Monday, December 29, 2008

TBs TechPool 08 - Vote for the best TECHNIC set in 2008

Now that 2008 is coming to its end, lets see which TECHNIC set does TBs readers chose as their favorite, among those released in this year.



The options are:

8290: Mini Forklift


8291: Dirt Bike


8296: Dune Buggy


8292: Cherry Picker


8294: Excavator


8295: Telescopic Handler


8297: Off-Roader


8293: Power Functions Motor Set



If having more than one of these sets, that you really like and can't decide for, no worries... You can just select as many as you like from the poll.

Guess if we had ran a similar poll the past year, to chose the best TECHNIC set from 2007, it would have been much easier than now with the 2008 sets .

Actually we already know which are the new TECHNIC sets for 1H2009. Lets keep the fingers crossed, for other great and large sets to come in the 2H2009.



See the poll on the right column and... Take your vote!
You may also leave any comments to support your choice, if you have some remarks.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Week TechVideo, 2008 #52 - Truck with Skip Container

Today, a few months after having highlighted a MOC from Michael Andersch, for the first time ('MAN Dump Truck'), let me show also his 'LEGO Skip-Container Truck'.

Not a novelty, but something it worths to see, just in case you haven't seen it before.




More detailed photos from this model, can be seen from Michael's BS folder, here.

Michael also have at YouTube, some additional videos from his truck doing load/unload operations, which you can see below.




Good work, Michael!

TBs TechPoll 07 (Results) - PF u/S-Motor, which size?

One more TBs poll, came to the end!

The Power Functions System (PFS), is a very actual topic and a promising one in terms of LEGO innovation for the years to come.
So it is natural, the fans expectation regarding possible future elements adding to the PFS. The introduction of an eventual small sized minimotor (S-Motor) and/or a micromotor (u-Motor), that somehow "replaces" the old LEGO micromotor and also easily integrates with the new system possibilities, is one of these highly anticipated expectations.




During two weeks, nearly 200 TBs readers participated into this poll and gave their opinion about, which characteristics they would find more valuable in such a motor.
The results may be seen on the poll closing status snapshot below.




Below some considerations about the different poll results and comments left by our readers:
  • PF u/S-Motor, which size?
    In terms of size and maybe with some surprise, most readers selected a 3x3x3 sized motor against the other good candidate with 2x2xN size (which got a reasonable percentage of votes, anyway).
    Of course we can't decouple this result from feasibility of other reader's preferred motor characteristics, like speed and torque. However it seems the preference for such form factor, relates mainly with the inconveniences an even width motor would represent in terms of integration with the actual studless dominant TECHNIC system, which essentially odd.


  • PF u/S-Motor, which fixation type?
    Despite there is a chance that LEGO may see a 'u/S-Motor' closer to SYSTEM applications than TECHNIC, of course TECHNIC fans (presumably most TBs readers) are looking into this issue from their TECHNIC builder perspective. So the vast majority prefer to get a pin based connectible element, rather than a stud/tube based.

    To achieve this into a small 3 or 2-wide motor we have two options or a combination of both:
    a) increase length to accommodate front pinholes like in M-Motor, and/or rear spacing for transversal or longitudinal pinholes or even a transversal axle hole through end (pin connectivity allowed here too).
    b) decrease inner width available for the motor or internal gearings and apply half deep side pinholes to use with 3/4 pins or full pins and thin beams, at both front and/or rear ends.
    All these, would allow for very versatile motor connectivity options, however sacrificing a bit, the motor size and/or the performance.

    Another idea as an interface to fix such small motors (mainly, the 2-wide variant), could be to use the same fixation type as used in the Linear Actuator (LA).
    It wouldn't help to keep motor the smallest possible, as it needs 1L (plus another 1L protruding beam) just for the fixing structure which could hardly be used for other motor internals like gear reduction. But it gives some extra flexibility in terms of connectivity.
    Then, existing LA brackets would be usable for fixing the motor to different types of structures and applications.
    Connectivity to the actual LAs wouldn't be straight forward, but nothing which couldn't be solved by using two 61905 in a back-to-back setup, or any new shorter bracket combining both.

    A screw type plastic head (with some locking capability) to fix new brackets, would be also a possibility, but probably it is out of LEGO parts design principles and rules.

    Depending on the motor form factor chosen and connectivity interface, it could be also developed some kind of adapter, to make it stud friendly for SYSTEM applications.


  • PF u/S-Motor, which torque?
    Once more we got the specific wish from the TECHNIC builders in large majority, which require an high torque motor.
    Clearly it shows, their intended applications for this motor, won't be turning radar dishes into a SYSTEM MOC or similar.


  • PF u/S-Motor, which speed?
    Here the largest preference, goes for a low speed motor. Probably the most consensual option, between TECHNIC and SYSTEM builders.

In my personal perspective and from a functional point-of-view, there is space in the PF motors range and possible applications, for several extra motors like those on the list below. Of course, there must be a profitable business case and official LEGO sets needing them in quantity, to justify each one.

u-Motor (2x2x2) - If two different adapters would be made available, it could fit both SYSTEM and TECHNIC applications.
For the TECHNIC builders, one of its most natural applications could be a direct drive for the new Linear Actuators, avoiding complex and space consuming transmissions (just an electrical PF cable, would remain to be routed).
Very useful for this application, even if that means the motor should become longer (2x2x3 ou 2x2x4 sized), because of torque requirements. But doubt on it, as LAs are low torque devices and probably their internal clutch will actuate first.
This is in my perspective, the main driver for a 2-wide PF motor within TECHNIC building. LAs are also 2-wide and both would make a perfect fit in terms of aesthetics, at machinery lifting arms/booms, where space is always not in excess.

S-Motor (3x3x3) - Medium/Low power in a compact form factor, for space efficient/restricted designs.
Apart from size, it would distinguish itself from the u-Motor version above, mostly by the options available for fixing it.

L-Motor (5x5x2 or 5x5x3) - Medium/Medium-High power motor, where available space is a problem lengthwise, but there is enough room for a 5-wide motor.



Note: in order to follow the correct parts size designation and convention at other places, each of the referred motor sizes in the original poll and above, should have been according to the correspondence in the list below:
  • 2x2x6 >> 2x6x2
  • 2x2x4 >> 2x4x2
  • 2x2x3 >> 2x3x2

  • 3x3xN >> 3xNx3

  • 5x5xN >> 5xNx5

Saturday, December 27, 2008

NXT brick, in black

The NXT brick got a black edition . Already on sale, at Shop@Home US.
Hopefully it will appear also at S@H for European countries in few days. It uses to take a bit longer, this side of the Atlantic .

Despite the intelligent brick being the only NXT part to get in black, guess it may be useful for TECHNIC builders who may want to use it mainly to control PF motors, lights, etc... It would make a better color fit, to the color scheme of most usual TECHNIC MOCs.

However 169,99 USD, just for the brick, is kinda prohibitive price...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

New sets and parts, already available from S@H

Most of the 1H2009 TECHNIC sets, are already available to order from S@H. For the moment, just the 8256 (Super Kart) is still missing.

There, you may also already find the new PF parts released during 2008, to be ordered individually (PF Control Switch; PF Lights and the PF Extension Wire 20", released with Vestas Windmill set).




Have a good shopping!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

8264 Hauler, B-Model Instructions made available

TLG made available, the 8264 (Hauler) B-Model building instructions, online!
With these you will be able to build a PF motorized Tow Truck, with a functional lifting platform.

You may download the building instructions, from here, at the TECHNIC Downloads webpage for B-Models.


Have Fun!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 Season Greetings

With this 2008 LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, commemorative brick, the TBs team wishes to all LEGO fans and their families, a Merry Christmas and Happy New 2009!

Also another successful year for TLG, plenty of new products and ideas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not much, but still about 2H2009 sets

Kiddiwinks, the same online South African store, where last year we first saw the prices for 2H2008 TECHNIC sets, listed already some of the sets expected for 2H2009.

At least we got to know their references and again comparative prices, which already give us some indications about these sets.

  • 8258, Crane Truck - 1.800,00 Rands exactly matches the price of the 8275 Bulldozer at the same website, which should make this as the new TECHNIC flagship for 2009.
    Some rumors also point this set above the 1.800 parts, like its presumably predecessor 8421, Mobile Crane.
    Is it a coincidence, or will we get a PF redesign of it . No one yet knows (well, some should, but not us...).
  • 8265, Wheel Loader -1.080,00 Rands, so a bit above the 8295 Telescopic Handler (2nd largest TECHNIC set in 2008).
    Maybe this Wheel Loader will get a higher part count, or includes some PF elements too.
    We will see...

The rumored 'Pisten Bulley' or 'Snow Groomer' is the only we don't know nothing yet, but it seems, it will be the smaller TECHNIC set for 2H2009.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Week TechVideo, 2008 #51 - GBC Trio

This week a very original video from a GBC trio, by Andrew (Kitsu).

See!

and Listen...


Under the contemporary classical sound of Balanescu Quartet and track Robots (Kraftwerk cover) from album Possessed, you may experience a different way of feeling a GBC display.
Fantastic image, composition and sound combination.


Thanks Andrew, for mailing this.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LPE on sale, by nicjasno.com and idic.at

Alex Zorko (nicjasno.com) and Ivan (idic.at) decided to start business and opened an online shop, to sell their LEGO Pneumatic Engines (LPE).
They have been designing and building Pneumatic Engines for a long time and it seems lots of people who follow their work and frequent RPM records, have been requesting for these motors to become on sale.

LPE Power (the store), started with two small and powerful inline engines. An 'inline 3' and an 'inline 4', both capable to exceed speeds of 2.000 rpms.
They were designed to be very reliable, powerful, fast and small, according to their authors words.




These are a bit expensive IMHO, but they also are 20% off, till the 5th of January. So it is the right time to order, if you want one.

You may find the online LPE store, here.


In the future, they also expect to sell different configurations and larger engines.

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