build. I’m hoping it isn’t overlooked in the upcoming review results!

     
  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 am forever grateful to the Ideas platform for bringing to life many ideas that would otherwise have never existed. That is definitely the greatest attraction – the ability for the LEGO community to clearly proclaim what they’d love to see next in LEGO form. My tip to those thinking of submitting ideas is to get in there and have a go. It is easy to become your own worst critic and the LEGO community is an awesome place to express your ideas. 
     
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
    There’s nothing in the pipeline at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll be back again at some point, it’s such a fun experience. In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of submissions in store for Series 3 of the Bricklink Designer Program, but no spoilers until they’re revealed! 
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • great ball contraption showcase
  • jazlecraz
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