Watch this Lego gearbox turn to see how CVTs work

It’s amazing what you can learn with Lego.
Poison: Bricks Master Builders via YouTube

Lego blocks are pretty awesome, they can used to recreate iconic airportslet you build your dream car and can now be used to show what’s happening inside your car’s transmission. That’s thanks to a social media user who has made it his mission to explain complex engineering with fun plastic toys.

Instagram user Bricks Master Builders has made a name for itself by building complex models from Lego bricks. In the past, this has included recreating engines, pistons, and even a working fan to make itself cool on hot summer daysNow they’ve tackled the humble continuously variable transmission.

The CVT is what many automatic cars use instead of a traditional transmission that is full of cogs and gears. Instead of stepped gears, the CVT uses a pair of cones to provide a theoretically unlimited number of gears. But how does it do that?

Well, Bricks Master Builders is here to show you their box of Lego bricks. For the model, they use two cones made of Lego bricks and connect each to an axle: one simulating the input from the engine and the other the output that would normally go to the wheels of your car.

LEGO Technic Simplified CVT

The two cones do not touch each other, but are connected by a band that wraps around both cones. Using a simple Lego stickthe belt is moved over the cones, which changes the speed of the output. When the belt is on the thickest part of the input cone and the thinnest part of the output, it spins much, much faster. Conversely, when it is on the thinnest part of the input cone and the thickest part of the output, it spins much slower.

It may not be the most complex Lego model we’ve ever seen, but it does give you a good look at what’s going on under the hood. your beloved Subaru.

If this piques your interest for a more technical explanation, we have a great deep dive into how honda built a cvt for its mountain bikesand another post here looking at the wild technology that goes into Koenigsegg’s construction seven-clutch gearbox.

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