Nathanaël Kuipers, just presented his latest Technic creation. Truly one of a kind!
It is a model from the no less fantastic and innovative, Jeep Hurricane.
Hurricane is a concept off-roader unveiled in 2005, at North American International Auto Show in Detroit by Jeep, a subsidiary of Daimler-Chrysler.
Among its distinctive features, this concept vehicle includes a couple of HEMI engines (one at front and another on the back), and several steering modes including the ability to turn itself completely around in place.
The first thing I realized was how the new 8110, Unimog U400 wheels, should fit nicely in this model, once they become available.
While Nathanaël reproduced most of the Hurricane details, like bumpers, seats, dashboard, each wheel independent suspension and aesthetics, this is nothing compared to the drive train which reproduces the several steering modes, apart from crab steering.
It is not the first Hurricane built with LEGO Technic, but most likely the first one with fully coupled steering control, delivering both "conventional" AWD with 4WS and Zero Steering with "Skid Steer" like, drive options.
The original concept from Daimler-Chrysler must use some sophisticated electronics to control the wheels all-together and keep them properly oriented to fit the active steering mode. On his model Nathanaël needed this to be ensured via mechanical links.
Somehow it turned too much complex to have the four wheels connected all the time and implement all the Hurricane steering modes at the same time. Thus the Crab Steering option needed to be drop.
Hence still some room for further innovation, ahead of you...
when the Zero-Steering mode is activated, in order to make the vehicle to turn over itself.
It is about minute 2' 10'', the show starts and we see a demo from the Zero-Steering functionality.
Notice the steering mode switch must be done with the wheels aligned straight (probably also the same as with the real concept model), otherwise something may jump out of its place...
Did you realize the solution found, to make both steering modes work over the same design?
Purely "Out-of-the-box Thinking" I'd say!
If you did not, definitely it won't be the bottom view below that will enlighten you. Despite often the most interesting view from a large Technic car, it seems in this case a lot of the interesting bits and mechanics are tucked away deep inside the structure and its layers.
As any AWD vehicle, this one also requires more than one differential as you can clearly see from the bottom view above (except the central one which has a different purpose). These allow for instance the wheels to run at different speeds while turning, control traction, etc...
Clearly the Hurricane is a 4x4x4 (Four Wheel Drive, Four Wheel Steer) class vehicle.
So lets dig a bit more on the original Hurricane steering features,as explained into the great HowStuffWorks website.
The Hurricane's steering system is a marvel of engineering all by itself. There are multiple steering modes using four-wheel independent steering. That means that each wheel can turn separately from the others.
In standard steering mode, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, which tightens the turning radius and makes for more accurate steering. In a second mode, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels, meaning the Hurricane can "crab-steer" -- move to the side without changing the direction that it faces.
A third mode, utilizing the "T-Box Zero Steer" mechanism, allows all four wheels to "toe-in" and changes the drive direction to each wheel so that they alternate. The result? The Jeep Hurricane has a turning radius of zero. The Hurricane can actually rotate in place.
As you should be expecting, there is also additional information and tons of great photos, from other sources where Nathanaël uses to publish his models: MOCpages and Brickshelf.
So, was it innovative enough this time?
Just hope that Nathanaël would come now with a post from his own, to show the details how did he achieved this model.
Learn more about, at HowStuffWorks:
- How the Jeep Hurricane Works
- How Four-Wheel Drive Works
- How Car Steering Works
Learn more about, at Wikipedia:
- Jeep Hurricane
- Skid Steer