Friday, November 30, 2007

...where air is power

Wanna become an expert into use of TECHNIC pneumatic elements?

Take a look at 'CSSOH's LEGO Pneumatic Page' and learn all you need about.

Excavators "Hall of Fame"

Well... it is not a secret nor the first time, I confess that 'Excavators' are my favorite subject to see built with LEGO TECHNIC.
Take a look at some, photographed from LEGO events as detailed below and some other sources I've been finding along the time:

LIEBHERR A 314 Litronic Mobile Excavator, model at '75 years of LEGO' event in Billund, 2007.Aug.9-11

See more, starting here and here (Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, TLG CEO, playing with).

Full external pneumatic control.

Edit (2009.08.29):
Found later, this to be a creation from Beat Felber, who runs the Engineering with ABS website.
Find many more and a video about this model here, or the author's announcement at LUGNET.
This model wasfirst built, back in 2005 to exhibit at the Suisse Toy Fair.

VOLVO excavator model on top of a "Volvo FH16 - Goldhofer trailer combination", at the '75 years of LEGO' event in Billund, 2007.Aug.9-11

See more images, starting here.

Edit (2009.08.29):
Later I've also found this is a model from Anders Gaasedal, a well known Danish TECHNIC and Model Team builder.
You may find some magnificent models at his website "LEGO Trucks and Cranes", however not this Excavator which was left as an ongoing project in Jun.2005 and never fully documented.

A comment left at this post by a French builder, raised the question about origin of this excavator pneumatic cylinders. I'm not sure whether they are functional or not, however I believe they are. Likely custom made and not a LEGO prototype as I've first suggested to be one possibility in the comments section too.
I have meanwhile contacted Anders, asking for more information (a video would be really nice...) about this model and its pneumatics.

Edit (2009.09.03):
Have meanwhile just realized , that Anders turned LEGO Designer in between [btw a TECHNIC designer (Goose Valley)], so it makes very unlikely to get an answer with further details about the cylinders. But on the other way it would make our chances to get a decent official TECHNIC Excavator with longer pneumatics in the future, somehow higher...

Edit (2010.02.15): 
I got an answer , so here I leave some quick-specs about this model functions, and the confirmation that this is a full functional model.
  • Individual driving on each track, driven by one 9V motor each.
  • One 9V motor for turning the superstructure.
  • Two 9V motors for driving the 4 cylinder pump. Also equipped with pressure-valve.
  • The boom is fully pneumatic driven with non-lego industrial cylinders (customized to fit into the LEGO system).
  • The end of the boom is equipped with pneumatic quick-shift, which allows for 'remote controlled' shovels exchange.
  • The model can be driven both by batteries (also used as counterweight) and with external AC supply.
  • The 'remote-control' is equipped with 4-way joysticks.

LIEBHERR R964 model, from Fabio Sali, at LEGOWorld 2007

See more about this model from here.

Electric control with Power Function motors.

Initial model was upgraded with PF motors and newest treads.
Most photos taken before adaptation to PF motors, but also a few after!

And off-course these other ones below, already shown here at TBs , sometime ago.

JCB JS220 model by Jennifer Clark, completed in 2003.

Model details here.

Full external pneumatic control with external compressor.

And another LIEBHERR model (R996) from Thomas J. Avery, shown at his TEXBRICK website.

Model details here. This model was finished and exhibited the first time in 2002 at BrickFest (Oregon, US).

Full external pneumatic control with compressor placed internally to the model.

Later Additions

LIEBHERR R974B (Top) and LIEBHERR A904B (Bottom), are another example of great excavators made with LEGO TECHNIC for the time.
These were built by Dennis Bosman (another well known Dutch TECHNIC and Model Team builder) and completed respectively in 2000 and 2003.

My main note about these models, would go to highlight that pneumatic cylinders are dumies made of non-LEGO plastic and aluminum pipes. Thus the way Dennis imagined to lift both excavators' boom and operate digger arms or bucket (in one model), was using ropes coiled into a motorized reel or fishing rod.
If you take a close look into these models images on the right side, you will be able to find the mentioned ropes.

You may also find full details about this models, at Dennis "LEGO Trucks & Heavy Equipment" website. Namely here and here respectively.
A video from the latest A904B model in operation, can also be seen from YouTube.

CASE CX800, an 80t excavator made of LEGO by a French builder (pithivier57) in 2009.

Main characteristic of this excavator, are its 4 custom made extra long pneumatic cylinders.

You may find some other photos from this model at the author's BS folder and also several demonstration videos can be seen at YouTube, from which this is an example.

If you know any other good example, please feel free to tell me, or to add it into the comments.

As this is still of of my favorite posts here at TBs , I decided to make it a kind of 'Hall of Fame' for some best TECHNIC Builders excavators or even excavators that somehow stand. Thus started to add some I found meanwhile, immediately below Thomas' model (the LIEBHERR R996), as "Later Additions".

Also added some information meanwhile found, about Gaasedal's VOLVO model.

Last Bottom Update: 2009.Aug.29 17:24 GMT

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Blackbird's (as he calls himself) initiated a website project, fully dedicated to all TECHNIC sets, LEGO have ever released.
This intends to be a reference repository of information, with technical descriptions and pictures of each TECHNIC set, along with an historical perspective.
It is well organized and every set can be found, indexed by set number, category or year in which it was released.
For each set you will be able to find a description of features, photos and animations in some cases.

Despite started, there is a long way for completion that Blackbird is running alone. At the moment, work is done for sets released until 1980 and almost 200 sets to go, that we will certainly be eagerly waiting for.

Keep the good work, Blackbird!

Take a look at his TECHNIC sets collection. I have many TECHNIC sets, all the biggest ones and those I fell to be the most important/representative, but this guy seems to have even more!...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More and more additions from iLegos

iLegos is proposing new elements, for you to add at your Pneumatic TECHNIC constructions.

The new product range includes LEGO compatible costum color hoses (red, blue, yellow, clear and white). These have the same internal and external diameters as original silicone LEGO hoses and complement the iLegos standard offer of 'black' and 'light bluish gray' hoses.

With hoses like these, you can:
- Decorate your construction with colored hoses according specific model needs or your interest.
- Easily identify different air flow circuits by color.

iLegos is also proposing costum pneumatic hose junction elements with 'T', 'Y' and 'L' form factors. This is an extended offer in comparation with LEGO standard 'T' element, which may help you to achieve optimized hoses distribution, specially for the 'Y' parts and 'L' parts (this would also allow to pass hoses through tight curved spaces).
All parts are offered in trans-clear color, as seen at photo on the side and are compatible with standard LEGO hoses in terms of sizes i.e. hose diameters).

All above mentioned products, can be found here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Any further questions about Power Functions?

So, you have already seen pictures of the 8275 Bulldozer, maybe even bought/received one, and saw a lot of material about the new Power Functions online, yet still have unanswered questions?

Well, LEGO thought about that, and released an FAQ document. All your remaining questions about the Power Functions system should be answered in this document!
Don't forget the Winch brick in an upcoming Creator set (although I suspect it's not electric), and perhaps some Light&Sound pieces, and even maybe pneumatic components! Of course, this last part is just speculation, but who knows...

Friday, November 9, 2007


Do you have ideas to create TECHNIC models, but don't know exactly how to do it?
Or don't know how does things work in real life?

Just take a look at HowStuffWorks!

A great website where you can find comprehensive details about working mechanisms, for many of those things you cross everyday, but don't know inner details or how do they really work.

Would like to highlight the auto and engineering sections, but of course there is much more that you can find there.

See here, just a few great examples:
- How Differentials Work
- How Car Engines Work
- How Car Steering Works
- How Brakes Work
- How Helicopters Work
- How Gear Ratios Work
... and many more.

It's good to build. Build Well!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Take a look at another private website dedicated to LEGO TECHNIC constructions!
It calls 'TEXBRICK', belongs to Thomas J. Avery and can be found here.

There you can find very interesting buildings, from cranes to excavators and bridges, fully documented with photos and details of construction.

Also very interesting thoughts, ideas and techniques can be found inside.

I found specially interesting, the maths and Excel file for modeling truss structures, specially bridges. Find more here.

Very funny, was one of author's comments at the FAQ page (from a former website version, not available anymore)

"- When you have kids, will you let them play with your Legos?
No. I'll buy them their own and then I'll play with theirs!"

... don't know why,... but I fully agree!...

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