Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

It seems like the wheel problem could be solved by a dowel rod that would keep things rolling along until they fell over? I suppose that unfortunately gives another way for the thing to get clogged up?

I'm surprised that this strategy isn't more quicksort-ish, I was expecting a first pass into warm or cool colors, then another pass into large or small lego, etc.

Everybody that hasn't sorted lego in bulk says the same thing :) The color sort would not help because in the end the idea is to get the same shaped parts in to a bin, not the same colored parts. Our brains are much better at picking a red part out of a background of similar shaped parts than they are at picking out a red part of a certain shape from a background of other red parts with different shapes.

As for the multiple passes, that's actually how it works, the first pass sorts into the 7 most common categories and then quickly works down from there. But the 'runoff' bin is by far the largest at the end of every run. After 3 passes the bulk has completely disappeared and most of the remains are sufficiently rare to be dumped into the right container individually. It goes pretty quickly: first pass: 7 bins, second pass: 7 bins again, but 49 if you put the first seven through again (but in larger volume accumulated from several runs on smaller lots). And so on. Since the bulk of the lego is in those first 49 and the value is in the remainder it doesn't take long to add value to a pile.

As for the mechanics, any obstruction, no matter how well intended will immediately become a point for a bridge to anchor to.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact