Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LDD (dis)continued - WeDo 2.0 elements

A little over a year ago, LEGO issued a statement that initially appeared to indicate LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) had been discontinued. The exact phrasing was:

"For now, the program will continue to be offered to anyone interested in utilizing it but please do not expect any updates regarding functionality, the adding of new LEGO elements or glitch fixes. We have decided to pursue other digital experiences"


Of course this set off all kinds of alarms and AFOLs were quick to express their dismay concerning that decision. As a reply, very shortly afterwards LEGO issued an additional statement to clarify that the LDD project was not completely dead:

"We will not be doing automatic updates on elements, however elements will continue to be added from time to time. Unfortunately we cannot ensure that all elements are made available. I can see that the message has spread widely in the community since our original statement and I hope that you will assist us in spreading this message as well. Thank you!"

So LDD was placed in some kind of limbo. No more automatic updates (whatever that was exactly meant to mean), but yes to occasional additions.One of the additions I would like to draw you attention to today is one that is related to the WeDo 2.0 set. 

WeDo 2.0 is am odd set. It is a LEGO Education product and as such is not available through the 
regular channels. Fortunately buying LEGO Education sets has become a lot easier over the last decade. Especially in Europe there was a time it was almost impossible to but their products if you were not in some way related to an educational institution. Right now, virtually anyone can buy LEGO Education products and there are many more resellers than before.

Another reason why WeDo 2.0 is odd (yet very interesting) is that it implements a new (updated) version of Power Functions (PF). As explained in my post on The Future of PF, the WeDo 2.0 FAQ at that time had the following to say about the new system:

Q: Why do you call the elements PF when the connectors are not compatible? 
A: We call them PF because it is linking up to the new platform. WeDo 2.0 is not compatible with the old WeDo. Although all future PF will be compatible with the new platform introduced with WeDo 2.0.

You can see high resolution images of the new elements and the new connector in my post on the new parts in the WeDo 2.0 set.

Updates on LDD have been few and far between since the announcement a year ago, but LEGO is still adding to the digital design platform. The WeDo 2.0 elements are available for use! The easiest way to access them was outlined by Worawith Sirisuwan in the WeDo 2.0 Facebook Group

If you have already opened LDD then go to "View" [Step : 1], select "New Themes" [Step : 2] and from the menu that opens choose "LEGO MINDSTORMS" [Step : 3]. If the entry is greyed out that means you are already in the LEGO MINDSTORMS view of LDD.


Next go to the bottom left of the screen and click on the LEGO set box icon [Step : 4]. In the menu that opens you can select the set 45300 WeDo 2.0 Core Set [Step : 5] (a curious name as there is only one WeDo 2.0 set and no add-on packs appear to be in the planning).


You now have access to all the elements in the WeDo 2.0 set, including the electronics: the PF2 Hub, motor and sensors. The location of the elements is perfectly logical (within the LDD design). LEGO made a promising start by including the inventory of complete Technic in the specific LEGO MINDSTORMS area of LDD, but only a few sets were ever included. Not a place you'd go to much, unless you are in the habit of building digital versions of your EV3 robots.

Important new elements are evidently still being added to LDD. This opens up the possibility that other new PF2 elements will also find their way into LDD. Of course, for that to happen they will first have to appear in the shops, but the next series of PF2 elements will be here in the second half of 2017!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

42063 B-Model revealed!

This year marks the 40th anniversary of LEGO Technic® and the 1H2017 line-up is not just big (with no less than 10 sets), it also includes a licensed model, the 42063 - BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

Of course we already knew as much from the toy fairs and official images that have appeared. What we didn't know until today was the B-Model for this set, and once again LEGO Technic has a surprise in store!

Today LEGO Technic reveals the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure Design Concept Hover Ride, developed in collaboration with BMW Motorrad design teams. The following is the official Press Release for this B-Model (a first in itself), as well as a number of pictures.


Munich, February 16th 2017 – BMW Motorrad partnered with LEGO® Technic to transform one of the best motorcycles in the world into a LEGO model. The BMW Motorrad R 1200 GS Adventure model celebrates innovative design and engineering. A pure building adventure in 603 pieces. The alternative model as part of the typical LEGO Technic 2-in-1 building set is now taking this icon one step further – into the future.

In a very creative and inspirational atmosphere design teams from BMW Motorrad  and   LEGO   Technic   joined   forces   and   jointly developed the
LEGO Technic Hover Ride complete with innovative functions and the signatory GS flyline allowing all fans to rebuild the BMW Motorrad R 1200 GS Adventure into a unique design concept model that removes all limits to motorcycles and allows imagination to fly without vesting technical plausibility.

“What would happen if we designed a bike together? What would happen if we removed all limits for the alternative model? So we set the BMW Motorrad and LEGO Technic design teams a challenge, a challenge that has resulted in this amazing bike. Collaboration between our two teams was driven by passion and respect for the DNA of each other’s brands. It was fantastic to see how engaged and inspired each team was by working together, but I don’t think either of us ever imagined that this project would turn out as it did. I guess it just proves that you can create anything with LEGO Technic. Even the future”, says Andy Woodman – Senior Design Manager for LEGO Technic.

“It was a great idea and a superb creative challenge to develop a fictitious model from the parts of the LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure set. Our concept not only incorporates the BMW Motorrad design DNA with typical elements such as the boxer engine and the characteristic GS silhouette, it also draws on the LEGO Technic stylistic idiom”, says Alexander Buckan, Head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design.

The life-size model of this design concept Hover Ride will be presented today during the LEGO World event in Copenhagen and will travel afterwards to different locations in Denmark and the “BMW Welt” in Munich.

40 years of LEGO Technic
The highly detailed LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure contains not only this unique design concept model as part of the typical LEGO Technic 2-in-1 building set. There is also another surprise for collectors. As the LEGO Group is celebrating 40 years of LEGO Technic this year, a specially embellished LEGO Technic element is hidden in the set. 

The "embellished element" is of course a printed 3L Technic beam, which is in all 1H2017 sets: 

Monday, January 23, 2017

LDraw All-In-One-Installer 2016-01

After the latest update of the LDraw library it was only to be expected that an update of the LDraw AIOI wouldn't take very long. Below the official announcement of this handy tool:

An updated version of the LDraw[1] All-In-One-Installer, in short AIOI, has been released.

The AIOI supports Windows XP (Home and Pro), Windows Vista or higher (all versions). On 64-Bit Operating Systems it will install in the "Program files (x86)" folder. The Installer will NOT run on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT Ver 4, 2000, or XP below SP2.

It contains the following changes:

* Update to Parts Library 2016-01 (published 31.12.2016)
* Update to MLCad.ini 2016-01
* Update to LDView 4.2
* Update to LPub3D 2.0.19.877.2
* Update to LeoCAD 0.83.2 - 9306
* Update to LDCad 1.6 beta 1a
* Update to Offline Parts Catalog 2016-01
* Addition of LICreator 3.0

You can download the AIOI from:

Home > Help > Get Started > LDraw All-In-One-Installer

Many thanks to all the programmers who contributed to this release.

Willy Tschager
(LDraw.org Content Manager)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

LDraw.org 2016-01 Parts Update Now Available

The LDraw Team has sent us the following press release about the latest update to the LDraw library. Great news as always! This updated also includes all the new WeDo 2.0 parts as well as the new LPF 2.0 parts in that set:


The 2016-01 LDraw Parts Update has been now been released. This adds 572 new files to the core library, including 475 new parts and 43 new primitives. This update also includes updated versions of the colour configuration files (LDConfig.ldr and LDCfgalt.ldr) thanks to enthusiasm of Sven v. Beuningen and the co-ordination of Willy Tschager and Magnus Forsberg.

Thanks are of course due to all the part authors who created or corrected parts for this release, including several first-time authors. The reviewers also play an important role in keeping files moving through the parts tracker and deserve just as much credit.

You can preview the new parts in 2016-01 here, download the zip-file update or Windows install package here. Alternatively you can use the LDView menu option File | Check for Library Updates... to install the update.

Please accept our apology for this being the only parts update of 2016.
The LDraw Team



What parts are you looking forward to most? What will you build?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bricks issue 15

As you may know, the AFOL scene got in the past years, several generalist magazines about this great hobby. Among them we have Bricks magazine which have now reached issue 15, available in digital and print form.



Bricks 15 edition dedicates several articles to the Technic theme, models and their own LEGO Fan Media days interview.


As well it takes a look on inventive ways to use LEGO Technic elements in inventive and decorative ways.


Hence it is worth a note here, and we are glad to share the respective press release, which probably arises your interest.


The art of movement

Bricks issue 15 takes a look into the world of Technic and how it provides movement across all LEGO disciplines

The Age of Technic is here! A discipline that often plays second fiddle, considered by most a ‘love it or hate it’ theme, yet lets not underestimate the key role it has played in the development of LEGO models and their functionality. Technic is in almost every official set we see, from Nexo Knights and Ninjago to Star Wars and Super Heroes. Technic is not purely a range on its own; it’s the go-to-guy that provides engineering solutions, structurally sound frameworks and increasingly complex playable functions. Without the Technic system, most moving elements would not be possible.

This year the theme has firmly stood up to be counted with an onslaught of huge scale sets that have taken LEGO engineering to the next level; a voice that we could not ignore and so this month, we hail the wonderful world of Technic and its applications.

A great example of boundary-pushing design came in June with the release of 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS: a set like no other, hand-packaged in a black satin box adorned with luxurious artwork and a 500-plus page instructions booklet that’s more like a car manual. Racing past the Porsche, our Technic expert Ryan Welles moves his keen eye onto another licensed set, the new 42053 Volvo EW160E. Steven Jarratt gets all agricultural with 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 tractor before Ryan reappears to examine the role of Technic within System sets, and James Pegrum takes a different approach by showing you techniques for using Technic parts for their decorative rather than their functional qualities.

This issue, we also take a look at one of the new aftermarket LEGO-compatible controllers, BuWizz, before Tim Johnson takes a visit to Verona to see how shows are done ‘Italian-style’, while Li Li introduces us to the world of making LEGO circles in part two of his MOC Recipes series. This month also see the start of our new LEGO User Group section, where we showcase models of the month from Swebrick and Communidade 0937.

As ever, there’s also reviews, masterclass builds, Bright Bricks and much more. Enjoy the issue and keep building.

With 124 pages packed full of inspirational models and exclusive features Bricks is the premier LEGO fan magazine. With a price of just £4.99, why accept anything less?


Order your copy today and enjoy the reading!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SBrick universe in continuous expansion





It has been time for Vengit to polish the rough edges from SBrick, specially on the Android app front, and add functionality to the overall solution (Firmware, App, Profile Designer).
While SBrick get matured and causes good impression/interest in the community, others have been demonstrating intent to develop their own SBrick like alternative prototypes via own Kickstarter campaigns, like BlueSmartControl and BuWizz or even quite different alternatives as RCBricks, with more or less success. So far only one of this terminated a KS campaign but without reaching its stretch goals.

Meanwhile SBrick continues to evolve with new features and options.


More Colors

Option to replace the default plastic LBG case, with brand new colored cases (black, withe, red, yellow)



You can order them in packs of four of the same color or one of each color, for a small bargain at SBrick Store.



More Programming Options

Scratch was added to SBrick ecosystem and allows to deploy pre-programed actions to any SBrick powered LEGO model.



Scratch is a free-to-use education platform available for an increasing number of robotics solutions, which uses drag and drop method to teach kids the possibilities of programming and robotics. This opens a new world of possibilities for SBrick in Education programs, something that creators of SBrick envisioned when they first imagined it.

Scratch is developed and maintained by the Scratch Team at the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab.

Read more at SBrick Wiki and learn how to connect and program SBrick from your computer here, provided that you have an adequate BLE dongle. I've done it myself and can assure you it is really easy.


More (bigger) Market

Building-up on the possibilities offered by the recent SBrick compatibility with Scratch, Vengit is expanding their target market by creating their first "SBrick - Education Pack".



This pack has been designed around SBrick, a powerful remote control platform for LEGO, to teach programming to children aged as young as 7. Immersive lessons combine physical dexterity, mechanical thinking, programming fundamentals and robotics for a learning experience children love.

Each pack contains 20+ hours of lessons divided into short 40 minute activities, as well as the instructions needed to build 12 unique models. The pack also includes a teaching guide for educators.

Expected to be available by end of August, this pack is already available for pre-order from official SBrick Store.



And still more to come... Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

4x4 A25F Articulated Hauler is a reality after all

You might remember two years ago (Aug.2014) when the 42030 Remote-Controlled VOLVO L350F Wheel Loader was released, there were some wondering and discussions about the B-model Articulated Hauler for several reasons [1].

Main one was probably the fact the B-model was presented in a two axles version (4 wheels as there weren't more included with the main model). No one was able to find any online reference that proved the physical existence of a 4-wheeled A25F Articulated Hauler, unlike its predecessors A25D and A25E which were also made available in 4x4 variants.


A25F seemed to be available only in the 6-wheeled version at the time and digging into VOLVO CE catalogs I got the impression that 4x4 versions could eventually be possible to order as customized models.



The LEGO Technic team was also aware of the fan community discussions about this topic, and promoted the production of the video below asked us to share it with you. If you look carefully you can finally see the physical version of the 4-wheeled A25F Articulated Hauler.




So it seems now that licenses are getting more and more importance to the LEGO Technic line, the relations between TLG and VOLVO CE are kept live an strong. The release of the new 42053 VOLVO EW 160E Excavator is just another evidence of that and so I believe we will continue to see licensed VOLVO models at the LEGO Technic assortment in the years to come.


Other Articulated Hauler comments were related to the unrealistic longitudinal engine position and the "cage look" of the tipper because of it not being closed and having too many "holes", rendering it almost useless. But of course there was not enough panels in the main model to build it differently.


Thanks for the heads up to the LEGO Technic team, who demonstrates to listen to their fans!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

LEGO Fan Medias Days, 2016 - LEGO Technic Interview

Last 2nd and 3rd of June the LEGO Fan Media Days took place in Billund, where some guided visits to cult spots took place, like the LEGO Memory Lane (aka Vault) in the basement of the LEGO Idea House, and the Kornmarken LEGO Molding Factory.
They were great LEGO experiences, but probably the most fantastic and valuable moments were the interviews done with some LEGO Teams (Technic, Bionicle, LEGO Ideas, LEGO House, LEGO Rebrick, LEGO Worlds and LEGO Knights) that took place in the second day at Innovation House.

TBs did interviews with most of them, and we will publish here the resulting video interviews as they get released.
As it couldn't be otherwise we're starting with the interview to the LEGO Technic Team, where we spoke to Andrew Woodman (Andy), Senior Design Manager LEGO Technic and fellow AFOL Milan Reindl, Designer LEGO Technic well known in the community.



I and Paul (Sariel) agreed to join efforts and each to produce videos with the interview footage of booth. Unfortunately the hamsters were not present to help.

You can watch and listen to what we managed to get, and even have a sneak peak on the upcoming 2H16 LEGO Technic models.




Unfortunately many of the questions received from you and prepared beforehand did not fit in two 30 minute interviews and thus remained to be asked under the video cameras. Eventually we may have another opportunity next year...

And no, there were no saucy questions about the successful 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS caught on camera.



Have fun!

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