Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adding value trough your contribution

Blogging is an act of sharing and so it is often also the act of building with LEGO, for many FOLs out there.
Commenting into a blog, should be also seen as an act of sharing towards the remaining readers. Hence a positive contribution attitude it is the best way in order to add value for everyone.

TBs receives many comments with links to private held businesses, adding no value, which are always reviewed, rejected or removed and marked as spam.
Occasionally we have also been victims of trolling [1, 2] at certain posts, specially from those who chose to hide behind anonymity. This is of course, an unacceptable behavior!

In order to address and prevent situations like this and after some reflexion, the policy for commenting into this blog is changed with immediate effect.
From now on, Anonymous comments are not allowed anymore and readers must use their Google account or an OpenID authentication [3, 4, 5] as supported by Blogger, to comment into this blog.

Hope this measure will help us to improve the quality and added value from everyone's participation, to everyone else.
On the other end we also hope it does not discourage others to participate with the quality they have used us. Let's see how it works.

Best regards!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TBs TechPoll 25 - 2011, 1st Quarter - Favorite week TechVideos

Let's run another poll for the videos weekly featured at TBs . This time for the Q1 of 2011.

In the next two weeks you can vote on your favorite video(s), among those highlighted during the 1st quarter (2011, Q1) under the 'Week TechVideo' tag.

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

*) Not the author from the featured model.

You may vote for more than one video, if that reflects your preferences.

- 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 final rank position they will achieve.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

LEGO Community Team Survey - May 2011

The LEGO Community team has asked me to share the following survey with you:

Please take a moment to fill out the latest survey from LEGO community team.


In the last survey, we found the following results:
  • We found a regional difference in our ratings as the rating in US/Canada are higher than in EU and Asia
  • The results show that many don’t feel like sharing information with others about the hobby as those that are interested in the hobby are already in the hobby
  • Quality and customer service were given high marks by the respondents
  • Only half the respondents noted that they belong to a LUG

The LEGO community team

The survey is not very long and focuses mainly on how satisfied you are with LEGO - both in regards to the physical elements and sets and with the company, based on interaction with fans - how you have interacted with the company and how you would like to be able to interact with them.

This leads me to ask you about your thoughts on the Ambassador program. I have now been Ambassador for TBs for about 6 months and even though I have tried to make the most of it, it has proven hard to make that visible on TBs . There have been many conversations on the Ambassador forum, but must of them did not concern anything even remotely related to the subjects we normally comment on TBs . However, concerns about the quality of certain parts or building instructions, questions about design etc. have been voiced and the CEC Team has paid attention to all of them.

Two requests that that are still being looked into, but that you may like to hear about are concerning LEGO sharing set inventory data (this would make inventories on BL, Peeron etc. easier to make and more reliable) and letting us know who designs each set (although this is often impossible to pin down on one single person, because designers sometimes work in teams or one designer creates the main model and another the B-model).

The reason I mention this is to encourage you to use this channel for any questions or concerns you feel the Ambassador program might help you get answered or attended, so please let us know how you feel about the Ambassador program in a comment to this post or using the dedicated email account lego.ambassador@technicbricks.com

P.S. You'll find a quirk on page 4 where you can only select a particular score once - this has been brought to the attention of LEGO, but not fixed (yet)

Monday, May 23, 2011

TBs TechTOC 12 - Crow, yet again!

Gorgeous, Awesome, Brilliant, Magnificent,... should I continue

Do you remember the Crowkillers Super Deluxe car? [1] Ok! then he just made the Super Deluxe 2!!! [2]
Just the seats remained basically the same...

Crowkillers has been developing his new car for the last 5 months. It is in 1:10 scale as usual and it offers a breakthrough look, while keeping the "LEGO Technic Code".
Its major distinctive factor among the remaining cars from Paul Boratko, is an AWD car transmission with the front wheel drive axle passing directly between the transmission driving rings, to avoid having to re-route around or below the transmission...

From the functions point of view, it is quite simple. There are two black gears on the rear deck lid that open each respective door by rolling them forward and closing them by rolling them backwards. The Rear Spoiler mechanism is raised by rolling a gear between the seats forward, and lowers it by rolling it backwards...

  • AWD chassis with a front mounted V-10 Engine.
  • 4-speed transmission with gear ratios of: 5/1 (1st), 3/1 (2nd), 5/3 (3rd) and 1/1 (4th). No reverse.
  • HoG steering with working in car steering.
  • Full independent suspension for each wheel.
  • Opening doors that are operated from the rear deck lid (worm gears are used).
  • Rear spoiler that can be raised and lowered with a rolling switch between the seats (worm gear is used).

Because one image worths a thousand words, let's show a bunch of them...

Amazing curves and angles, as seen from every viewpoint you might want to look at it.
This guy doesn't stop to surprise us!

Now it just rests to wait for the video and the instructions...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #20 - Super 8 film projector

Fiedemann Wachsmuth and Kalle used LEGO Technic elements to build a fully working and old fashion Super 8 film projector [1, 2].

The projector uses just two engines and is fully featured with automatic celluloid feeding, 24 fps, fast rewind and 120m reels. A decent LED flashlight makes it pretty amazingly bright.
The only non-LEGO parts are the lens, the reel spindles and the lamp.

Turn up your volume before you hit the video because the rattliness of this thing is all part of the love.

Yeah! It's time to look up for your Super 8 old media...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

8081 Building Instructions, available online

While ago building instructions for 8081 Extreme Cruiser, both main and secondary models, have been published at technic.LEGO.com.

Below you have the direct links to download all the instruction books,

Have a nice building!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The influence of Power Functions

After the introduction of Power Functions in 2007, the amount of motorized models has seen an exponential growth. Since then not only has the Technic line introduced at least 2 sets with motor every year, but also it seems like Power Function models are the new standard among fan creations, gaining even more popularity due to the various Trial Truck competitions. It has become quite a phenomenon, showing LEGO Technic trucks clearing a challenging obstacle course, something that would have been unimaginable several years ago. Those trucks have evolved very fast, with high focus on efficiency, meaning that structures have to be as light and strong as possible, whereas power trains as short and compact as possible with end reduction. On a positive note those competitions have drawn a lot of people into Technic and teaches many of the elementary principles of kinematics. There are however a few other things to consider.

The trend of today is that things have to be cool, not necessarily realistic. LEGO Technic seems to follow this trend. When launched it became well known in Germany under the slogan 'Technik wie in wirklichkeit' (Translated roughly as Mechanics like in reality). Today, 2 of the pillars are Authenticity and Functionality, but that doesn't necessarily mean authentic functions.One example could be the linear actuator, which in many cases is used for functions that are in reality hydraulic. Pneumatics would have been a more suitable alternative considering authentic functions.

But probably a better example is comparing the Technic 'Supercars' that LEGO has introduced over the years. In the past it has been all about the interaction between drivetrain and engine through a gearbox. Of course there are limitations with the system, so things had to be simplified and put in perspective, but the focus was on authentic functions and their educational value. Looking at the latest 'Supercar' 8070, I can't help but imagine a child that is playing with the gearstick in a real car and wonders why the doors are not opening. Not very realistic, but it's 'cool' especially when those functions are motorized with Power Functions.Why wasn't Power Functions used for motorizing the drive and steering function instead, especially considering that in this case there was not the problem of a complex drivetrain like with previous 'Supercars'? That would have been much cooler, right, looking at the popularity of the Trial Truck models?

Courtesy of Paul Ian Kmiec (Sariel)

Could it be that motorizing large, wheel based LEGO vehicles with Power Functions is actually beyond what is reasonably possible with the system? Looking at what kind of driven remote controlled Power Functions models LEGO has launched so far it is striking to realise that all of those have been track based. Another interesting thing to notice is that 3 of the recent Technic flagships with Power Functions, 8275, 8258 and 8043 all seem to have had some issues which led to revised parts and/or building instructions. It seems like motorizing big complex LEGO models is really challenging what the system is able to handle and made for.

So apparently official LEGO designers are already pushing the boundaries of what is safe, but this is in no comparison of how far beyond the limitations of the building system certain fan created models, and in particular Trial Trucks, are. Either broken or grinding gears, twisted or bent axles, and stalled motors are just a few common indicators that show that the system is not capable of handling well the high forces and torque applied. To get high clearance big wheels are often used, but from a torque and stress point of view it only demands more from the system. Maybe that explains why we haven't seen any official LEGO set with big wheels and driven by Power Functions?

In conclusion with LEGO you can build anything, but the system certainly has its limitations. How far (beyond) the boundaries are pushed is up to the individual on what is acceptable. With my background I try to keep things within reason. Due to the popularity of Trial Trucks, and the coolness of Power Functions, however, many people have higher expectations of models, pushing the system beyond limitations, shifting the focus from authentic functions to effective and cool functions.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #19 - Massive Porsche

Once he made this car with an awesome electric sequential gearbox.
Then he led us in suspense for a few months... A couple of weeks ago, the secret was finally revealed!

Yes, Sheppo decided for a Porsche 911 (997) Turbo Cabriolet PDK.

Circa 3500 parts and 3,65Kg of LEGO. There are so many PF parts and functions (either manual and remote controled), that better you'd see the whole video above or read all the details through Sheppo's explanations at his blog.

In a very, very short resume...:
  • Front steering with working steering Wheel
  • Front and rear lights
  • Rear retractile and adjustable spoiler
  • Folding top
  • Handbrake
  • Disc brakes with rear lights
  • Dual clutch gearbox with 7+R speeds and auto-selection clutch (yet again a new version of the amazing 7+R electric gearbox)
  • Independent strenght clutch
  • Remote progessive accelerator


2H11 further imqges and details

Today we got some new official images for the 2H11 LEGO Technic sets and the respective number of parts.

Among these we also got the first images for the previously disclosed B-models, from 8071 and 8109.
B-model for 8110 Unimog U400, was seen long ago.

8071, Lift Truck

Parts: 593

And the B-model, which is a Telehandler.

8109, Flatbed Truck

Parts: 1115

And the B-model, which is the previously announced Airport Catering Truck.

8110, Unimog U400

Parts: 2048 - Finally the image that confirms the rumors, about the number of parts included with the Unimog.
It just makes it the biggest LEGO Technic set, ever released!

Certainly it includes a few hundreds of pins, but it doesn't have any track elements, to increase the number of parts by tens.
Where does it includes so many parts, it is still a mystery waiting for an answer...

And of course there is the already known B-model (Snowplow),

Maybe having two of these, we can attach both the plow and the crane, simultaneously to the front and back of the Unimog, and operate each function at a time.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #17 - Double Pendulum

We all knew already how helpful LEGO Technic might be to demonstrate some mathematical properties.
Yet, with this infinitely simple construction we get also a demonstration from the chaotic behavior of the Double Pendulum.

In mathematics a double pendulum is a pendulum with another pendulum attached to its end, and is a simple physical system that exhibits rich dynamic behavior with strong sensitivity to the initial conditions.

The motion of a double pendulum is governed by a set of coupled ordinary differential equations. For small angles, the double pendulum behaves like a linear system. However for large angles or certain energies, the double pendulum is non-linear and its motion turns chaotic.

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