Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week TechVideo, 2010 #05 - There is no school like the old school

Today I bring something different, that Mahjqa brought to my attention.
Old LEGO Technic stuff, at the service of humor and most genius criminals...

The Olsen Gang (Danish: Olsen-banden, Norwegian: Olsenbanden, German: Die Olsenbande) is an original Danish criminal gang in the fictional movies of the same name. The gang's leader is the criminal genius and habitual offender Egon Olsen. The other members of the gang are Benny and Kjeld. The gang members are harmless and never use violence.

This is an excerpt from the 11th movie "Olsen-banden overgiver sig aldrig" or "The Olsen Gang never surrenders", from 1979 in the Danish original, or 1981 in the Norwegian version.

Most of the movies start with Egon coming out of jail and being enthusiastically welcomed by Benny and Kjeld. Egon will inform his friends of his latest plan for making them all millionaires and instructs them to provide the necessary equipment. The plans usually feature everyday artifacts such as LEGO or any other household items, which are combined to work like Rube Goldberg machines. And this is exactly where another relation with LEGO comes to my mind, because of the contraptions developed in most GBC modules, also inspired on the same Rube Goldberg machines concept.
In the end Egon – after having succeeded with a genius plan – loses because he underestimates the power of other unscrupulous criminals, with whom the Olsen Gang usually gets involved somehow...

For more details, you may for instance read at Wikipedia, from where I took parts of this post.

Thanks Peer!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Instructions for Crowkillers Gallardo, by Blackbird

For those who may have not noticed it yet, Eric (Blakbird) has produced great building instructions for the 1:10 Lamborghini Gallardo, designed by Paul Boratko (Crowkillers).

If you want to have professional like instructions, they are actually being sold by both the MOC designer and the instructions author, for the amount of $24,99. It's up to you to chose from whom to buy them, so I provide both ways through links under the logos from these two very well known AFOLs, below.

There are over 1.500 parts in this model and the building instructions include 68 pages.
If for some reason you don't think their work worths the money or don't agree on someone selling his hobby's work, don't forget you can just access the photo instructions like, made available by Crowkillers for free. They can be found at his Brickshelf folder.

In case you would like to acquire the car in a complete kit, boxed with all the required parts and instructions, you may also buy it at eBay, directly from Crowkillers.

Just in case the auction link above is not working anymore, by the time you get into reading this, then just search for 'crowkillers-incorparated' at eBay.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week TechVideo, 2010 #04 - Telehandler

Intact or fistachpl, made a few weeks ago an extensive presentation from his new Telehandler model, at Eurobricks.
This is another model with an awesome cross looking. A mix from Technic and Model Team, without sacrificing the functionality a bit.

In fact it has an unusual number of functions, from which I would highlight the fork tilting.
Usually a missing function in LEGO models from this type of machinery. If you remember the LEGO recent official Telehandlers (8295, 8293), this was always a manual function controlled close to the fork itself.

From the 11 motors used and depicted on the right, there are plenty of functions present in this model. Most of them electric and remote controlled. To know:
  • 4x4 drivetrain with full independent suspension (2 shock absorbers per each wheel)
  • Normal and Crab steering modes with remote switching
  • Boom raising
  • Boom extending
  • Fork tilt regulation (leveling)
  • Front outriggers (electrically operated and with dummy pneumatic elements)
  • Cabin lights
  • Switching on/off of nightime lights (manual control)
  • Dummy V6 engine(always working)
  • Raising engine hatch and opening cabin doors (manual control)

The boom can be operated between -11 and +63 degree angle and can be extended up to 260mm, thus operating at a maximum height of 440mm.

You may find some more photos from this model, at Fistach's Brickshelf folder.

Friday, January 22, 2010

LEGO compatible linear actuators, by Firgelli

While browsing stuff for a LEGO integration project, I came across these compatible Linear Actuators from Firgelli (a Canadian company), what they call "LEGO Actuators"...

They look quite interesting, specially because they are self contained units which include their own electric motor embedded.
The motors must be really small, as per the actuators pictures we see on the respective Firgelli webpage.
Also Firgelli claims for compatibility with both NXT and LEGO Power Functions systems.
Hence these could turn into a useful piece, as an alternative to designing with awkward gears, motors, servos and linkages. This, if you are not a purist, of course... and this the point we return to heavily animated discussions, like in a few posts ago...

Despite never having seen them available for ordering, since the day I've noticed them, they are actually advertised in two sized versions (50 and 100mm stroke lengths), as pictured below.

The use cases, are:
  • For use with the NXT Brick you will need a standard NXT connection cable to connect it in place of one of the MINDSTORMS Servos, and you will need to download the respective NXT-G block from Firgelli.

  • For manual use with LPF components, you will require an NXT-PF cable available also from Firgelli. The combination of LEGO 8528 NXT converter cable, with one 8886 or 8871 extension wire is also likely to work in my suppositions.

  • For manual use with older Technic style battery packs, you will require their NXT-Technic cable, but guess the original one from LEGO (8528) should also work with Firgelli actuators!?

The PF or 9V connections will just drive the actuator motor, wilhe the 6-pin NXT connection will allow for actuator driving and position control.

These "LEGO Actuators" seem to be built based on one of the Firgelli L12 Linear Actuators & Servos, which do exist in several versions (the basic version, one with limit switches, one with position feedback, one with internal position controller or a servo version for RC and robotic applications).
Once I didn't manage to get answers from the manufacturer, just can give my best guess, which goes for the L12-I version (with internal position controller).

From the L12 specs described in the Firgelli datasheet, we can get them in 5-6V or 12V versions, and also with gear reduction ratios like 50, 100 or 210, which correspond respectively to 23, 12 and 5 mm/s maximum speeds (no load condition) at 43, 80 and 150N force. See the datasheet if you are looking for more detailed info, like force and consumption curve characteristics.
Nevertheless it is still unclear, which of these versions is used in their "LEGO Actuators" products.

While the real product doesn't seem to be yet available, we can take a look into another L12 linear actuator in action, from one Firgelli video at YouTube.

I guess the Firgelli webpages about these actuators, aim for an early product announcement/promotion, or have anyone here actually bought them?
Probably it is just a matter of getting final production parts for the specific LEGO compatible plastic cases, which from a few details in the pictures above, look like still in a prototyping phase, at the time they were taken.

Advanced prices at their website, are however quite expressive.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

TBs TechPoll 18 - 2009, 4th Quarter - Favorite week TechVideos

It is about time for another poll, about the videos weekly featured at TBs during the last quarter of 2009.

In the next two weeks vote for your favorite video(s), among those highlighted during the 4th quarter (2009, Q4) under the 'Week TechVideo' tag.

Bellow is the list with the videos posted within this period:

As usual, you can vote for more than one video!

- This video poll does not aim to select the best MOC, but rather well done videos featuring a LEGO Technic model, a nice video reportage from a Technic subject as part of an AFOL event, or
some cool/innovative thing with interest for the Technic fans community.
- These are videos that somehow caught my eye at some point, thus based on a personal choice, and do not intend in any way to be considered as the best representatives from the work done by the Technic fans.
- Please notice, this is a poll taken for the fun. The authors of the videos here featured are not rewarded, independently of the rank position they will achieve.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week TechVideo, 2010 #03 - Racing on the frozen lake

The winter adventure continues...

The winter season is closing and after some snow adventures, Mahjqa (Peer Kreuger) went for an Ice Racing in the frozen lakes from the Netherlands.

The video description at YT, contains:
"The first three cars are built on the same chassis, with some modifications between versions. The green car only had rear wheel drive, and thus had a tendency to get stuck. The white and blue cars are basically the same, with only some minor tweaking in the steering department. The IceTen at the end has skid steering, which basically means that it only works on VERY smooth surfaces. However, on ice, there is nothing more maneuverable. "

You may also find some photos of the featured cars, from Peer's photostream at flickr.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Building Instructions for 8265 motorization, by Sarafiel

Old news, no news...

Yes! As I did, many of you should already have seen these long time ago.
But I'm pretty sure not everyone did. Also this is worth in itself for a reference and to become widely known, not to mention it may turn very useful for many more, who may have not seen it yet.

After the 8265 (Front Loader) release in the 2H2009, many attempted their own modifications to make it fully motorized. We have already seen some of them here [1, 2], with a special note to Attila's photo-instructions illustrating his solution in a series of multiple but comprehensive steps.
As seen, some made this model fully remote controlled and improved from each other who did it before. But none took the huge task of making it into professional like instructions.

... until some time later Sarafiel (Minshik Kong), a Korean AFOL from BrickInside, took the epic challenge to fully document his proposal for the motorization of this model. Originally in a Worm Steering version.

The unofficial 4th book.

Not happy with the amount of work done, he made it again. The second time, for an LA Steering version.

The unofficial 5th book.

This is a tremendous work, where the full models had to be made into MLCAD and then converted into stepwise instructions with LPUB 4.0.

The images above have links to the respective folders at Brickshelf. However if you want to download the full instructions at once in a convenient manner, I'd suggest you to use the BSBackup free software.

As a suggestion to Sarafiel, he could also use the RapidShare free online service, to upload the respective single file PDF document versions (which I'm glad to have), as he did initially at some other restricted hosting service for the first set of instructions (although not available anymore).

Meawhile, the 8265 motorization seems to have become a very popular "sport" in Korea :) and many have developed their own solutions.
Here a few links to the BrickInside forum. Despite everything in Korean, the images worth a thousand words, and speak for themselves.
  • ridder, directly assembled and took pictures.
  • pcility, also does not use Linear Actuators in steering.
  • Isyou2, built 3 motors side-by-side. Then engine was removed but everything is very compact.
  • Lumix, made his version in red of passion.
  • luh2000, in a large post.

Important is that all them tried own ideas and finally got 8265 moving.

One of our readers, provided us with links to download the Sarafiel's single file instructions (PDF format), from MegaUpload.

Last Update: 2010.Jan.16 23:30 CET

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New(er) style for Wide Link Treads

The last two posts here at TBs have been about tracked excavators, therefore this is somehow still in the subject.

Months ago, someone noticed a design change in the small Technic Link Chain element most likely as a measure to reinforce this part and prevent break in service events.

A few days ago my friend Martyn, told me about a new finding from John Brost [1, 2, 3] concerned with a small redesign also to the modern Wide Link Treads (57518).
The original version have a slightly different design from the newest parts and thus LEGO should have changed the mold. This was found by John while playing with ideas to build some large wheels, using circles made of these tread links turned inside-out.
By mixing some old and new parts from different sets, suddenly some wheels became very un-wheel like. Looking to find where the problem was, John found to have two types of different tread links. The newest ones had little protrusions in the contact to the next link, that make impossible to create such circles as small as with the old style. Digging further he found also that alternating new & old style links would prevent this issue, despite not very convenient having to sort them all...
Although both types will work fine with each other, if mixed in the same track.

Because an image is worth a thousand words, below a couple of pictures with annotations from John, which better show the difference between old & new parts design.

Click to enlarge the images and better read the embedded notes.

The change should have occurred in 2009, since all my DGB and Black links stock from 2007-2008 sets (8272, 8275, 8294 and 7645) have the old style links. Just got the ones with new design, at sets 8263 and 7632 already from 2009.
Despite the mold modification, both parts exhibit a "© 2006 LEGO" mark and the same mold reference (57518).

Both John and Brian Davis at The NXT STEP, have advanced some increased side-to-side stability (lower flex) as a probable motivation for the change. However I wasn't able to observe such difference even at long track spans. Hence, apart the larger backwards radius, any other eventual reason for the change is still a mysterious.
Still the benefits at not so large spans, are not yet evident to me! And even for those (large spans) we can hardly take advantage of, once the admissible radius is still relative low.
Maybe it could help to prevent tracks to slip-off from bogie wheels, or even from breaking at extreme conditions. Don't know!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week TechVideo, 2010 #02 - Fully remote controlled pneumatic Excavator

Since we are all excited about the new 8043 LEGO Excavator, nothing more appropriate than another great Excavator to rejoice.

After some flaws and challenges (if you have been following it from facebook), Paul (Sariel) published yesterday his new pneumatic Excavator (a model from Volvo EC290C). It is a fully pneumatic excavator with a full remote control. It differs from almost everything else ever made before, because former similar models use to have a remote tethered by the pneumatic hoses, which houses the pneumatic valves and usually also the compressor, battery box, etc...

Thus one of the main challenges consisted to fit everything needed inside the superstructure, inclusive the electric command for each individual valve. For this Paul used the concept developed by Dmac, another LUGPol member (but that's a topic for a later opportunity...).

The model features:
  • 7x PF M-Motors
  • 1x 71427 motor
  • 3 pneumatic circuits with 8 cylinders total, for each of the arm 3 sections (boom, dipper and bucket)
  • Internal 4-pump compressor with integrated manometer

As usual, you may find all the construction details, photos at

This is to me, certainly the Holy Grail concept for a LEGO Technic Excavator! Pneumatic, fully remote controlled and with all the required elements on board.
There are certainly some issues requiring improvement in this model. It is quite unusual on Paul's models but this was a very difficult challenge and I think Paul wanted to finish at any cost in a reasonable amount of time, instead of delaying by going through a succession of heavy rebuilding steps. Nevertheless I guess this is not going to be the last Excavator in this class, we will see from Paul.

A better image from the new 8043 Excavator

A French AFOL have just shown at SeTechnic forum, a new image from the new 8043 (Excavator) with much better definition.
It was taken from the 2010 Trade Catalog inner pages, in opposition to the former image taken from the end summary.

This is indeed a much clearer image, which allows to eliminate some doubts. But not that much...

  • The IR remotes are indeed the same as those already used before.
  • In my analysis the existence of three LBG Axle 3 sticks and one extra stick in red, is a good hint to support the 1+2x3 operation theory.
    To me the red stick looks perfect to command one motor that simultaneously switches a set of Driving Rings and thus changing between two sets of 3 functions at once (boom, dipper and bucket, or drivetrain and superstructure rotation).
    Also it seems to be written somewhere "remote controlled driving sharing and turning". Don't know exactly what does it means but it seems to support the same theory.
  • From the gears seen in the drivetrain, it is clear the tracks are motorized but still not clear if the remote makes the drive train to skid, for those still septic about this function.
  • Drivetrain uses some studed Technic parts which are always welcome these days. Also the sprocket large wheels seem now to be released in a new color (DBG or Black, despite I'm most in favor of the first option).
  • The superstructure and arm fairing uses a lot from the new panels in yellow, which is also a good source for the panels never released before in this color. These produce also some nice looking curves to this model main body.
  • At the rear-up, left side of the superstructure, we can easily distinguish the top from two PF IR-Receives as suggested before.

It is for the arm details, that things are not yet so clear...
  • We can't easily distinguish any axle routing to the Linear Actuator responsible for the bucket movement, which makes some still suggesting a combined dipper/bucket control.
    Personally I don't believe it to be the case, as it would be too much disappointing for such a flagship model.
  • The guy who provided the pictures, also tried to reproduce the Excavator arm from the new image, and came with one interesting question. See his reproduction from the pictures below.

    Either this is an incomplete and not a functional model, still to be changed, and the double Linear Actuators in the boom with a parallel synchronous setup simply can't work, or his interpretation from the image is not enough accurate which is to me the likely case.
    You may recall some possibilities for such parallel synchronous setup, from section 5.3 at the former Linear Actuators review (Part II) here at TBs , made from the Technic parts available at the time.
    One possible solution to the mystery, could be the usage of  new 20t bevel gears with clutch (87407)!?

One way or another, we're getting closer to solve the 8043 mysteries.

Thanks Anio, for letting me know about the news!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Building Instructions for 1H2010 TECHNIC sets, available online

The building instructions for all the 1H2010 LEGO Technic sets, have been reported to be now available for download at

Below you have the direct links for the several models and respective books,

Happy building!

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