Friday, October 22, 2010

TBs TechTalk 04 - Designing the set 8043 - Raise your questions!

Now that the new 8043 Excavator problems have been solved and the model is again available to ship from, it is time to do something that has been in the pipe for awhile.

Once more TBs is going to run an interview with the LEGO Designers. This time about the 2010 LEGO Technic flagship model, thus with Anders Gaasedal Christensen (Goose Valley) who designed the model and Ricco Rejnholdt Krog, Design Lead for the LEGO Technic team.

We decided however to accomplish some kind of innovation and involve our readership in the process, i.e. also let you submit your own questions to the Designers, about this model and respective design process.

Please feel to ask as many questions as you like, by dropping them as comments to this post.
In the meantime we will prepare our own questions and wait till Sunday (31.Oct) to gather all your inputs.

Although you should be aware of the following remarks:
  • Like we did in 2009 about the set 8258 (Crane Truck) [1, 2], this should be an interview about the model itself and the respective design process.
    What I mean is that it should not become an interview about the fans detected model problems and meanwhile fixed by the designers. Off course we could raise questions about the quality issue as long as there is an appropriate mix of other questions as well.

  • The TBs editors team will prepare its own set of questions and select among your inputs those questions that will be forward to the Technic Designers.

  • The questions will be grouped by similarity to prepare the final set, hence not all them will make into the final set of questions to send.
    Also the questions will be selected by relevance and questions that likely could not be answered by the Designers, will be dropped upfront. Obviously we refer to questions somehow related with future products (either new sets or parts) and eventually others as well (depend on what you will write).

  • TBs team members will do its best to consider all your inputs into a reasonable amount of questions, but of course there should be also a limit to the total number of questions we should send.
    There is always a subjective judgment on the selection/gathering criteria. By leaving your questions, you are accepting these will be considered but may not find their way into the final set of questions.

  • After all and regardless of the amount and questions to send, it will be up to the Designers team to select those they will want to answer (if not all of them).

This may be an unique opportunity to most of us, eagerly wanting to know more from behind the scenes.
So please don't be shy and ask!


David said...

1)I'm interested in knowing what software is used and who's task it is to build the models within the 3D software, and at what point in the design process this begins. This is from the point of view of the images used for the 3D renderings for adverts/publications and that contained in the final manual.
2)How much do the designers themselves use software for their development and if so what programs do they use ?
3)What limitations did they have for this project, eg number of motors, piece count etc, if any ?
Thats all from me for now ;)

TechnicBRICKs said...

Hi David,

thanks for your participation.
Regarding the specific software packages names, I guess this maybe business restricted information that LEGO may not want to disclose at such broader audience.
Nevertheless I know Maya from AutoDesk or a customization on top of it,is used at LEGO. Don't know however if for instructions or what.

Neverthelees you have a good bunch of questions that we will try to integrate at the final questions, as possible. :)

Anonymous said...

In the video , TLG's Markus Kossman describes the design process behind the 8275 Motorized Bulldozer that he designed. Was there a similar process done with the 8043 Motorized Excavator? Kossman describes the Lego Technic Design principles of "Authenticity, Functionality, and Challenging Building." Was the FUNCTIONALITY of the 8043 adequately vetted with long-term DURABILITY tests? If not, what happened to TLG's own design review procedures?

-- David Luders, Spokane, Washington USA

TechnicBRICKs said...

Hi David (DLuders),

this way or some other similar, could be an intelligent way to question about the quality issue.

Honestly I never understood how this happened, despite I've not figured it also in first hand.
Always though it was a problem from my rechargeable batteries facing an intensive power demanding set...
And did not investigate deeply enough. At least should have used some regular 9V batteries to see if the fast falling power that I observed, was also happening with these.

But I believe that in their tests, TLG should have found that one way or another, something was wrong with the playability of their latest flagship.
Unless they had already stretched too much the development timelines and had to admit some concessions for their milestones criteria. A very common problem for Project Managers nowadays...
However if it was really the case (just my speculation), I don't think it will ever become openly recognized.

Al said...

1) How long does it take you guys to design a set? Has the time you are allocated changed, or more specifically decreased over the year?

2) What limitations do you have in regaurds to designing new parts? Is there a maximum number of new parts or is it to a set budget?

3) How much freedom does the designer have when designing a model? Does the designer choose what he/she designs or is it chosen for them? What other aspects are chosen for them (piece count, colour, target demographic etc)?

4) What percantage of those that buy technic are AFOLs? How much influence does the AFOL community actually have over what you guys bring out in the future?

5) How can I submit an idea/design for a new set or part? Will they even look at outside ideas or designs?

TechnicBRICKs said...


some good points!

If one wants to propose ideas to TLG, it can be done through LEGO Ambassadors, who have signed a Release Form that allows TLG to accept and use ideas coming through them.

The author should however be willing to release any rights from its design, so that the LA could forward the idea towards TLG.

Off course somehow these ideas should be worthwhile to send...
This maybe a difficult point and I don't know exactly how to handle or how to say 'No' to someone, like
"I don't think your proposal is worthwhile to submit".
But we all must understand that TLG criteria should be very though, and we can't simply flood them with all proposals that FOLs could generate.
Some however could justify the effort.

Wiseman_2 said...

1) How many different prototypes did the excavator go through before the final design was chosen? And, how much had it changed from the original concept model?

2) This set is probably the largest one built onto a turntable. How did you go about ensuring the excavator was balanced?

That's all I can think of for now, I tried to elaborate a little on the second one but I think that's the best way to put it.

Efferman said...

the Bucket of the excavator is the same which is used in the 8265 Front loader. Bases the decission to design no new excavator bucket, on the great B-model or was it a Question of the costs?

Anonymous said...

Regarding a comment made by "Al"-"How can I submit an idea/design for a new set or part? Will they even look at outside ideas or designs?"

I discovered an extraordinarily awesome tool for us Lego Builders called Lego Cuusoo. It allows us to create designs and send them to Lego for them to consider...There's a catch though which is that 1,000 people must submit a wish for your product. I started a thread on Eurobricks regarding the new topic so if your interested here is the link.

Al said...

Ah yes I remember you posting that. That surely is an awesome tool, thankyou for alerting us to it. Getting 1000 to agree on something is gonna be tricky tho haha!

mpj said...

Is the design of the model based on the design of a real excavator?

Anonymous said...

Could you please describe other technical solutions that were considered regarding how to structure the Power Functions motors vs functionalities ? For ex. did you vere consider to use XL motors, or to put two motors in the basement below the turnable ?

billb said...

@mpj - Lego designers have to be very careful about the closeness of their design to existing things. Making a car model is OK, making a model BMW is subject to legal tangles that Lego may want to avoid. Of course, there is a historic sort of statute of limitations. Lego can model the London Tower bridge without serious legal repercussion from a presumably defunct architectural company, for instance.

Daniel said...

I don't know what model 8043 was based on, but 8275 looked very similar to the second biggest Komatsu dozer:


Komatsu would probably just see this as free advertising.

mpj said...

@Daniel yes, the 8275 was even sold by Komatsu as promotional model!
And I think the 8265 is also inspired on a Komatsu WA600-6 design.

Anonymous said...

Since Anders Gaasedal Christensen (Goose Valley) is no longer listed on the Lego Technic Designers list of "Bios" ( ), is this interview still "on"? The lead designer isn't doing Lego Technic anymore....

TechnicBRICKs said...

Yes it is still on! No worries... ;)
The interview is agreed with TLG.

Goose is not working for the LEGO Technic theme since already some months now.
He is however still working at TLG. :)

TechnicBRICKs said...

Thank you all, who have participated!

We'll start preparing the final set of questions to send. :)

Wiseman_2 said...

If 8043 was Goose's last set for Technic, then he moved on with a fair bang. 8043 is a superb set. When is the interview likely to be posted?

TechnicBRICKs said...

That I don't know how to answer.
It should take sometime, but hopefully still this year... ;)

It depends on the time we'll take to prepare it, and then the time they will take to answer. It should depend mostly on the work load at the moment. As you may understand this is a lower priority task, to be done on a best-effort basis. :)

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