Friday, June 24, 2011

8109 Flatbed Truck - New Images

While I've seen these at Setechnic yesterday, my laptop has been fully overloaded producing videos and uploading them into YouTube...

However I couldn't let this go, without notice.
We have finally additional images from upcoming set 8109 Flatbed Truck, which reveal new details.

It was already know from the previous images, this set will include one PF M-motor to command the flatbed.
Now it becomes even more clear how the flatbed works. It can tilt while sliding out.
This kind of tow truck also has a retractile fork, where you can carry another vehicle pulling it from the front axle. It makes perfect sense one can push/pull the fork from the underside, using the same motor. The gearing on the fork also suggests there is a combined movement that controls the tilt to the rings, where the wheels from the towed vehicle embed. There is also a rubber belt visible inside the fork, although it is still unclear its exact function.

As these new images are taken from the model opposite side, relative to the previous ones, we can now clearly see that both movements (flatbed and tow fork) should be switched from the lever under the red side door.
Also it became evident that the winch is manually operated only, from the knob on the right side.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #24 - Evolution of a robotic hand and arm

Do you recall this robotic hand
Then check this out!... by MisterFitzGibbon...

According to his description at YouTube,

"An imitation of the human hand and upper arm (Minus fingertips!). 3 NXT motors control 10 pneumatic pistons, working 10 functions: 3 for the thumb, 4 for the fingers, 1 for pulling the fingers apart and towards, 1 for wrist control, 1 for twisting the arm up to 180 degrees (not piston operated). An ultrasonic sensor acts as the eye for sensing objects and their distances."

What else is it reserved for us to see next...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

8110 - Partslist


I know those who have been eagerly asking me for these, already got it from EB.
But now, here also a scan with the partslist for the 8110, Unimog U400. Click for larger view.

Full review going on at slow pace, as the time available as been scarce, preparing PLUG annual event in two weeks and work affairs... I'm still in the middle of the second book.

Hope the weekend will help to move on...
But having great fun! I'm sure you guys will delight with this new flagship from LEGO Technic.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

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

TBs poll for '2011, 1st Quarter Favorite week TechVideos' is now closed, with over 250 votes submitted during the usual two weeks vote period.
Poll objective was to let you choose your favorite videos, from those weekly highlighted here at TBs 'Week TechVideo' category, during the 1st quarter of 2011.

Below, the usual 1st, 2nd and 3rd most voted videos for your review.

#1- "Week TechVideo, 2011 #07 - White Tiger, T1H1", by Gyuta

#2 - "Week TechVideo, 2011 #02 - Black Dragon Supercar", by Jovel

#3 - "Week TechVideo, 2011 #08 - LEGO Zeppelin", by Sandra*

*) Not the author from the featured model.

Once more congratulations to the producers of the most popular videos among those featured here during the 1st quarter 2011!

Monday, June 13, 2011

8110 - Seeking for answers

After the photo coverage of the Unimog building process few days ago, several mistakes have been reported and some new doubts/questions were raised by AFOLs, who carefully studied these photos.

First issue concerns with the way the L4 engine gets connected to the main drive shaft. Common sense says it should connect to the central differential, instead of any other of differentials in the front and rear axles. However the photos available doesn't explain how is it accomplished. Furthermore it is shown a misleading central 3L diff (62821), while a few indicia tell us, the older 4L diff (6573) should be used in its place.
Allan Porter (Allanp) was the first to point at EB the possible evidence for the mistake, and Menno Gorter edited the photo to cut the building instructions where we can find a notice, warning the users that the old diff should be used, instead of the new one.

Another discussion has been around the pneumatic pump cylinder. Despite it being released in a new color (LBG), some also observed that it looks a bit longer than usual...
The fact is that pneumatic pumps used in official LEGO Technic sets, like 8868 (Air Tech Claw Rig) and 8049 (Tractor with Log Loader), use the Small Pump (x191c01) in combination with a Technic Engine Crankshaft (2853) in order to achieve a 1L displacement. Despite this pump cylinder is capable of a 2L displacement, it doesn't fit within a linear setup over a Technic beam as we can see from the photo below, where Menno Gorter also tries illustrate this limitation.

In order to achieve a 2L displacement (double stroke) and optimal pump efficiency, some other arrangements might be used, like a bent liftarm (6-4) or even some old school studmore designs. However such arrangements wouldn't fit properly in the Unimog and would also require more space available. That's probably the reason why the LEGO Technic Designers may have developed a new pump cylinder, half stud longer.
Optimal use of the pump cylinder maximum displacement, is very important for a faster and smoother operation of the pneumatic cylinders on the crane arm.
If the former 1L displacement pump solution was already a bit under-performant on the 8049, with a third cylinder on the arm, it could become a disaster for the Unimog... if one tries to actuate several of the pneumatic switch levers simultaneously, or at a fast pace.

And the Unimog different new parts amount, increases again to eight:
  • Pneumatic nozzle (PPTO)
  • 6L mini-pump cylinder
  • Torque tube (outer joint)
  • Torque tube (inner joint) - This one comes attached to a kind of C-frame
  • Portal axle gearbox
  • Steering hub (new design to fit with the new portal gearbox)
  • 9.5L shock absorber (Extra stiff)
  • New tire (94,3 x 38R)

Finally another issue that raised also some interest. As stated in a previous post, it wouldn't make any sense to develop all new parts like the gearbox hubs, for the portal axles, if we won't have one way to drive movement to the wheels. It happens that existing similar previous steering hubs [1, 2] doesn't provide any mean to accomplish such function, what raises the doubt whether the new part allows to do it, or not!?

My opinion was that it should somehow provide an axle connection, inside the hollow that also exists in the previous parts.
This time it was Gerard and later Menno, who decided to take the quest to find evidence of it. Some searching, a little of Photoshop and that's it... An axle hole at the end of the hollow!

Another doubt solved!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #23 - Manta helicopter with dual intermeshing rotors

Milan Reindl (grohl), member of (Czech LEGO forum), presented his futuristic Manta Lego Technic Police Helicopter, that he built for the LEGO Technic Challenge round last May.

Main characteristic of this model, it is the dual intermeshing rotor, a quite distinctive type of helicopters.

Model's features are:
  • 48.5cm long, future Police helicopter. 
  • Dual intermeshing 36cm rotors
  • 7cm push propeller, powered by one PF M-motor
  • Propeller can move to the left right by means of one micro motor.
  • Retractable landing gear
  • Working lights
  • Opening cockpit and side doors
  • Rescue winch
  • Powered with PF rechargeable battery

You can find more photos from this, at Brickshelf grohl's folder.

Well done!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

8110 - Wow!!!

Still not the bottom side view, but much better than that!
Awesome set, awesome design, awesome new parts (with a few remarks... to discuss below).

The core of the chassis and Marcos Bessa (LEGO Designer) building the 8110 Unimog.

Tons of pictures here.

As for the new parts, everything became now clear of course.
  • No 'Axle 11'... a terrible evaluation mistake since the beginning. In the end, it was an 'Axle 9' plus a 'Technic pin long with stop bush'.
  • No C-frame, at least as a standalone part.

So, we got seven different new parts:
  • Pneumatic nozzle (PPTO)
  • Torque tube (outer joint)
  • Torque tube (inner joint)
    This one comes attached to a kind of C-frame. It is a petty because a standalone C-frame would be much appreciated. Even if not 100% sturdy, it looks this could have been designed as two separate parts, one (the ball joint) with pin attachments.
    Now it only rests to take a saw and start cutting them in series...
  • Portal axle gearbox
  • Steering hub (new design to fit with the new portal gearbox)
  • 9.5L shock absorber (Extra stiff)
  • New tire (94,3 x 38R)

Unless I became color blind, it looks the small pneumatic pump is now being produced in a new color (LBG).
I would advocate that all other pneumatic cylinders were also produced in the same color.

There is no such thing like a pneumatic dump bed, unlike one information that previously raised, but in alternative we got a cabin that opens to give access to the underneath motor for maintenance work.

Friday, June 10, 2011

8110 - Here it is!

Next drop... I told you!... Yes, here it is! It's Orange!!!
Shown to the public, in a LEGO fan event running in Portugal at the moment.

Jan Beyer, from "LEGO Community Engagement and Communications" (LCEC) brought it in pieces, into the suitcase.



Since yesterday LEGO Technic fans community has been finding new material regarding the upcoming 8110. We are not facing any leaks, as it all seems to be part of a recent strategy from the product line, to release new info in small waves and feed the fans eager from new details about LEGO Technic upcoming products.

This is an image published in what seems to be an internal magazine for Mercedes-Benz employees. Included it is this article explaining how the idea to build a commemorative model celebrating the Unimog's 60th anniversary, came up from an employee.
The image included in this article is a great pearl, as it seems to suggest how the several LEGO Unimog prototypes have been evolving to the final model. Wonder whether the first model in the left was ever an option, even a concept study, or if it was just built for this evolution photo...

Among already other known facts, it is also mentioned there were six new parts developed for the Unimog. As far as we have been able to dig up to now and unless there is some mistake in our observations, I count at least nine new parts and redesigns:
  • Axle 11
  • Pneumatic nozzle (PPTO)
  • C-beam
  • Torque tube or large ball joint (2 parts)
  • Portal axle hub gearbox
  • Steering hub redesign to fit with a Technic axle
  • Extra stiff 9.5L shock absorber
  • New 94,3 x 38R tires
One thing seems to be sure, the development of this beast should not have had big budget restrictions... Among new parts and several parts released in new colors, hence increasing the inventory (including the long waited orange panels but also the nice LBG 5 x 11 panel plates), this release is really a huge fanfare.

Probably the biggest fun for us, is all the speculative imagination we can grasp, while looking at images like this...
Here we can clearly see how badly the heaviest and larger models stand on ground and stress their suspensions, until something happened near the final stage. This is the ultimate evidence for the obvious reason why TLG added a new variant to their range of shock absorbers, replacing the coil springs with stronger ones and able to sustain the extra weight.
This image was also the first to clearly confirm the presence of the new hub gearboxes, for the portal axles and also revealing their first details (two 16t gears fitting in each).

But much more was still to come, shortly...

Here we have a render with a close-up from the front axle's left side, stripped from a few parts for a much more comprehensive visualization.
I must confess I was expecting something different from the new hub gearboxes. Probably with a more broader application range, than being so much specific for portal axles design. Specially given these were already possible to build easily with existing parts, as we can testify from many TrTr vehicles build by the FOLs out there. Nevertheless this can be a quite unfair comment and time probably will reveal many unexpected usages for this part. At least we need to have this new part in our hands, to fully analyze all the details from its design, despite I'm pretty confident to have captured its form and details, or most of it at least.

It can be clearly seen the hub gearbox with a double 16t gear setup. It also turns clear it can be used with a 8t + 24t combination, with the 24t gear in the bottom or near the wheel axle. Very useful to slown down and increase the torque on TrTr vehicles. But again, a very specific design for usage with portal axles.

Interesting is also the wheel pivoting position (aligned with the frictionless tan long pins) and the utilization of the recent "Axle and Pin Connector Perpendicular Split" part (92907). A good idea and as far as I've tested on a replica, it works great without limitations the turning radius, as some have raised concerns about. There is an half beam offset at each side, to prevent such limitation.

Also it looks like there are 3L U-joints used to pivot the steering wheels, rather than a CV-joint. The pivot point is in the middle of three studs of an axle between the 12t gear and the 5x7 liftarm frame. A CV-joint would move the pivot point one stud to the right (inboard) attaching directly to the differential. In addition, you can "see through" the part between the red bushing and the hub gearbox part, whereas on the CV-joint, you would not be able to.

Connection from the wheels to the hub gearboxes seems to be done through a new variant from this steering hub as we can see from the snapping attachment to the hub gearbox. Hence the new DBG color for this part, maybe. I believe it is a new version because it requires to fit with a Technic axle, what does not happen with the currently available version. Otherwise all this portal gearing stuff, wouldn't make any sense!...
I'd just like to recall, how difficult it is to remove this part from this other one. Hope it to become a bit different in the case of this hypothetical new variant...

Behind the differential (to the left) it seems we can also see the previously mentioned and hypothetical torque tube, in the form of a big ball joint. Matching this with the previous image where it was found and the respective orientation, I'd say we have got two of them in the Unimog. One for each front and rear axles, allowing them to pivot up/down but also to rotate as needed, for the pendular suspension.
Look at the image below exactly to see how far the Unimog pendular suspension can go.

Another interesting aspect on this photo, is also the use of three driving ring extensions (32187) lined-up in a row on top of the PF M-motor. Likely the switch box allowing to do the selection between electric and pneumatic functions. Just wonder whether the three extensions effect is just for the aesthetics or does it have some other purpose.

Some additional images were also found, but guess there is not much new things to talk about.

On the left image we can clearly see, besides the functions panel (already much discussed), a pair of Technic knob wheels (32072) being used, to perform the HOG function. Very convenient when it comes to accommodate the suspension axle swing.
Also we can there see a CV-joint and the new CV-joint axle. These seem attached immediately in front of the torque tube so that the drive shaft can extend/retract a little, as per design of the CV-joint sleeve, when the axle moves up and down.

As for the functional attachments, both the rear crane and the front snow-plow present a very clean and detailed design.
I particularly like the usage of rubber grips on the claw, and the pneumatic controls to steer the plow.

After all these theories, if you still have some doubts regarding the Unimog operation, I'd suggest to read the explanations on the image below, found online a few weeks ago.
I'm sure some of you can...

Next drop might be the Unimog itself. Anytime soon I guess...

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