Saturday, February 28, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #09 - Tractors

Certainly you remember about one image for a new 2H2009 set, which basically is a re-edition of 8284 Tractor (Dune Buggy) set, with a few parts replacement, new color scheme and one trailer added.

Because since a few weeks, we have been highlighting MOCs which somehow touch the spirit of each new 2H2009 TECHNIC sets, I'd like to bring here your attention to an older MOC from Michael Andersch.
It is not the first time that MOCs form Michael, get highlighted here [1], [2] because of their functional details and realistic design.
His adapations to this Tractor are no exception and are very good complements to the new trailer (or vice-versa...).

Michael developed a series of functional accessories to his tractor and ended with his own and larger tractor (Class Xerion).

From left to right: Front Loader adaptation, swather and mower.

The Class Xerion, uses the same developed tractor accessories.

You may find full photo details, from Franzhe's BS folders [3] and [4].

Friday, February 27, 2009

Black NXT brick, came out

After a first mistake and glimpse, LEGO NXT brick in black, is finally out.

It was announced yesterday on 'The NXT STEP' and today it re-appeared at Shop@Home North America, MINDSTORMS section. This limited release is part of the MINDSTORMS 10th anniversary.

Because it celebrates the year (1998) when the original MINDSTORMS was launched , there were also just produced a limited quantity of 1998 units, from this special color version.

It can be now ordered through S@H (US/CAN only) and BlueToothKiwi/ for $169.
To bad, it is not available for Europeans from S@H. So if you really want one, you have to risk for heavy customs taxes.
Lets keep crossed fingers and wait it could get on sale, also this side of the world (despite it is an highly priced item, even almost exaggerated).

You may find the S@H product description, copied at bottom of this post.
As you can see, this version HW specifications are the same as for the standard NXT 1.o version.

Despite being a limited edition collectible item, this NXT brick version as I wrote earlier, may also be very adequate to nicely integrate into some TECHNIC constructions, due to its black color.
Unfortunately we didn't get other NXT parts like motors and sensors, in black too.

LEGO MINDSTORMS 10 Year Anniversary Exclusive: The Black NXT Limited Edition

Now you can be the proud owner of one of the Limited Edition Black NXT micro-controllers that have been produced to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of LEGO MINDSTORMS! The first LEGO MINDSTORMS products came out in the year 1998 and have since then continued to bring fun and active building and programming experiences to millions of robotic builders across the world!

Once you have bought and received your new Black NXT you will get access to exclusive materials like a special-made program for the Black NXT, a personal certificate of ownership, wallpapers, and building instructions for special models!

The Limited Edition Black NXT, your robot’s “brain”, features a powerful 32-bit microprocessor and Flash memory, plus support for Bluetooth™ and USB 2.0!

Limited quantity available!

The NXT intelligent Brick includes:

  • 32-bit ARM7 microprocessor.
  • Support for Bluetooth wireless communication.
  • 1 USB 2.0 port.
  • 4 input ports.
  • 3 output ports.
  • Powered by 6 AA (1.5v) Batteries, not included, or lithium Rechargeable Battery (#9798), sold separately.
  • Up to three NXT Bricks can be connected at the same time; however, you can only communicate with one NXT Brick at a time.
  • This is the individual component, and does not include any sensors, motors, cords, software or other accessories; for the complete LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT set, please see item #8527.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

8263 (Snow Groomer), reversed engineered

It is happening again...
Like some AFOLs did in the 1st half, months ago for the new Mini-Dozer (8259), it seems now the time to reverse engineer the new Snow Groomer (8263), has come.

It is a larger model, more complex and it also includes some new parts, so don't expect an exact replica!
However Han did a nice work, seeking for the 8263 secrets and functions.

All this, looking into the video and photos from the last Toy Fair in New York.

According to Han, it is just a guess work to have an idea how the model might be working.
He also expects the original model from TLG, to use a different solution to lift the front tiller, which he wasn't able to figure out. Here the challenge seems to be the limited space under the chairs, to implement both movements mechanism (left/right and up/down).
You may find more photos from Han's "replica", at his BS folder.
Lets wait and see if it was good guess.

Just in case you don't remember, Han is the builder who did another high detailed Snow Groomer some months ago, and whose MLCAD model also won the MOTM contest from in August 2008.

Seeing both side-by-side, definitely this guy has some interest to this type of machinery.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TBs TechPool 10 (Results) - Which 2008 TECHNIC sets, have you bought?

Another pool came to its end, after two weeks and above 450 votes.
Now we can compare how the preferred TECHNIC sets, compare to those people most bought in 2008.

The results were not much different from what I was expecting, however I would expect a few relative positions to exchange.
Most likely the results are influenced by the type of readership we have at TBs , which make them naturally closer to the previous pool results.
Nevertheless, from these results we can conclude more than half of those o bought a 2008 TECHNIC set, bought also the Excavator (8294) and/or the Off-Roader (8297).

The distribution is much flatter, revealing an higher purchase volume on the smaller sets as expected, but one thing is for sure, the absolute winners are the same!
And each set relative position in the voting, was exactly the same too.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #08 - Wheel Dozer

As we make closer to get the 8265 and following last week model, still another Wheel something...
Well... not a Wheel Loader, but a Wheel Dozer this time (Cat 854G).

A similar type of machine, built by another TECHNIC master (Sariel). At least for the front hull articulated steering.

Find more images at Paul's BS folder.
Paul made before, 3 other of this kind, but all Loaders instead of Dozer [1], [2], [3].

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Czech LTTT 2008 Championship photos (Tructk Trial)

Not that I'm thinking to start a new TBs Week TechPhoto section,...
But found the photos bellow, from Sebastian Ečer (Shmade) [1], absolutely fantastic and worthy to highlight here.

They were taken at Czech LEGO TECHNIC Truck Trial Championship 2008 (5 Races), organized by members (Czech LEGO Forum), during last summer.
The model above was one 6x6, from Sebastian, in the competition. You may find many more pictures and all other competing trucks in the event, from this BS folder.

I also got amazed by the luxurious vegetation and the variety of challenges they managed to identify at this place and put together in this competition (but you must see the entire folder, to realize on that).

BTW, Sebastian finished in 2nd position with his trucks.

For those interested, you may click the logo on the left, to get into the official championship pages (although in Czech).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Video from NY Toy Fair, 2009

Joe Meno went to New York Toy Fair, took tons of photos and made some videos.
You may find the photos at Joe Meno's photostream at flickr. The videos have been publishing at BrickJournal, while Joe is uploading them to YouTube.

The most relevant part for you TBs readers, is a video from the new Snow Groomer (8263) and NXT 2.0 (8547), with some new details.

Prices for US market are respectively $49,99 and $279,99, which is well aligned to what was already mentioned here, before.

If visioning directly from YouTube, you may see also the high quality version of this same video.

It was interesting to finally see with reasonable detail, the walk of the new Alpha Rex version.

New Inline 3 and V8 motors, at LPE Power

Alex Zorko ( and Ivan ( have released their new LPE motors at LPEpower.

Finally they are selling a V8 configuration, after adding 1 month ago, the 2nd version of their Inline 3 LPE.

Pneumatic SYS inline 3 cylinder engine
The new 3 cylinder engine (SYS I3) is more powerful, smaller and lighter than its 3 cylinder predecessor.
Even it outperformed a V8 version back from 2005, which powered Alex's Ford Mustang at the time.

The new SYS I3 main features are:
  • The new crankshaft concept in combination with the Scotch Yoke principle of operation. The first and last crank pieces are constructed from 36 toothed bevel gears and are interconnected with a very rigid longitudinal shaft that prevents the crankshaft from twisting, which in terms greatly improves the torque output.
  • The new camless valvetrain. Sliding yokes directly move the valve rockers - there are no shafts, cams or pushrods in the new camless valvetrain, therefore a huge amount of torsional friction has been eliminated - the new SYS I3 has ONLY eight moving parts! (For comparison: a standard conrod inline 3 with pushrod valvetrain would have arround 17 moving parts)

For a complete description, please refer to this LPE webpage, at LPEpower.
This motor motor performs 1500 rpms at 4 bars (60 psi) and is selling for 130,00€.
A much more reasonable price than their predecessors, despite still a significant amount of money. However we should look at it from a partcount perspective as each of these motors include some highly priced pneumatic cylinders in the actuality and should take a significant amount of working hours to assemble, test and fine tune.

Below some videos from LPEpower YouTube channel, where you may see SYS I3 in action, inclusive the respective Mustang driveby,

Pushrod V8 engine
Now the most witted and new LPEpower first version of a V8 engine (V8-1.0).

This motor main highlights are:
  • Compact size with only 15 studs of length, while eliminating the crank end-to-end twisting and engine vibration.
  • No V8 ever run so smooth on such low rpms, while at the same time offering 1500 rpms on only 4 bars of pressure.
  • Integrates a centrally positioned balance shaft that also acts as a timing distribution gear. It prevents the crank and camshaft from twisting and enables a very precise operation even under great stress.
  • It uses only 4 valves in the engine, you might wonder why. It enables a more balanced distribution of air to the paired cylinders and drastically reduces a lot of friction. Both are the key for such a smooth operation and for high rpms in a V8.
  • A proper valvetrain geometry must pass the central point of the valve in as few degrees of the camshaft revolution as possible in order to offer the maximum air flow. During one camshaft revolution each valve spends only ~60° in its central dead point, on the other ~300° it offers full potential air flow to the cylinder.
  • The total engine weight is only 410 grams. In LEGO terms that would equal to an aluminum block and heads of a real V8 engine.
  • This engine is actually capable of a much greater speed than 1500 rpms, but it was timing finetuned for the smoothest operation on low rpms and the biggest torque output throughout the entire rev band.

For a complete description, please also refer to this LPE webpage, at LPEpower.
On the videos below, you may see this V8 in action. In standalone and inside the Alex's Mustang,

The V8 sells for 390,00€.

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