Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #28 - 3S Cable Cars, at Ballabio LEGO Fest

Stefano Prosseda (SteP) and Paollo Sutto, made something huge and fantastic to present at 'ItLUG LEGO® Fest of Ballabio 2009', this weekend (10-12.Jul).
It is a complete and functional model, from an auto coupling Cable Car station of '3S' type (the last technical breakthrough in the Cable Car world).

On the videos below you can see a lot of details, and how the cars are passed across the different sections, like the real Cable Cars.

Some more videos about this model, at Channel on YouTube [1, 2]

  • 7 meter span
  • Maximum, 4 cars running in aparallel
  • 11,5cm/s car travel speed
  • 8 motors
  • 3 sensors
  • Controlled with one RCX 1.0
  • Programmed with NQC (4 multitasking applications, running in parallel)

You may read the original annoucement by the author, at LUGNET.

Made in collaboration and with the support of

Thanks Mike, for sharing this.


Anonymous said...

...that's so cool...billion gears and wheels...well done...makes me want to take a ride in it...;)

Anonymous said...

I admire the coupling and de-coupling mechanism to get it hooked on to the wire, great thing of LEGO engineering!

J.C.Barros said...

Absolutely amazing! I was so delighted, that felt like I could seat in front of it drinking bear and watch does cable cars passing by for an hour. Then, I would spend an extra "recovering" hour, looking closely to each wheel movement. LOL
Congratulations to the design engineer. Charming.

Ricardo Oliveira said...

lol I felt like J.C.Barros.. wondering a lot of things about it.

That's simply amazing! Congratulations to Stefano and Paollo!

But... just like someone asked before, I realy wonder how the couple and decoupling is done. If someone could explain, I would appreciate (the makers, for example). :-)

Anonymous said...

A really great construction, the way everything works is awesome, especially the coupling and decoupling mechanism.I wish i could build something like this.Amazing.

SteP said...


Thank you very much for your feedback. It’s a honour for me to be hosted here at Technickbricks, as well as to receive such compliments from its readers.

the coupling and decoupling works (in the model, as in the reality) as following:
- The coupling device is composed of two clamps hosted in the middle of the car ( I mean not the cabin, but the car OVER the cabin, with the wheels, which runs on the 2 track ropes) and tightened by rubberbands (white);
- Moreover, over the clamping device, there is a small black (liftarm 7 holes) rail which serves as surface for the dragging function of the wheels, because the cabin movement in the station is provided only by the rubber wheels
- A lever, with a wheel at the end, which “opens” the clamp if pushed downwards by the helical guide of the station (see below)
- A “helical” guide-profile (red, barely visible), located internally, above the black rail guides of the station
- A series of wheels, which speed is increasingly high, because the cablecar must be accelerated to the same speed of the haul rope (the rope which pulls the cabins over the line) before being clamped on it.

The coupling (and decoupling, if running backwards) works in this sequence:
1) The car is pushed along by the wheels, which run on the small black liftarm at the top of the car
2) The car is accelerated gradually (the are geared up, some gear is visible when the camera focuses on the top of the stations), and at the same time the helical guide pushes the opening arm, which opens the clamp
3) At two/third of the station, the clamp is ready to receive the haul rope, which comes from the grey pulley down in the internal part of the clamp
4) At this point, the speed of the car/cabin is equal to that of the haul rope, therefore the internal helical profile “frees” the clamp opening-arm, which causes the clamp to suddently close on the haul rope, holding it.
5) Now, the haul rope pulls the cabin out of the station, over the two track ropes.

As said, the decoupling works in the opposite way, so I think that’s quite easy now to get an idea of it.

If you like ropeways made of LEGO, I made last year another big model, which the experts of cableways call “blondin”, which actually is a cableway-system designed to serve long construction yards, as dams, for example. (installation at Legofest Ballabio 2008)

Actually, I was inspired by the Hoover Dam Bypass cableway installation, designed by the historical Italian ropeway manufacturer Agudio S.p.a., which after the Ballabio event, buyed my model – now I am proud to say that the model is hosted at their engineering department.

You can find a lot of information about 3S decoupling cableways and blondins on (aka – unfortunately, everything is in italian, so you have at least to make a google-translation, which should be enough to understand the contents.

Thank you again and see you at Ballabio 2010 with a new cableway installation (or maybe two? I have so many projects and so few time…)


Conchas said...

Thanks Stefano!
And also thanks for the compliment about the blog.

It is always a pleasure to see the author finding his work here, and come to comment.

Thank you also for your detailed explanation about the mechanics.
It would be better if we can find a video from a real model on YouTube which focus it in detail.
I've searched for it, but didn't find anything.
Have also seen some real ones, but at the time didn't took too much care on the details, but certainly wil do it the next time. ;)

Riccardo said...

Here a video of Cable Car at Ballabio 12-07-2009 :-)

Conchas said...

I meant a detailed video from a real cable car couple/decouple mechanics.

Not a video from a LEGO model, which we have already seen some.

SteP said...


I found a video where at 6:10 you can see the moment where the clamp is coupled to the haul rope. Unfortunately I didn't find a video on the mechanics itself. But you can find some picture of the two systems (Doppelmayr and Leitner) in the following links - you have to go through the pages and "google-translate", if you want to read the textes.

Leitner Type (Renon, Bolzano, Italy):

Doppelmayr Type (Kitzbühel,Österreich):

You can also try to search youtube with following keys:
3s cableway
cabinovia 3s
olympique 3s
val d'isere 3s
kitzbühel 3s
saas fee 3s
renon 3s

I think you will surely find something explanatory, but it takes some time indeed.


SteP said...

I forgot to link the video:


Conchas said...

That's a really good one!


Term Papers said...

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Web Design said...

This is not the first of your posts I've read, and you never cease to amaze me. Thank you, and I look forward to reading more.

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