Thursday, November 27, 2014

SBrick mold in the works

Vengit team has been working hard do deliver SBrick this November.
If we think about, it means a lot to deliver!
  • Hardware PCB with BLE module and PF ports
  • Molds to produce a case on par with original LEGO standards
  • Apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
  • And finally the online Profile Designer service.

They even managed to shrink SBrick a lot since the design presened in the Kickstarter project, and added some nice extra pin-holes, as previously communicated.
This is not easy stuff as there are always many details to fix and to fine tune.

The team has made another update to their Kickstarter project, and shared a video where we can see some production tests for the SBrick case and the small adjustments still needed.




Make sure you see this video in a desktop browser, to see also the comments/captions overlaid.

I think the wait for an extra fine tuning round, in order to get the perfect product is well justified! DET BEDSTE ER IKKE FOR GODT , if you got what I mean...


Meanwhile those who're privileged and engaged with SBrick Beta testing program, can also test the first Android App to control SBrick. It is at a very early and immature stage but progress will be noticed fast. The App can be found here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

TBs TechChallenge, 2014 - Reverse 42034 (Quad Bike)



Here we're again for the 2014 edition of  the TechREVERSE Challenge, in collaboration with TLG. This is the sixth edition we do for this contest, this year covering one of the 1H2015 models.

As usual, the challenge will consist in the build reversal of one small LEGO Technic set. Among the several possibilities available we decided to go for a less obvious choice this time and hope you enjoy it.

But before we enter into more details, let me tell you which is the set chosen for the current TechREVERSE Challenge issue. It is the 42034 (Quad Bike).


And then the challenge TBs for you, is exactly this!
Reverse and build your own digital reproduction from the 42034 main model, based on the product pictures available so far.





Based on the successful experiment and results from the previous years, we decided once more to allow submissions made in any of the most common CAD tools in use by the FOLs, to model their LEGO creations (LDraw/MLCadLDD and SR 3D Builder). 
Hopefully the current situation with SR3D where support from Sergio is not available anymore, won't lead us into major problems.

Of course you may need to download and install any of these tools if you have not done it already before. Therefore some previous advices regarding LDraw installation may become handy.
Specially make sure you use the latest parts library available for the tool you're using. Otherwise it may negatively affect the ranking of your participation.

As for every contest, there must be some rules defined that will help us later to determine who's the winner. So please read them carefully.

Challenge Goal:
  • Reverse engineer and reproduce a digital model, from the Challenge proposed LEGO Technic set.
  • The reproduction should be precise (model complete assembly, parts list, colors and elements positioning).

Challenge Participation Rules:
  • Every contestant should submit his participation in the form of one single digital file, compatible with the latest version of one of the tools allowed in this contest (at contestant choice) - LDR, MPD, LXF or L3B.
    Hierarchical organization into sub-models is also allowed, for the tools supporting this.
  • The contestants are allowed to enter one single submission only (always the first one submitted).
  • Each contest submission must include one single model only.
  • Contestants must also include one render image from their model, with a minimum resolution of 800x600 pixels.
    It would be great if you have photo-realistic rendering skills, but not considered as criteria for the purpose of this contest evaluation.
  • Any eventual special elements in the model must be reproduced accordingly (e.g. flexible parts, shock absorbers, etc...). Reproduction should be as close as possible to the original.
  • All the submissions must be sent via e-mail, to the TBs mailbox setup for the purpose of this challenge, with indication of the applicant identification (full name and nickname if applicable), postal* and e-mail addresses.

    TBs TechREVERSE Challenge mailbox: challenge[at]technicbricks.com

  • We believe there are no new elements in this model. If you think otherwise you should ignore the eventual new element(s) and leave the respective space empty in your CAD model.
    The same should apply if there is a part which is not available from LDraw or LDD libraries (although you get mismatch points if you think they are not available, but they actually are).
  • Due to the tremendous success of this challenge in the previous edition, where we got more than 30 participants, and the results evaluation was pushed until June... It was decided for a different evaluation method to limit potential damage, and which I had already unveiled before, a bit.
    What it means is that evaluation effort will be shared among the Challenge organization and the participants. After the official building instructions getting available online, each participant will be requested to evaluate the mismatches of is own participation, according to the usual criteria (as listed in the section below), and send them to our mailbox, within a certain defined period (lets say two weeks - to be confirmed later).
    Then we will pick a reasonable number of participants with the fewest mismatches, and do a full verification on their mismatches for consistency purposes and will find the winners this way.
    In the unlikely event of someone trying to cheat, it won't help him much, because as soon as it is detected the mismatch count will get higher than what it was claimed, we will move straight to next selected participant.
    The advantage of this approach is that we won't have all the huge effort to count the mismatches on every single participation, instead we share this effort with each participant by asking them to do pre-evaluation of their own submission.

Classification Criteria:
  • The winning participation will be the first submission sent, that exactly matches the LEGO official model subject of this challenge: model complete assembly, parts color, elements positioning and parts list.
  • If none of the submissions fill all the criteria above, it will be selected the first submitted one, that gets closer to the original, based the total mismatches counted.
  • There are different weights for each type of mismatch as a mean to differentiate the mismatches severity and improve the evaluation fairness.
    Each mismatch will sum a certain number of negative points (penalties) per occurrence, based on the respective mismatch type. The participation with less accounted penalties, wins!

    The penalties per mismatch type are:
    5 Points - Missing parts or subparts (so that you do not get tempted to avoid guessing on hidden parts just because it may lead to more mismatches than using wrong, extra or misplaced parts).
    3 Points - Wrong parts or subparts (includes friction/frictionless mismatches).
    3 Points - Extra parts or subparts.
    3 Points - Parts or subparts misplacement (including deviation and/or orientation).
    3 Points - Wrong color used for a part or subpart (if the element is visible in some of the pictures available).
    2 Points - Wrong color used for a part or subpart (if the element is not visible in any of the pictures available).
    1 Point - Every other eventual situation not covered above (e.g.: wrong spring strength, significant routing deviation from the original on flexible elements, etc.).
  • Classification (penalties sum) may not go through all the mismatches until the last one incurred. Once the amount gets too high and difficult to evaluate consistently, that it turns clear the participation won't get among the ones granted with a final prize.

Schedules:
  • All the submissions must be sent to the mailbox above indicated, in the next ten calendar days. Thus before the 24th of November 2014, 10:00 CET**.
  • The organization reserves the right to extend or shorten the submission period, if there is a reasonable justification (e.g. too few participants, leakage of the actual model or building instructions).
  • Final results are expected to be published until February 2015, but it may depend on the amount of submissions to the contest and bandwidth availability for the required verification work.

Prizes:

  • As usual the prizes will be some of the upcoming new LEGO Technic sets, signed by their respective designers. The details about these will be announced timely.

Exceptions:
  • In the event of any eventual leak with further official details about this model, during the contest submission period, it may become a justification to close the submissions period anytime earlier.
  • Any eventual issues not foreseen in the contest rules, shall be evaluated and decided by the board of TBs editors.
  • The organization reserves the right to cancel the contest at anytime, if participation quality levels are not getting satisfactory.


Take part of the fun!





*) Your private data won't be published, or used for any other purpose other than this contest.
**) Use the link provided, to find the correspondent local time at your own Time Zone.

TBs TechChallenge, 2014 - Heads-up!

Time for another TBs TechChallenge contest. Here we're for the 2014 edition.

It is the 6th challenge of this kind we run, and it is just about to begin!
Stay tuned, and don't forget to check out TBs today (2014.Nov.14) at 10:00 CET*, to get the full details about this new edition.


Join the fun and apply for unique and cool prizes.
*) Use the link provided, to find the correspondent local time at your Time Zone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Really sad news

You may have been thinking - Is it TBs dying?
Hopefully not! Although it's true the posts here have become less and less frequent. Sometimes we need to put our focus and priorities at other things in our lives, and this have been the case indeed.
I believe this a phase that will go and the bigger focus here will return at some point.

Although something really sad pushed me in front of blogger to write a few words today...
A LEGO fan raised my attention yesterday to the fact that Sergio Reano, well known in the community for his tremendous work with SR3D Builder, passed away already sometime ago.
It immediately reminded me a similar tragic happening with James Jessiman, the creator of LDraw, where it all started many years ago.

In fact and as I found later there was a communication at EuroBricks already from 3rd October (more than one month ago) where the sad news were announced. This is buried in the "LDD and other Digital Tools" section with too few answers so far, so I believe the fact is not yet widely known in the community.

I've exchanged some e-mails with Sergio in the past and we even have collaborated with some initiatives here at TBs . I always like to have a face to put on a name, but unfortunately never met Sergio in person, neither found a photo from him online. Just know he worked for Politecnico di Torino.
I think we was a very discrete person but at the same time a very dedicated and interested AFOL. Otherwise he would have not put such a tremendous effort developing SR3D Builder for almost 9 years, always presenting us with top and unique features, we was never able to find in MLCad or even LDD.

Unfortunately I think Sergio never got the attention he would have deserved from TLG (we spoke about that a few times), and I believe he would had much to contribute for LDD with his proven knowledge in the area.

I'd like to leave here my sincere condolences to his family and friends! And to express my gratitude for the good work done.
Wish someone was able to continue his magnificent work, but I'm afraid all SR3D code may have been lost with Sergio forever.

To close I leave you with two of his last videos, where he shown us there was no limits to what he was able to do in terms of CAD modeling and animation.



As Kevin wrote on EB, "May he will find a heaven made in bricks".

Friday, October 10, 2014

TechnicBRICKs turns 7

Yeah, TBs makes 7 years of existence!

This year I'm not in the mood for statistics... I've been totally immersed building the Ultimate 8043 from Jurgen Krooshoop, for an event of my LUG next weekend (Braga BRInCKa 2014, LEGO Fan Event). We will have a surprise in the event and this was the model chosen for the show.

Hence we go direct for the cake, because time is getting scarce here. And what a cake this time!
So big we need a couple of mobile cranes to move it....



Yet another nice render from Alexandre to celebrate the occasion, and this time I bet he got inspiration from a Technic diorama I prepared for the previous PLUG public event.

I guess the cake won't last for too long, so we will with another one to celebrate the 8th anniversary nest year.

Designer's take on 42029 Customized Truck

Milan Reindl, LEGO Technic Designer has made several small videos talking about the 2H 2014 models.
The first ones were not available at LEGO's YouTube channel and much difficult to retrieve from LEGO website. It is not the first time we complained about this here at TBs and it seems like someone whispered the guys abut it...
The video for the last model (42029 Customized Pick Up Truck) was meanwhile released and also made available at YouTube. So here it is for the records.



The videos are getting better as we get a new one, and they basically cover the model functions.
I'd prefer these to include also some details by the designer, regarding the development process, certain options, new parts design (when applicable). A bit like we tried to do with the TBs TechTalk series in the past.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week TechVideo, 2014 #40 - Palla

Daniele Benedettelli created a LEGO Rolling Ball, made of Technic elements.
It is aimed to be a project for LEGO Ideas but at the moment it is still not available to support. Likely waiting for moderation by LEGO Ideas team.

Take a look at Daniele's video demoing his most recent toy.



Would you like to play?



Disclaimer:

Please avoid sending requests to post specific models on this TBs section.

We understand some of you would enjoy to see your creations featured here, but please understand that because only one video gets highlighted per week, it is impossible to accommodate all the great MOCs continuously build by the Technic builders out there. They simply won't fit all and that's also not the purpose of this blog (see the header statement).

Many of your MOCs are scanned anyway and listed for later publication when they do not fit immediately. However some remain in the backlog queue just for too long and eventually loose the relevance or the publication opportunity window. As a rule of thumb, we also avoid publishing MOCs that have been featured by their authors or other fans at some other great web places dedicated to the Technic community out there. It doesn't mean that occasionally some won't get published here anyway.


Thanks for your understanding!



Edit:
This project is mean available at LEGO Ideas website for you to go there and leave your support!


Last Update: 2014.Oct.14 23:50 CET

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Images of 1H2015 sets, plus one minus one

Finally we see some unwatermarked images of the upcoming Technic sets. For those that saw the earlier preliminary images, some of the sets show some changes. For better or for worse? That depends on each one’s tastes, I guess.

Without further ado, here they are. (click the title to see the full post)

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