Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Go build it... Digitally and win an iPad!

LEGO Technic team is running a competition from their website.
It is an initiative to promote the LEGO Building Instructions app for Android and iOS, which includes easy to follow digital instructions for some of the mid-sized models in the LEGO Technic line.

All one has to do to enter the competition is to install the app, go to the LEGO Club website and use the app to identify the LEGO Technic model whose image can be seen at the website.

You can win an iPad and/or LEGO Technic sets during four weeks (two weeks still to go).
Find the full details here.

Unfortunately the Android app is still compatible with just a few devices and not available to install with the rest, although it should work fine with much more. LEGO seems not willing to carry the tests that would allow to release the app to many more devices with confidence.

It was somehow easy to download online from Google Play store, the previous version of LEGO Building Instructions Android app, but this seems to have changed after sometime and consequently never managed to download and install the latest version 1.1.1 which adds instructions for 3 new 2015 models.

Don't think this is a true limitation to enter the competition, since should be much difficult for you to borrow an Apple device for the purpose, or even easier to find the model the image belongs too, if you are familiar with the recent LEGO Technic sets.

More difficult should be to enter the competition if you are not in one of the countries where the competition seems to be available (Belgium, Czech Republique, Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Finland and UK). All other languages where website is available, doesn't show this competition - Tell us if you succeed!

Good luck and tell us if you have won!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week TechVideo, 2015 #15 - Wheels on thin ice

We have seen Technic models performing at snow in winter, many times.

Although I don't remember to have seen a racer driving on ice. Saw it in this video from Kees Hogenhout and found it funny.

Be carefull if you try this. If the ice breaks, it was a Technic racer...


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week TechVideo, 2015 #14 - Truck with crane...

It was a long time since the last weekly TechVideo...
Saw this recovery truck with crane today by PipasseyoyoMOC, and saw it would a good excuse to try to restart gently.

It includes 4 PF motors for 7 remote controlled functions.
  • 1 M-motor: Stabilizers deployment and gearbox switching
  • 1 M-motor: Steering or crane rotation
  • 1 XL-motor: Propulsion or crane lifting
  • 1 XL-motor: Flatbed deployment or crane extension

I found it very smart the idea of combining the gearbox switching function with the stabilizers deployment. Obviously there is a set of functions that should work with stabilizers deployed and another set which does not.


Friday, April 3, 2015

BlueSmartControl enters the LEGO PF remote control race

Following on the SBrick by Vengit steps, there is another player in the Power Functions Bluetooth control business, trying to get their slice. It is named BlueSmartControl as you can see from the banner above.

I got to see this sometime back via some other fans who got a prototype to test, and it is reported to work.
Today I got to see the first videos on YouTube by these guys (BlueSmartControl Office) which are based in Vienna (Austria).
Their solution was demonstrated at a LEGO fan exhibition in Vienna few days back, with some LEGO Technic models and a LEGO Trains layout including trains of course, but also automated semaphores and switches.

In the video below we can see a 42030 Volvo L350F Wheel Loader being controlled from a smartphone, and the white BT receiver on top of the engine compartment where the LEGO IR receivers use to be.

I've faced several types of feedback, going from a good working app for Android phones, to they not selling this solution yet because they aiming for a working Android App before going public.

When we know that Vengit is struggling to make their solution stable and widely compatible with the many BLE Android phones in the market, I wonder whether it will be much easier for these guys, or they also have it working without flaws for a controlled and limited set of devices.

From above we can see what seems to be several types of prototyping cases still with crude 3D printed look and a couple of customized PF cables to connect with external devices like PF motors, lights, etc.

Before knowing about detailed specs or current performance what standout to me is the design solution itself. Knowing how scarce the LEGO PF extension wires have been, how expensive they are and the lack of viable alternatives, I just imagine how expensive the whole solution can turn with one single BT receiver to control six external devices, if only one gets connected to each port.

Looking forward to see how this BT LEGO PF remote control race will develop in the next weeks/months!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Technopedia news

This is certainly something the LEGO Technic fans have been waiting for a long time.
Yes, Eric Albrecht (a.k.a. Blakbird) told me yesterday he has been working hard in the last couple of months, and Technicopedia is now completed up through 2014!

Below there is sneak peak of all the work done for the 2014 LEGO Technic sets only.

You should go at Technicopedia and testify it for yourself and enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2015

EVShield - an Arduino Shield for EV3 Motors and Sensors

Today I bring you another Kickstarter project which may become of your interest, although it is more oriented to MINDOSTORMS enthusiasts in a certain way. And I say this because it focus on LMS motors and sensors but proposes to use them connected to and controlled by an Arduino shield - EV3Shield.

This is a project from a team behind two brands, one of which should be well know from all of us -
In the Kickstarter campaign the project appears associated with brand, but in reality the project itself is being advertised also at website.
It happens these are two brands of the same robotics development  team. One more oriented to a younger audience and schools ( which you should know better, and another best suited to address the hackers and makers developing for Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms.

Hence this projects targets the Arduino developers, but that's enough for an introduction and let's see the video that presents the project at KS.

This is an easy to use Arduino Shield for smart Robotics projects with LEGO EV3/NXT sensors and motors. It can be programed in Arduino IDE with C++.

If you find the MINDSTORMS official or 3rd party programing environment too restrictive, this may become the robotics solution/kit that fits your needs and expectations.

It features:
  • 4 motor ports (compatible with all EV3 and NXT motors)
  • 4 sensor ports (supports all EV3 sensors, most of NXT and third party sensors)

    Two of each, on each side.

  • 4 UI buttons

  • 3 Multicolor LEDs

  • And it includes 6 RC servo ports

It works with Arduino Uno, Duemilanove and Leonardo boards.

One interesting aspect is this project is already funded at this moment, because the more than 100 backers so far, already pledged almost $7.500, well above the $1.600 defined by

It looks more like an advertising strateg, than really a funding need for the development/production.
But at least you have several pledge options and most likely to get this at a more convenient price, than ordering the final product when it becomes commercially available.

Go and see the full details at EVShield Kickstarter page!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The 42040 Fire Plane, as seen in Nuremberg and new video

You might have seen these already, but I did not want failing to present them also here at TBs .

Some days ago PromoBricks shown us some extra material about the 2H 2015 LEGO Technic sets, namely the 42040 Fire Plane for which we was missing some quality images still.

All the images are apparently different zooms made on the same original photo, hence always seen from the same POV. Although we can see from them enough details about this set, mostly forgotten until these images.

These confirm a few things we already knew or have heard about, like:
- The propeller is driven from the landing gears under the floats, as one plays with the model on a surface.
- There are 5 to 7 of those new trapezoid panels in white color.
- There is a 2 cylinder engine in the front.
- There is a compartment that opens and releases several trans-light blue 2x2 round bricks included, to simulate the water flush during a firefighting scenario.

We get also confirmation some other suspected features, like:
- There are working ailerons in each wing.
- There are working elevators.
- And working rudder behind the vertical stabilizer.

These elements that control roll, pitch and yaw on real planes, can be operated from a lever that we can see at the top of the fuselage between the cabin and the vertical stabilizer.
There is also a LBG axle with towball which function some claim to be related with the water compartment doors opening, but which I'm not convinced about. Can't see how these can be opened and closed from here, unless these are supposed to be closed by hand.

The model looks really nice and with a good set of functions for its size. The color scheme is also very pleasant.

Meanwhile PromoBricks released today another video featuring the 2H 2015 LEGO Technic sets displayed at Nuremberg Toy Fair. It is basically a a new montage featuring the same previous existing material, which intends to put all relevant info and functions in sequence and the same video. Although it also adds some details and tidy bits through new scenes and images.

From this we get at least the confirmation the engine below the Arocs cabin is indeed an L6 and not an L4 as some suspected.
The new clamshell bucket made with two identical new elements, can also be seen with better detail


Saturday, January 31, 2015

More info about the 2H15 LEGO Technic sets

There is a new video from the Nuremberg ToyFair which brings new info and some confirmations about the 2H 2015 LEGO Technic sets.

If any there was any doubt still, we can now see there is in fact one large Linear Actuator lifting the tipper, from the chassis.

And we got to see the steering is indeed controlled from one of the beacons (the right one, if not both).

Then the big news are the glimpses of the rear side from each box, showing what the B-models are.

I don't know what to call B-model for 42042... Crawler Crane!?

And 42043 brings an Arocs tractor and a flatbed trailer with guess what? A pneumatic crane!

Both of them look fantastic, ant the 2H 2015 sets are just amazing! Kudos for the LEGO Technic team.

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