Tuesday, December 15, 2009

TBs TechChallenge, 2009 - Reverse 8046 - The results


Finally the last weekend I got the time and the mood, to review in detail the models submitted to the First TBs TechChallenge, list all the differences from the original TLG model and to come up with the results.

So at first and for those participating who may also want to check their own submissions, here are the official instructions for the 8046 Helicopter, and the 2nd booklet building instructions (B-model), if you want to check the partlist in detail.

Because we ended not having a large number of submissions to this Challenge, there was a chance for a little change in the original plans and TBs got one 8046 box for each contestant, except for the winner who is getting the signed 8049 set.
Even Scott with his funny Copter interpretation, submitted to this Challenge, got one 8046 box!

I've received already received the prizes to send, a few weeks ago and should be sending these immediately so that hopefully you can receive them, still before Christmas. Meanwhile you may look at them in the photo below.

The results were evaluated comparing the LDraw models sent by each contestant, with each step in the official building instructions. After thinking about several possible methods and what would be possible to do with the LDraw tools suite, I decided for a manual comparation from the last step going backwards until the first one, while taking annotations of the differences found in each step.

The tricky part in this challenge and the one causing more mismatches counted in the submitted LDraw models, were related with the method used to build the winch (either the parts used and the method to generate the friction so the the string would not run freely).
The drum was quite difficult, because the part used was not even directly available from LDraw Parts Tracker, however it was available from the parts still needing for clean-up. Nevertheless someone managed also to model this correctly.

I've counted as mismatches in occurrences like: wrong parts, missing or extra parts; misplacements and color mismatches. However I didn't count for the 'Axle 3 with Stud' color mismatch, once at the time the Challenge was raised, no one was sure about the new color used for this part, by TLG.
You may find the detailed results at this files [XLS, PDF], but I guess there are no doubts about the winner, once the score differences (Mismatches Count) are quite substantial.

And so... the winning submission, is the one from Nathanael Kuipers.

Nathanael scored one single wrong part and his getting this Challenge 1st prize. One 8049 set (Tractor with Log Loader) from the first boxes getting out of the production line and signed by the Designer of this model (Lars Jensen).

Congratulations to everyone and thanks for participating this first TBs Challenge!

Also I'd like to thanks all those who made this Challenge possible :
  • Philo, for modeling the missing parts at LDraw and some advice.
  • Alexandre and Jetro for advice, fruitful discussions and last minute LDraw tutorials, targeting some of the specific skills needed for those aiming to take part in this Challenge.
  • TLG Technic team, for the support and providing the nice prizes.
  • And finally of course, all those who were engaged with this Challenge, either by sending their submissions or joining the initiative by leaving their comments to the respective posts.

Now, I just hope we can make something similar again, for the next year.


sqiddster said...

Well done!
looking through the instructions, I can see that the winch was indeed what I thought it was (I may have submitted an entry if I had found it on the parts tracker :( ), but at least I can console myself that I would not have thought of the method of generating friction...

Jernej said...

Congratulations everyone, especially NK! Can someone show us the parts list for heli and tractor please?

Jetro said...

Congratulation to all the participants!

The parts lit for the helicopter is in the instruction booklet ;)

Jernej said...

Just found building instructions for 8049 B model:


No parts list though :p

Philo said...

Congratulations to Nathanael and all contestants!

Dryw Filtiarn said...

Congratulations Nathanael.

I was already aware of at least my largest error in this model as I had seen some extra photo's recently. The winch uses a reel I wasn't even aware of it exists, I only knew it in a 2L width type, not the 1L width.

Ah well, it was fun to join in and hope to see more of these contests in the future.

arezey said...

Congratulations Nathanael!

I was right about the winch too.. I would have cleansed the reel up for this challenge if I had it around. Sorry! :(

But what I did not expect was the use of the 3L axle with stop in the winch.

And it's very great to have instructions around now. Looking at the parts list, I decide I need to get my hands on one of these...

Rohan said...

Surely someone who's designed an official Lego model would be disqualified!

I mean.. he probably had inside information!! ;-)

seriously.. congrats to all the entrants.. Hopefully I'll have time to enter another TB Competition one day!

You guys *are* going to run more comps??


sarafiel said...

I am part of a new winch was overlooked. Hardly made up instruction. But I had a lack of imagination.

Nathanael Kuipers who had an amazing ability to analyze. I must sincerely congratulate him. But my country (South Korea) in 8049 sold a little disappointed to find out who can not.

Was a very interesting event. If such events occur again, I will also do our best to participate. Nathanael would participate again, I do not know it would be difficult to win. : D

Parax said...

Congrats to Nathanael!
I didn't even know the drum existed until about a week after the comp! I was a little gutted!
I am chuffed I got the friction part of the winch right though! 3 axle with stud!

well done to everyone! especially BB for being so quick! although next time wait a day or two before publishing your entry, too encourage some others!

Anonymous said...

can you do the spreadsheet file as a csv or a shared google doc? I dont have excel!

Conchas said...


and you were the only one to guess right about the friction method. :)
Great job!

Al said...

Congratulations Nathanael 8^)

And to think, if I had got lsynth to work I only would have got one peice wrong but hey, i'm glad Scott got a prize, his interpretation was pretty funny haha!

Still can hardley believe TLG were so generous as to donate these prizes, that's just so cool!

Al said...

Ooops, make that two peices I got wrong!

Parax said...

Can I echo that request for the results in another format! I don't know how I well/badly did!

I know that I missed the drum! I just pinched the string between two half bushes - which thinking about it now gave me two part errors! doh! I also had a black hook not a dark bley!

Will have to analyse a bit more later to see what else I got wrong.. My Submission is here if anyone wants to take it apart..


Conchas said...


I'll make it available also in PDF, later tonight.
At the moment I can't easily access the host server via FTP.

Parax said...

Actually, you can import an XLS into Google docs so I'm OK, but it might help some others.

I found all my errors! theres a couple of doh's and a few oh-wells!

Thanks very much to all the organisers, having just spent some time going through my own model I can imagine how long you guys spent judging this! your efforts are greatly appreciated.

RjbsNXT said...

I personally didn't enter (although I tried), purely because I never got more than 3 parts to fit together correctly.

Congratulations to every body who entered, especially Nathanael :)

Maybe the next challenge could be something that doesn't involve LDraw?

Al said...

Or at least not lsynth! :)

Conchas said...

Eventual future Challenges will likely be of the same kind.

The need to use LSynth is however less probable.

Nathanael said...

Thank everyone for the kind wishes! I didn't really expect this, although I have to admit that I kind of hoped for it. I was a bit surprised as well, because I expected the competition to be a lot closer.
Maybe it was an advantage in the end to submit last, so I had more time to analyse and evaluate the different sources of information that were available to us and to consider different parts for the hidden sections.
The part I had wrong was the part I had most doubts about; the axle holding the reel.
I also specifically asked Conchas if it was ok for me to enter, considering my background. So I like to thank him in particular for this very entertaining challenge and for allowing my entry. I also like to thank the LEGO Group for their generosity and all of you for your support and kind words!

Scott said...

Thanks so much to TB and TLC!

When it arrives, I will promptly build it into a dragonfly!

Conchas said...

A PDF file with the detailed results, was meanwhile made available.

arezey said...

Ehh.. what exactly is Nathanael's background? :)

Al said...

@ Scott


Jacob said...

I would give a limb for that signed set- good work, Nathanael!

Fernando, do you mean to say that TBs won't be hosting challenges with real bricks?

Conchas said...


actually I don't have a definite idea about what a challenge with real bricks could be. :P
We must think it should be simple, effective, straightforward and fair to evaluate.

For instance if the TechREVERSE challenge have been made with real bricks, there was no way to make a proper evaluation from the winner remotely.

We will have other options, the day we organize the first TBs worldwide conference, somewhere in the globe... ;D

Jacob said...

"fair to evaluate"

I think that may be a tricky one. Very few contests I've seen have had the precision of this one, where you can measure performance in single parts. If you accept the idea of going by a few judges' subjective- but informed- opinions, then all sorts of options pop up. A few basic concepts that come to mind: everyone has to present a solution to a technical problem, or render a real-life mechanism in bricks; everyone builds a walking vehicle; or, a construction machine is presented, and each builder must produce his own take on it.

Conchas said...

Ok, I must think about it.

For sure it won't be difficult to find people with credits, to take part into a TBs jury. :)

Parax said...

The problem with solution models is that you still need to reproduce them to see which one works best you still cant judge from just a picture, unfortunatly technic is not all art! to some degree its about workings. the one that looks the best might not be the most robust/reliable machine. and in order to reproduce you still need instructions or a virtual build.

I think that with a few more practices everyone could use either Ldraw or LDD.. I think it might be useful to run a few more tutorials first though! and even at a more basic level, maybe someone should record a howto build video (for youtube) and talk about each click and button press including simple things like changing the grid sizes and rotating at odd angles!

I do have to say that building this model would have been daunting for anyone who had not used the CAD before and even for some who had gone rusty. but there was plenty of time, which was a good thing!

arezey said...

Have you spotted that there are two types of Helicopter boxes in http://storage.technicbricks.com/Media/2009/TBs_20091215_1/TBs_20091215_1a.jpg? I wonder why there's such.

Jetro said...

Looks like it's the US box including piece count and the auropean box which doesn't

Conchas said...


I've noticed that.
They are the versions for US market and ROW.

Al said...

I really like the idea of being presented with a problem and having us all give our own take on how to solve it, but unless we are going to meet up from all over the world then it must involve cad in some way in order for our submissions to be properly jugded. As long as it's the mlcad package itself and not any add-ons (like lsynth, grrrrr) then i'm fine with that. It may require a combination of pictures of the finished design and instructons of at least 90% of the model but to take all this data from every contestant and then rebuild the models physically for examination would be very increadabley time consuming (the previous tech reverse challenge was great and must have took alot of work) so I can't really see it happening, unless the finished solution had to be under 100 parts, which might make things more interesting! Who can make the most reliable/robust/efficient sequential gearbox with the most gears, all in under 100 elements! I'm just rambling now but it could be interesting.

Conchas said...

We can also define a set of 150-200 parts, and challenge everyone interested to participate, to see what he is able to come out with.

Or just take an official small/medium Technic set and elect the best single-set MOC, among everyone's submissions.
But here we are again in the domain of the favorite hobby from Nathanael... :)

Al said...

This may be a bit off topic but another type of challenge could be to design a new part. Anybody could submit any amount of submissions, one submission for each part design. The submissions could be anything from actual prototypes to complicated cad diagrams to sketches on a piece of paper or even just a text description, as long as it's clear and easy to understand. The submissions in question could be ideas previously discussed, modifactions of existing parts or completely new ideas. They could be jugded on different things like usefulness, ease of use and how much does it give technic new possibilities by you guys at TB's or via a poll. Would anybody be interested in such a challenge? Would anybody object to there being a disclaimer stating any submissions may be used by TLG? Just a thought as it could be a challenge more accessable to those un-familiar with cad.

Conchas said...

I just do not feel to have the right to judge such type of submissions.

Meanwhile I think I already have a funny idea for the next challenge... :)

Al said...

Sweeeeeet! I can't wait for the next challenge, the last one was great... :)

AVCampos said...

(late) Congratulations to all contestants, especially Nathaniel! Be sure to show us pics of your prized possession when you receive it. :)

As for Scott's submission, I really should build it physically one day, just to see how it works...

Conchas said...

Just to let you know, that I've shipped most of the sets today!
Sorry for the delay, but this was just one more thing to do on my queue... ;)

Let me know here, once you have received them.

With me are still the sets 8049 for Nathanael, because he asked me to hold for some days. And the 8046 for Scott, just because I went out of boxes. But I promise to take care of that soon.

Have a good Christmas,

Dryw said...

Hi Fernando,

Just to let you know, I received the box today :) Thank you very much and ofcourse also thanks to TLC.


Conchas said...

Great! Just in time for the Christmas presents. :)

Junkstyle Gio said...

Maybe it's a little early, but wouldn't it be fun to get a TechReverse challenge on the 8051 Motor?

Conchas said...

Maybe... something to think. :/

But I would prefer this type of challenge for complete models, because of the boundary conditions, otherwise it would need much more detailed rules, and could turn the evaluation more subjective.

This meaning that the more adequate target for this type of challenge, is always a model for the first semester.

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