Wednesday, April 2, 2008

LEGO Pneumatics, live and kicking

Some doubts have been raised more than once, here at TBs ([1], [2]), regarding the future of LEGO pneumatics, after the release of upcoming TECHNIC Linear Actuators.

I've been addressing some questions to TLG, through the forum from Portuguese Comunidade0937 and actual Portuguese LEGO Ambassador (Tânia Baixinho).
Actually I've already created a similar section at PLUG's forum (my native forum and LUG) in collaboration with another LEGO ambassador.

These questions are usually answered by Jan Beyer (Project Manager, LEGO Community Development).
One of the last questions was,

"New TECHNIC Linear Actuator vs Pneumatic Cylinder

Jan, which was the LEGO goal by designing the upcoming TECHNIC Linear Actuator, that we will see for example in the new Excavator (8294)?
Develop a new part, to add functionality and new possibilities or does it aims to replace the Pneumatic Cylinders role, at TECHNIC sets?"

For which Jan, answered with the following,
"It adds new possibilities and better functionality but it does not replace the Pneumatic!"

So it seems we could remain confident, these won't be the end of LEGO TECHNIC pneumatics.
... and hopefully won't be also the end of some new developments in the area (just my wish). :P

Despite the info already stated above, more or less at the same time I added this question into the new 'Ask a designer' section from TECHNIC webpage at
Now it was my turn to see one of the questions that I submitted, answered by the TECHNIC team. ;)

Naturally the answer is the same, but here I transcribe, both the question and respective answer, for you.
"Which was the LEGO goal by designing the upcoming TECHNIC Linear Actuator, that we see for example in the new Excavator (8294)? Develop a new part, to add functionality and new possibilities or does it aim to replace the Pneumatic Cylinders role in TECHNIC sets?

- FCorreia

The goal we set for the new linear Actuator was to be able to add new functions and possibilities together with the new Power Functions system. On top of that we also designed it so it can be used to add functions in models that do not include motors. It is not the idea that it should replace any of the pneumatic cylinders :-)"

See it also here, while it doesn't get too deep in the list... ;)

Last Update: 2008.Jun.13 13:48 GMT


Alex Campos said...

Woo! Yay! Wooptie-doo! Pneumatics won't be phased out!

I too wish development of the Pneumatic system doesn't end: right off the top of my head, I can think of compact Power Functions compressors, PF-enabled (and/or NXT-enabled) valves, and 4-way distributors (an expansion of the T-piece).

Anonymous said...

Awesome news!
In addition to all the pneumatic developments you guys have mentioned, I want new airtanks too, especially with PF compressors. The blue airtanks are selling for outrageous prices lately on BL (glad I bought some when I awoke from my dark ages 2 yrs ago but they still werent cheap). TLG has to see the demand for them and even if a new mold is needed realize the cost to benefit ratio.

Anonymous said...

I liked what avcampos said, That stuff sounds wonderful, I would buy that. I have a RCX and a NXT air pressure sensor that works great with compressors. I cant say enought about the pneumatic system and how nice it is that it wont be phased out and yes there should be some expanded parts like a 4-way. I personally allways wanted a double ended large pneumatic cylinder with two moving ends.

Anonymous said...

Compressor would be the best new power feature lego could offer.
2 variations
Dumb: just keeps pumping until pressure level X which is adjustable to avoid blowouts but accommodate a variable array of cylinders.
NXT controlled with multiple ports that each can be turned on/off and adjusted for pressure.

Krystian Majewski said...

Meh, I dislike Pneumatics. They are a hassle if you use them manually. You have to pump a lot to move to move something just a little bit.

Using them with NXT is even worse: you waste an entire motor just for pumping and then another for a switch . Operating the switch alone even requires some kind of linear actuator setup. And even if you manage all that you end up having the usual pneumatic problems with sticky movement, etc..

I look forward to the new linear actuator pieces! The only reason for me to recosider pneumatics would be some kind of new pneumatic muscle pieces - THAT might be cool...

krimpie said...

I am glad Lego have made the right decision. I wouldn't expect major new pneumatic developments soon, but I may be wrong about that (I too would LOVE to have PF controlled valves and compressors)
I think its great that we will be able to have both LA's and pneumatics.
Good for LEGO!

TechnicBRICKs said...

...and good for us! ;)

I see that with time, almost everybody is willing to have PF enabled pneumatic devices and with this I mean remote controllable Pneumatic Functions (funny, it abbreviates PF also).

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