Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TBs TechTips 27 - Torsion bar suspension

The torsion bar suspension, is something being used in the automobile industry for long time. However it is a technique you may have not seen reproduced in a LEGO model before.

"A torsion bar suspension... is a general term for any vehicle suspension that uses a torsion bar as its main weight bearing spring. One end of a long metal bar is attached firmly to the vehicle chassis; the opposite end terminates in a lever, mounted perpendicular to the bar, that is attached to a suspension arm, spindle or the axle. Vertical motion of the wheel causes the bar to twist around its axis and is resisted by the bar's torsion resistance. The effective spring rate of the bar is determined by its length, diameter and material."

Julien Florent (Yurikostar) presented his solution, during the latest FreeLUG meeting, applied into one automobile chassis.

Simultaneously reliable and simple.

Thanks for the tip, Didier.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #39 - Pneumatic Fever

It looks you guys, are all quite excited about the pneumatics return... so I decided to give you a pneumatic overdose and highlight here today, both one automatic Hexapod and one automatic Octapod from robolegoenthusiast.

Amazing, isn't it?

I'm also a fan of the many Kevin Clague's [1, 2] pneumatic multi-leg bugs.
However many of their correspondent online videos, are not yet available from a content system suitable to make them embedded here. So I've just selected a few from those available, to give here a brief sneak of Kevin's creations too.

You may find a few more videos at his YouTube channel and a lot more detail about other pneumatic projects at his website (Kevin Clague's LEGO Page).
If you would like to initiate on automatic pneumatic sequencing techniques it may worth to take a reading on this other Kevin Clague's tutorial.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TBs GuestBlogger 01 - LTEC @ flickr

Something that I've been thinking about, is to bring into TBs the possibility for some of you to sporadically send your own content proposals. This would be something like a GuestBlogger section as we have seen for instance in 'The NXT STEP' blog.
So, even before going to write any suitable guidelines for guests to subsmit their posts, I decided to give it a try.

Sometime ago, Jacob wrote me about how he has been trying to get the TECHNIC community in one place on Flickr, and how it has been difficult.
He was thinking how to offer an alternative, though: only a small portion of TECHNIC builders actually tag their models "lego_technic", so it may not be the most reliable method of collecting images. Jacob then mentioned there is, however, a group that was created a while ago which has been slowly growing for some time: LTEC.

I found it interesting and worthy to mention here, so asked Jacob to write a few lines about the subject, and here it goes.

Jacob writes:

Flickr is a photo-sharing site that the LEGO SYSTEM community began migrating to a few years ago, the result being that you can find builders of nearly every theme. One exception to this is TECHNIC builders. For some reason, very few seem to have joined, resulting in a small presence on the site. But now, that's starting to change, and you can help! Why join Flickr? Because it is an effectively-designed site for LEGO:

  • On each photo, in addition to text comments, users can add things called notes. Notes are outlines of boxes that are placed directly on the image and display a message when you hover your mouse over them. Don't worry about images getting cluttered up, though, because the notes disappear when you move your cursor off the picture. Perhaps you can already see the usefulness of this: instead of trying to type out exactly what you're talking about when commenting on a model, you can simply point to it!
  • You can directly control the photos you see. If you see a builder on Flickr that has a lot of things that interest you, and you'd like to see his further work, you add him as a Contact. As your contacts add photos to their pages, all of the new images show up on a single page, making keeping track of everything new very easy.
  • It can work in harmony with Brickshelf and MOCpages. Some prefer not to use Flickr as a full gallery, because the aforementioned sites already serve that purpose quite well. However, a very effective hybrid system is to upload a single image to Flickr, and link to a gallery on a different site.
  • There is already an established community of great builders. When starting your list of contacts, you will have no shortage of excellent builders to choose from (except perhaps in the TECHNIC field ).
  • It is not a regional site. Members of the TECHNIC community from all around the world can meet in one place. Sure, there are still language barriers, but a picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it?
So, please consider creating a Flickr account. Yes, it takes a couple of minutes, but I guarantee you that it's where the rest of the community is moving, because it works so well. If you do join up, join the LEGO TECHNIC group, LTEC, and use the member list as a basis for finding contacts with similar interests.

At Flickr you may either add photos or videos from your LEGO creations.
As an example of a model linked into LTEC group, lets take a look into Jakob's new 6x4 truck base below (click on the image to jump into the corespondent video).

flickr it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1H2010 - TECHNIC Team unveils 8049 (Tractor with Log Loader)

Once more, this semester we all have seen leaks from images about some new 2010 TECHNIC sets, popping in the internet during the last few days.
Effectively this is not the best way of getting information nor any surprise at all. Much better if we get it in time, officially and through proper quality images, isn't it!?

So, and because the TECHNIC team is also concerned with this phenomenon, while they also believe LEGO should be driving the novelty effect, TBs got today a double surprise to share with you, all the TECHNIC fans worldwide.

  • At first and also in first hand, some preliminary images from the new 'Tractor with Log Loader' (8049), which will be launched in the beginning of 2010.
  • Second the official confirmation that pneumatics are back to the mainstream TECHNIC sets.

As you may see, these are still confidential and watermarked images, but we got the permission to publish them and so they are official.
This unprecedented fact in the TECHNIC theme, is a strong sign of the commitment the respective team is putting towards its fans and how they have been listening what the same fans have to say.

Below also some words and information, from Monica Pedersen (LEGO Technic Marketing Manager) about the new product, that you should want to read.

"As a special treat we would like to share a picture of one of the LEGO Technic novelties from 2010 with you. With the launch of the 8049 Tractor with Log Loader LEGO Technic is re-introducing pneumatics into our models. We have been listening to on-line discussions and wishes from our adult fans for some time, and as a consequence we decided to look into how we could use pneumatics in a new LEGO Technic model. After having tested different models with our core target group (boys 7-13) we found out that they really liked being able to play with pneumatics in this particular model and this is why the 8049 Tractor with Log Loader is launching in 2010.

The Designer behind the model is Lars Krogh Jensen and he has been very excited about building with pneumatics again as it gives the Designers some new possibilities of adding functionality. It will also be very interesting to see how the product will be welcomed by our adult fan group, who has been asking for pneumatics for quite some time."

Personally I'm very happy with the pneumatics return and hope the assortment of these elements may increase in the future.
Also have enjoyed a lot, the color scheme used in this model.

Now you just need to collect a dozen of spare logs, to get the complete fun play!
It is also up to you now, to dissect the model images and find all the details about it, but please do not forget to leave your findings and opinion into the comments to this post. Now you know... someone inside is listening to you.

I believe there will be more related news, but they will flow as TLG determines, hopefully!
Stay tunned and enjoy!

Thanks Monica, in the name of all the TECHNIC fans.
And last but not least, thanks Lars for having designed this set attending to the fans wishes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #38 - Solar walking robot

Already a bit after CW38... but still something that I was planning to post during the last weekend.

Today a small Robot by José Pino, mostly made of LEGO. I said mostly but it could have completely made of LEGO if he had choosen to use the LEGO Education solar panel (9912).

This is a 4-legged walking robot driven just by a solar panel, a motor and gears (no RCX, nor NXT were used).
By reading some of the author's articles about this creation, you will understand how it works but also the difficulties and successes achieved across a few versions [1, 2, 3, 4].


Sunday, September 20, 2009

TECHNIC 1H2010 - Helicopter (8046) and Buggy (8048)

Only two days ago the first image of the upcoming 8047 Compact Excavator appeared, and now also two other 1H2010 sets show up to the public!

On this Flickr set there are many pictures of upcoming sets, among which there are the 8046 Helicopter and the 8048 Buggy.

8046, Helicopter:

From the colour pattern, I assume this is a rescue helicopter. That would explain the two knobs on its left side: probably one for the rotors (why not a crank, why?!) and one for a winch (which can actually be seen on the Buggy pictures below). It would be silly to have a knob for the main rotor and another one for the tail!

8048, Buggy:

It looks an evolution of the 8296 Dune Buggy, with front suspension added. From one of the pictures, we can see at the rear a glimpse of a piston engine; let's hope there's also rear suspension!

So, three out of five new sets have shown their faces, all of them medium-sized. So, there are still left to be seen the smallest and the largest sets for next semester… can't wait for those!

Meanwhile, other pictures by ForceMaster appeared in Eurobricks, which clear some doubts about these new sets, especially the V4 motor, rear suspension and functional steering wheel on the Buggy.

Also the new shots make these models look far better. Specially the Chopper as for the Buggy it was already looking to be an interesting model.

Last Update: 2009.Sep.23

Friday, September 18, 2009

TECHNIC 1H2010 - Compact Excavator (8047) first images

First rumors start to materialize into images!

Today at the LOWLUG forum, I've found the first image for the 8047 Compact Excavator, to release in the 1H2010.

It looks we will get one of the newest panels now in yellow too, thus making the available color palette of the new panels to increase.
Looking forward for better quality images, so we can better compare and evaluate how it differs from the apparently similar in size, 8419 Excavator from 2005.

As images from other themes circulating, this seems to be originating from a Czech store website internal images repository.

Now, I want to see more like this!...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #37 - Dump Truck 10x4

Han has finished another awesome model of his own creation. This time a 10x4 Dump Truck, where lots of the recent yellow TECHNIC panels stand out in the model look.

Apart the TECHNIC functions this model includes some other details, like: Cabin opening for motor access, open & close cabin doors, adjustable wind-deflector, dashboard with coffee machine and cups, fuel tanks, air compressor and air filter units between the wheels, fire extinguisher, exhaust pipe, and many other...

Below some of this model TECHNIC functions, listed:
  • 5 axle truck, first 3 axles steered.
  • Ability to lift the 3rd axle (pneumatic) with 'auto-center' mechanism.
  • Working V8 engine, including fan.
  • Differential units on both 4th and 5th rear axles, interconnected.
  • Head-lights with PF LEDs.
  • Working tipping bed with parallel double pneumatic cylinder configuration.

Among the biggest challenges faced to build this model, described by Han, I got most fascinated by the 3rd axel lifting mechanism.
"Although the 3rd axle is steered, it should be disabled from the steering mechanism when lifted. As well, an ' auto correct' function was necessary to assure that the 3rd axle always will be always locked in 'straight forward' position when lifted, even when the 3rd axle wheels are not in 'straight forward' position when the lift is started. Both functions are realized."

You may find a lot more details and building process description about this Dump Truck model, at Han's website.
As usual he will also upload there the respective LDraw file and building instructions, once available (Latest Estimate: Q1 2010).

Restyled 8448

Does it makes you remember something!?

Yes! Steve Atkin (ben10000) made a restyled and entirely studless version of the 8448 (Super Street Sensation / Super Car Mk II), which he then auctioned on eBay.

While not having as much features as its predecessor, the 8448 represented the raise of a new building era for all the TECHNIC sets.
The use of TECHNIC beams, new fairing panels, flexible cross axles and corrugated tubes, all together, allowed to create curves that were simply not possible with older building techniques while it resulted into more realistic looking models.
In fact the original 8448 version already from 1999, was part of a styling exercise. LEGO went to a design studio (at the University of Coventry) to sponsor a design project and used the resulting ideas to create a car which looked much more "sporty".

So, Steve decided to do his own studless update, as a 2009 anniversary model (1o years after).
Just take a worthy looking on this extensive MOD and personal version of one of the most iconic LEGO TECHNIC supercars to date.

You will find more pictures from Steve's model in his BS folder.
Some of this restyled model
characteristics, are:
  • Totally studless chassis.
  • The chassis has been completely redesigned with active suspension.
  • Larger wheels.
  • Front wheel steering.
  • Rear wheeel drive through differential.
  • The model has a V12 working engine connected to a 6 speed gearbox.
  • Opening gullwing doors, damped by pneumatic shock absorbers.
  • Opening bonnet and boot.

Nice work!

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