Monday, June 23, 2008

TBs TechPoll 04 - Which type of new PF elements, would you like to have next?

I was mailing with Paul (Sariel) about this post from his 'S Tank', and sharing one idea I have for a TBs Poll to come...
This just pushed me to release that poll immediately...
Yes, usually when speaking about something in my plans, I feel compelled to go forward. :)

So the pool is about which new PF elements would you most like to see released by LEGO in the new sets to come?

I wrote 'sets' instead of 'TECHNIC sets', because we already saw some PF elements at Creator and City sets.
Also we are going to have new PF elements with the next Train system and for the moment we already know something about what to expect,

  • A 4x8x4 rechargeable Li battery
  • Newly designed RC handset with speed control capability
and on the next August/September TECHNIC sets,
  • PF Linear Actuator (not an electric part)
  • PF Lights
  • PF Pole Reverser

So, what would you like next?
I start the pool, with mine and some commonly known wishes,
  • A mini or micro-motor (i.e. the S-sized PF motor)
  • A PF Electric Pneumatic Valve
  • An integrated PF Pneumatic Compressor
  • New PF looking, Touch sensors
  • ...other (add comment or e-mail)

If there is something you would like to add, please just write down a comment to this post or send me an e-mail (available through my Blogger profile on the TBs right sided column).
Because I can't add a poll option at Blogger without loosing all votes to the moment, I will collect the suggested ideas for a new poll, to launch later (after suggestions validation).
Also because of that and to collect as many ideas as possible, I'll leave this poll open for longer than usual - 3 months. :P

Poll is also open to multiple selection votes, so you can choose all the elements you would like to see available for us to play with. ;)


Anonymous said...


I have marked "Other" field, too. I'd love to have some kind of long, protected wire with (preferably) AC-plugged transformator or (worse, but still fine) plug for ordinary battery box. The whole purpose is to allow for easy building of smaller MOCs, ones that do not have enough power and/or space to carry battery box together with them. Think small walking robot, or similar.

Of course, I can use existing wires (but they are short and besides, I am afraid that they can be easily damaged). I think of some kind of protected wire, with thick insulation, for example.

Best regards

Anonymous said...


I'm really curious about new upcoming power function elements.
What I would really like to see is
definitely a double acting ( or at least single acting ) 3 stage telescopic pneumatic cylinder.
it would be great to see one of those on a dump truck.

If not that than some sort of flexible wire to transfer rotation and translation movement (something like an upgraded FLEX system )

Anonymous said...

Hi again.

One more idea has come on my mind.

As a next PF element what I would like to see is pneumatic rack and pinion rotary actuator (if you don't know what it is just search on the net I know everyone has seen one) or even better,
instead of pneumatic compressor why not a pneumatic compressor that can also work as a pneumatic motor.

TechnicBRICKs said...

Regarding the 'pneumatic rack and pinion rotary actuator', I'm afraid it would be an even more specialized part, with no generalized applicability into commercial LEGO sets.
Doubt LEGO anytime goes for such specialized thing!?

Pneumatic motors are nice, but require an external compressed air source to work, which is a bit out of standard LEGO type of play.
The alternative of putting one of this dual compressor/motor parts working as compressor to actuate the motor counterpart is also a bit nonsense LEGOwise.

But of course the go into the list of suggestions for a future poll. ;D

Anonymous said...

It is possible to use pneumatic parts with PF parts. Get one PF motor to drive a compressor and another to drive a pneumatic valve. Control both from one PF IR receiver. Get the pneumatic cylinder to push a PF switch (when it is available) to stop the motor etc... . Then you can close the loop with PF controlling pneumatics and pneumatics controlling PF.
Combined PF/pneumatic parts may be too specialised. We need new PF parts to make enough money for the LEGO company or, if they will not, it is up to us AFOLs to make them ourselves!
We have not yet used the existing pneumatic parts to their full extent. Try stopping cylinders in the middle (as I have done) for digger steering, or regulating the pressures for infinitely variable closed loop control. Only when we use the parts to their fullest extent could we justify more complex pneumatic parts.
In the meantime many AFOLs are crying out for a new micro motor. It needs to be powerful enough to move rail points when geared down (I used the old micro motors for that), unless you use pneumatics for point control because they are end-to-end devices.
Pictures of my experiments with PF and pneumatics are at , user "mbellis", folder "Technic" and sub-folders "Pneumatics" and "Power-Functions".

TechnicBRICKs said...

You have done a great work with pneumatics, indeed!
I knew part of it, but never seen those pneumatic mid-point experiments. It would be great to see some videos of it working, or even the digger application, in action.

I agree with you that pneumatics can work with actual PF elements, as they worked with previous motors also. And many applications could be developed with those!

But not all the LEGO consumers develop such high building skills, while simple and high functional sets may turn to be a great hype and commercial success like the bulldozer was (I guess).
Several of the existing solutions are everything but compact to be applicable into a commercial set. Specially if you need to use several of them in one set.
Try to make a pneumatic Backhoe like 8455, remotely controlled as the bulldozer with the existing pneumatic valves.
That's why new integrated parts could be of great interest, but of course it's up to TLG to develop them or not.

TechnicBRICKs said...

By the way Mark, which other new PF elements would you like to see, apart from a strong 'S' motor?

I'd love to see a new PF style and strong micromotor too, which I believe to be possible to develop.
The custom minimotor I've shown once here at TBs is quite strong.

TechnicBRICKs said...


Hi Mark, just now I realized on who was writing here... ;D

My fault, but when I saw the name for the first time, I mentally associated with Brian Davis, who also commented here before.

I'm very pleased to see another TECHNIC guru, reading TBs! ;D ;D

Alex Campos said...

I understand pneumatics and logic circuits, but whoa, I won't even try to understand the pneumatic logic circuits you have at your gallery!

Anyway, to me the most important additions to Power Functions have already been talked about: micro-motors, batteries, proportional controllers and pneumatic valves.

But I'd like to see one big addition that hasn't been mentioned yet: radio communication. Bluetooth would be great (and a way to cater kids fans of computers, like LEGO tried to do with some TECHNIC sets), but maybe, because of licenses and such, the end price of the pieces would be too high. Failing that, why not re-using the Cybermaster protocol, just like current PF communication re-used infrared?

IR is cheap but has the huge disadvantage of line-of-sight: people operating big PF train layouts have to aim the remote for the distant train, and at an exhibition I had to do some gymnastics to be able to control my PF Bulldozer with a lot of people between me and it.

Parax said...

I was thinking... a combination compressor switch unit is what is actually required... That would give air to one of two outputs, depending on voltage direction. (a built-in pressure cutoff would make it perfect!) that way effectivly a Pole reverser switch can control one (or more) cylinders in both directions. or two Pneumatics devices from one remote reciever.

The builtin cutoff would mean it could be left powered without needing a mechanism to sense and switch. (if the pressure was adjustable via grub screw it would be better still!)

As for Motors I would also like to see a micro motor with the same form factor as the end of the LA, (that could accept the LA adapter) or be directly attached to the LA.

Anonymous said...

A smaller battery box or power source. For example, could a small box with just a 9V battery drive the PF motors? That would be cool.

Anonymous said...

In my mind the medium PF motor is already small enough for 99.99% of any applications and so we don't really need a smaller, less powerfull (and if the old micro motors are anything to go by) hughly unreliable motor.

PF pneumatic valve. Now Id'e love to have some of those. The existing way of using a separate motor and pneumatic switch is way too bulky EVEN WITH A NEW SMALLER MOTOR especially if you want it to return to the centre automatically.

Compessor. Yes id'e love one of those too. Especially one that fits right onto the front of a PF motor.

PF style sensor. Not really needed in my opinion.

Other ideas.

Remove most of the gearing down inside the large PF motor. That baby should be at least as fast and as powerfull as the RC buggy motors.

Solely pneumatic related ideas.

Double ended pneumatic with spring return central position.

Longer pneumatics.

Now i'm just going on 8^)

3 stud long universal joint either in metal (grin) or with a much beefier joint (possibly two stubs wide) or LOW FRICTION CV joint.

Leaf springs

syncromesh gears in other sizes

Smoother/remote/sequential gear change elements/linkages

helecopter cyclic/collective control elements and rotor blades

Just as a side note I would happily trade high piece counts for these new parts and more complexity. (less pins, more gears sort of thing).

Anonymous said...

it would be great to have an PF drive steering unit, which would work exactly as the one built in Electric RC Race Buggy Battery/RC Receiver Unit. I mean it would put straight the wheels by itself when button released.
Of course we can drive the wheels with normal motor, but it is always a horrible thing to straighten the wheels.

TechnicBRICKs said...

Take a look here. ;)

Something to post here at TBs, at a later opportunity!

Anonymous said...

Very smart solution, indeed!
I didn't know the orange part, could you possibly tell its name or link it at Peeron or Bricklink?

TechnicBRICKs said...


here you have it!


jeffreydamelio said...

I would definitely like to see a return to center pf pneumatic valve. I would also be interested if anyone could provide a link to one =)

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