Yesterday, it was the opening day at LEGOWORLD 2011 in Zwolle, and of course we got news without any delay.
One picture of the new mini turntable appeared, that dispels any and all doubts about its size, aspect and functionality.
Presenting the new turntable for 2012!
There is absolutely no doubt that it has indeed 28 teeth, and it turns out that the speculation presented together with the pictures for 1H2012 sets was right in terms of attachment points. Also we can clearly see, from the above picture, how the turntable’s upper and lower parts attach to each other.
I hoped the new turntable would be more useful if it had a pin hole going through it instead of an axle hole or simply nothing, but it turns out the LEGO Designers are much more ingenious than that. Instead of a round or cross hole, the turntable has a square hole! This not only allows for one axle to transmit movement through the turntable, like with a round hole, but opens a lot of other possibilities like those suggested below (sorry for the quality of the images, I seriously lack the LDraw element modeling talents).
We can pass a free-spinning axle, as expected.
We can use a Technic Pole Reverser Handle or equivalent element to lock the turntable to a concentric axle, so that we don't have to use the outer teeth to rotate it.
We can pass up to four pneumatic tubes; however, this many tubes on such a small diameter may easily over-twist.
We can pass the piston of a pneumatic cylinder, linear actuator or their mini versions, which have parts with a square cross-section. The mLA, in particular, seems especially appropriate for the task.
We can have a U-joint, axle joiner or other wider-than-axle elements partially inside the turntable.
We can pass a standard beam, possibly for some kind of structural reinforcement.
Of course, there’s also the mechanism on both the 9391 Mini Crane and the 9397 Logging Truck: an axle goes through the turntable’s supports and ends in a 12T gear, which meshes directly with the turntable.
Sometimes, new elements appear to have very specific purposes and narrow niches of application, but this new element will surely come in handy in lots of situations!