Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #30 - A freaking tunneling excavator

It has been a long time since we didn't feature an Excavator...
The last week, Sariel published his latest work and imagine what it was?... Yes, one excavator! Although one of an unusual kind.

It is a model from a Liebherr R944C with a tunneling arm. The model features a blend of electrical and pneumatic functions, but it caught my attention because of their particular design and tilt movements on the excavator arm - accomplished by two small pneumatic cylinders.

Besides the milling head, the model could use any other sort of attachment like a bucket, a saw, a pneumatic hammer or something else you can imagine.

Overall this model uses 5 motorized functions (propulsion, slew, elevation of first arm section, drive the head function) and 4 pneumatic functions (elevation of the dozer blade, arm's second section tilt, elevation of arm's third section and angle control of arm's head).

As usual, better to read the original explanation from Paul at Sariel.pl and see the original set of photos.



Would I have the intention to continue updating my Excavators Hall of Fame, and this one would certainly deserve a full featuring section.

The 8110 snow plough inventory

One of our readers (Ryan) made an inventory from the 8110 snow plough - The attachment for the B-model (Snowplow). And sent it to me.
He took the images from the original inventory, at the building instructions of the main model, did some copy-paste work, et voilá! This is the reason for the low resolution images, which he naturally apologizes.



This specific inventory did not exist before and I believe it could be much useful for those willing to gather all the parts necessary to build this attachment as a supplement to the main model, without needing to buy a second complete set.
Hopefully there are no mistakes with the parts count, however if you notice something wrong, please let us know.

In case you're  looking for the instructions to build the attachment above mentioned, please refer to the links in this previous post.


Thanks Ryan!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2H11 LEGO Technic sets available from shop.LEGO.com

Apart from 8110 (Unimog U400) which should arrive in August, the other 2H11 LEGO Technic sets, started to become available at shop.LEGO.com since the beginning of July in a few countries.
Slowly their availability has been extended to other countries where the online LEGO shop is available. Take a look and check whether you can already other them from your own country.

Buy some, for your holidays.



Have not yet decided which ones to buy? Check other's favorite from Brickset!


8071: Bucket Truck

8109: Flatbed Truck


Also do not forget! - The Technic and MINDSTORMS shop.lego.com ads on the right column, are the most convenient way to get directly into the product pages of your preference, and support this blog.

LEGO Brand Retail


Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

LEGO Community Survey July 2011



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

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AFOLJuly2011


Please fill in and let TLG know what do you think.
For the purpose of these surveys, consider TechnicBRICKs also as a LUG.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #29 - Murcielago

Sorry for bothering you with another video from Paul (Crowkillers)... but I liked to finally see this as well.
The amazing recreation of a Lamborghini Murcielago. [1, 2].

There is not much to say that was not already said or known about this model, but it is always good to see a video from something we only knew from pictures. There are always new angles to observe.

  • AWD
  • V12 Engine
  • Full steering with HoG and in car steering wheel
  • 4 wheel independent suspension
  • Opening scissor doors
  • Opening hatchback
  • And of course it feature the usual chrome wheels




We would just need better color videos now.


Lay back, see and relax.
Must build this one!...

Friday, July 22, 2011

8110 - Unimog U400, Commercial

The promotional video for the new LEGO Technic Unimog U400 (8110), was published at technic.LEGO.com website quite recently.
Being published now, it is very likely it is close to become widely available in the retail market, as expected.

Enjoy the Ad!


8110 - Unimog U400 (Promotional Video)



Let me also take the opportunity and highlight the promotional Flash animation from the last 1H released Technic set (8081, Extreme Cruiser), which by distraction was not shown here before.


8081 - Extreme Cruiser


Play well!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(Un)official Building Instructions?

It all started when it became possible to build virtual LEGO models with fan created software like Ldraw. Over the years many add-on programs were written, to improve and expand the possibilities of the virtual models. High-res renders, flexible elements and semi-automated building instructions (BI) are just a few examples. If it wasn't for those we would never have had BI for some of those great TECHNIC MOCs (My Own Creation) that we see today. People like Nico71, Jurgen Krooshoop and Designer-Han build TECHNIC models and make BI themselves, whereas in other cases it's a collaboration, for example between Crowkillers who builds and Blakbird who makes the instructions.
Many fans take it for granted that those BI are almost always shared for free, and are discontent when someone dares to ask a compensation for it, but actually we should be very, VERY grateful for that.
Compare this for example with other industries: people pay a lot for sculptures and paintings; tutorials for courses cost money, besides having to buy all the materials yourself. So what is it then that makes LEGO creations so different?

Having a virtual copy of a LEGO MOC is one thing, but making step by step BI takes a lot of extra time and effort, especially when in our case we're talking about bigger TECHNIC models. Even though the process for making them can be done semi-automatically today, they are still far away from LEGO standards, unless...

Your name is Joshua Delahunty.
This life-long LEGO enthusiast has been active in the community from the beginning and is a software engineer by profession. After he had made a few smaller building instructions, late 2008 he came across Nathanaël Kuipers' modular ConceptCar and was determined to make this his next project. Because Nathanaël is a former LEGO TECHNIC designer, it would give Joshua a great opportunity to learn many aspects about how to create BI according to LEGO standards. His pursuit would be to develop and present BI as close as possible to the real deal. Little did he realise the very long and intense period that awaited him...
Why did it take more than 3 1/2 years to complete in the end?



First of all we must not forget that this has been a spare time project, and that this has been done besides all the day to day tasks, routines, and difficulties dealt with. But apart from that there were many other challenges to overcome.
Before being able to consider to even start producing BI, the model in question had to be built virtually. Nathanaël used MLCad for this, however, certain elements were not available in the parts library at the time. Philippe Hurbain another big LEGO enthusiast and Ldraw expert was called in if he could design those elements in CAD. Luckily he gladly accepted to help out.



Once the model was created virtually the biggest challenge in the whole process of making the BI was communication. With an 8 hour time difference it was not easy to find a slot to discuss the approach, ideas, model changes, etc. That's right, changes were made on the model during the BI process, as the ConceptCar was not fully designed with BI in mind, nor up to LEGO standards. Making changes on the go is time consuming and dangerous, because they can have influence on other parts, especially in TECHNIC. It's very common to miss something and have a mistake left in the update. This is probably acceptable for a MOC, but in this case Joshua had set himself a clear goal that those BI had to be as close as possible to official ones.

This leads to another major time consuming challenge; creating 'exploded' elements in steps for better visibility. As a consequence this means that not a single step could be produced (semi-)automatic, but every step, including sub(-assemblie)s, had to be created manually. This was only possible due to Joshua his dedication and persisting determination.
Because the process of making the BI had to be quite flexible too - remember there were changes on the go - the piece of code for every single step was saved. This is a painstaking job, and here the programming experience from Joshua was critical!

Click to open the original PDF file: [Left Image] [Right Image]


After the image for a sub or step was created and saved, the lay-out had to be done manually as well by using Adobe InDesign. Windows for BOMs (Bill Of Material) and subs were made, and the images of elements and steps were pasted in. This is not such a big deal for small models, but when we're talking about a model with almost 1500 elements spread over 200 pages of BI, this can be considered a major task!



Often it happened that there was a disagreement about the best way of building/ showing a step or section. Then there was a short discussion with argumentation on which way to go forward. Sometimes more than one solution was produced and then compared. Again this slowed down the process, but that's what you get with strongly opinionated perfectionists.

The end result however can be considered satisfying and a milestone in unofficial building instructions. The downside is that, because the process took so long, there is a good chance that the model is less interesting and possibly outdated by more recent MOCs. By presenting some teasers of the quality of the BI in this article , the developers would like to measure how much interest and appreciation there is for such projects. Is it worth the effort or more like overkill?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week TechVideo, 2011 #28 - Deluxe

With some delay, this was the week that Paul Boratko published a video from his latest Supercar. The same that was published here almost two months ago (Super Deluxe 2) [1, 2].

The description of the model main features you find on the previous post. However the video highlights some of these and it is really nice to see the doors opening mechanism working, whereas a couple of bevel gears on the rear deck lid do the action.
Very similar to the rear spoiler which can also be raised or lowered by rolling a small bevel gear between the seats.



Nice work also by showing the relation between the selected gear speed and the velocity of the pistons inside the engine.
Cars need transmissions because of the physics of the gasoline engine. First, any engine has a redline - a maximum rpm value above which the engine cannot go without exploding. Second, engines have narrow rpm ranges where horsepower and torque are at their maximum. For example, an engine might produce its maximum horsepower at 5,500 rpm. The transmission allows the gear ratio between the engine and the drive wheels to change as the car speeds up and slows down. You shift gears so the engine can stay below the redline and near the rpm band of its best performance. The higher you shift gears the less rpm the motor needs to deliver for the same speed.

Finally, we are used to see Paul changing his chrome supplier from time to time, looking for better prices and wider possibilities. Below, one shot of the latest chrome wheels he ordered from Coat of Chrome.com.




These are: Silver, Chrome Black, Gold and Copper. You can however ask for other color tinted shades as well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Building Instructions for 2H2011 LEGO Technic sets, available online

The building instructions for all the 2H2011 LEGO Technic sets and respective B-models, are now available for download at technic.LEGO.com.


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











  • 8071 (Snow Plow - B-model)
    Book 1/2
    Book 2/2

    So finally you get access to the long waited BI, for the Unimog snow plow attachment.




Happy building!
Thanks JunkstyleGio.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

LEGO CUUSOO International becomes Beta

I believe many of you already heard about LEGO CUUSOO (Wish).

Today I found some interesting developments on this project, from the Brick Journal website.
Basically it says...


In 2009, CUUSOO partnered with the LEGO Group to create a website. Unlike most websites at that time, this site was one of the first to use online media to propose and promote ‘wishes’. Specifically, LEGO related ideas and creations.
This idea was not a new one to CUUSOO, as they began as a site that presented wishes made by individuals online. Website browsers could vote for ideas, and provide input for possible pricing and production. It was this idea of using the internet to provide support and research that attracted the LEGO Group New Business Division’s attention. As a result, LEGO CUUSOO started in the fall of 2009 as a Japanese-only website.

From there, ideas for LEGO models, themes, and even parts were submitted online for consideration. The threshold for an idea to be considered for production by the LEGO Group was 1000 votes, and there were dozens of ideas clamoring for attention. By early 2010, one model reached the threshold, a model of the Shinkai 6500 Japanese research submarine. Production was researched and initiated, with a run of 10,000 sets released in late 2010.



By 2011, another set had made the threshold, a model of the Japanese Hayabusa space probe. The creator of this wish used social media to spread the word and encourage people to vote for the model, and as a result, Hayabusa got 1000 votes in only 11 weeks, compared to Shinkai’s 60 weeks. The Shinkai made another achievement, though, by selling most of its run in Japan alone.

The submitter behind the Hayabusa model, Daisuke, mainly used Twitter to promote the model, as well as his own blog online. Offline, he went to Hayabusa–related events and passed out flyers about his model. In a short time, his model reached the threshold for consideration.

At Brickworld, a LEGO fan event in Chicago, Illinois, it was announced that LEGO CUUSOO will be expanding from a Japan-exclusive web platform to an international platform. With this expansion, the idea for the site is the same - to make LEGO wishes come true. Now, though, the scope is larger and so is the threshold. It will now take 10,000 supporters before the LEGO Group considers a wish, but it will also be for international distribution. Launch of the site is set for the fall.

LEGO CUUSOO is now beta testing its new site and is inviting people to become part of this groundbreaking project.


Interested users can submit on their own to join the Beta testing program, or read through Brick Journal and find the activation link.

Take a look and make your LEGO wish!
Once LEGO CUUSOO becomes widely available, I'm confident there are some great Technic models, made by fans out there, which will gather the necessary 10.000 supporters with ease...

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