Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Releasing info about the next LEGO Technic flagship I

Casper brings us the first official details about the 8110 Unimog U400, at the blog.

He talks about the set part count and about the Pneumatic Power Take Off (PPTO) at both ends of the vehicle. Nothing that many of us wouldn't have already figured out, but can wait when he gets into the suspension details.

Also from the first Unimog images [1] made available, we had the PPTOs implemented making use of already available parts. However it turns now clear that a new part was meanwhile developed to accomplish this function (the blue connector with a pneumatic nose). After some reflexion, I realized it was really advisable to develop such part, instead of using the earlier method, which likely would not keep the pneumatic hose tight in place for long and may cause some frustration among the users.

It looks also a good sign for the future of the LEGO Technic pneumatic system, to have new parts released for this system.

Nevertheless a great move from the LEGO Technic team, to start disclosing some details about the next flagship and feeding the fans, anticipating that someone may get his hands on the real stuff anytime soon...

Eagerly waiting for the next drops.


Allanp said...

This is awesome, it's getting me even more excited for the unimog! Can't wait.

Tom Bennison said...

Amazing!! Can't wait. Any idea on pricing yet?

Ian said...

I also notice that the gear in the left photo is different that the standard - it looks strengthened. Or am I imagining things??

TechnicBRICKs said...


it is the new version of z16, as released with the latest Technic sets (introduced in 2010).
Listed at BrickLink under reference 94925.

carzzzz9999 said...

This will be an amazing set!!! I cant wait for it. though

Can any one please explain to me that why would the unimog need air in the front? as the air powered crane is in the back, I think it said something like that on LEGO's blog

Ian said...

Oops! My bad... I didn't actually buy any 2010 sets... was broke that year!

TechnicBRICKs said...

@21st century Cars

because you can attach other pneumatic to the front.
It is for instance the case of the B-model within the box, where you can attach a snow plow to the front.

carzzzz9999 said...


oh ok, yeah that's possible, thank you

Mark Bellis said...

Dunno why the z16 cog needed reinforcing - I never broke one!

The old one can hold 4 3.2mm tubes but the new one can't. I noticed the recent old type ones had a more refined central portion.

Z16s and z24s are still the best way to transmit rotational power sideways for some distance, as an alternative to chains or belts.

BTW does the Unimog contain an air tank? It would seem prudent because the 8868 truck did. Won't be long before someone buys 2 Unimogs and puts the snowplough on the front as well as the crane on the back.

The Unimog is another set containing enough pneumatic parts to make a steam engine, like the 8049 Tractor with Log Loader, but TLG still haven't repeated the trick they showed us in the 8868 alternative model of a refuse truck, a trick that became the mainstay of pneumatic MOCs for 20 years.


Allanp said...

What would be really nice (but I don't think we will ever see one from lego for fairly obvious reasons) is a sort of distributor cap air valve looking thingy where a central shaft can rotate with as little friction as possible, redirecting air from an input to maybe 4 different outputs as it turns, with no dead zone between them. I might make one actually if my mate ever gets his workshop equipment working!

BTW those were fake fuel tanks in the 8868 ;^)

Mark Bellis said...

The life of the valve seals is the key to such developments. Bistable pneumatic logic is fine because the valves change state from one end to the other, so the wear-out rate is low if the model is slow.

The use of closed loop stop-anywhere pneumatics will cause more valve seal wear because the valve moves as often as the servo pressure regulation motor turns (that is the function of the motor, to regulate the pressures to the two sides of the piston, get rid of most of the stiction and provide the minimal dead zone). I have found that PF medium motor speed is a good speed for this, providing adequate responsiveness. Use the non-return valves from Big Ben Bricks to increase air supply independence between multiple devices.

A distributor cap device has the valve state change rate of closed-loop control coupled with greater distance of travel (round in a circle of maybe 1M radius), so the wear rate would be greater still. You could use 4 of my devices to make a distributor - the size of a 16x32 plate! There are a few pneumatic functions I'd like to shrink, such as the 2-pole reverser These help to make exclusive-OR and parity gates in bistable logic e.g. the pick and place robot's arm extends and contracts twice in the cycle compared to one movement each way for the other 3 functions.

An injection of durable seal technology might be possible from industry but the cost would be astronomical compared to current LEGO technology. If a LEGO valve costs about £2 or $3, an industrial equivalent (quick search for 3/2 pneumatic poppet valve) costs from £15 upwards. And I have over 100!

Makes me appreciate how much more durable components are in jet engine fuel systems - thousands of hours at tens of movements per second in harsh conditions and a wide temperature range - but those cost hundreds of pounds and the whole unit costs as much as a car!

If you're designing your own valve, a good place to start is to use dissimilar materials for parts that slide against each other. Similar materials can easily lock together. TLG have used this principle in some places e.g. axles (and the valve lever) are different from ABS beams (and the valve case).


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