Saturday, June 30, 2012

Week TechVideo, 2012 #26 - TT-S12 Crawler

LEGO Crawlers are still the topic of the day, thus I wanted to bring here another crawler made by a Technic fan.
This time the TT-S12 by Stari89 from Slovenia, presented by himself at EB, sometime ago.

It uses no differentials either at front and rear axles, and provides a long travel 4-link suspension which offers extreme agility to this model.

Model features:
  • Four wheel steering (4WS)
  • 4-link suspension
  • 2 PF M-motors for drive and steering
  • 840g total weight (why it is enough one PF M-motor for drive)

There are a few improvements still required as the CV-joints don't withstand much torque as they pop out of their sockets too often.

I really liked the model simplicity, original suspension attachment and coolness of the color schema chosen.

You may also take a look at Stari89 Brickshelf account, for extra photos from this model.
  • The chassis here.
  • The same chassis after some modifications and simple bodywork here.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview with Gaute Munch

I know we still have a few old interviews pending... They're on their way and not forgotten at all!

Meanwhile TBs arranged and interview with Gaute Munch (Senior Manager for Technology Platforms at LEGO) about the LEGO Power Functions (LPF) and LEGO MINDSTORMS (LMS) development and novelties.

I'm just in the process of putting all the pieces together and it will be published here shortly.

What I can anticipate to you now, is that it was probably the most interesting interview run by TBs so far and you won't want to miss this!
Find everything you always wanted to know about the development of LEGO technology components and details on the new PF L-motor and PF Servo (as if we haven't seen most of it already...).

Find some tips here and there, you probably don't know about and read it carefully! Maybe you even get a glimpse about the future...

Stay tuned, while other reviews are also getting cooked!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

9398 4x4 Crawler, building live stream

Today I decided to bring a new experience for you, TBs readers.
As you may have already noticed through our facebook page, yesterday I've started to build one of the new 9398 4x4 Crawler out there. Today I'll continue for awhile, from the middle of the second book, and decided to try a live stream for the first time so that you can watch it if you want.

It should go live in a few moments and hopefully I should be able to make it available online just afterwards. So if you loose the live show, you can at least see a replay later on also here...

Enjoy and you're welcome to leave your feedback in the comments to this post.


Hi guys, it was really great to make this experience and to finish building the Crawler with you!
As far as I noticed at some moments we got 13-15 of you watching the video stream, which was realy good considering it was done without notice!

The final part where I made some tests and when the Crawler started to climb the walls was really surprising and amazing at the same time!
I believe you may have got as surprised as myself.

I must say that I really enjoyed to build this model and to play with it, a lot more than I was expecting. It looks great, it works like a charm and the model is really sturdy, so it won't easily break apart when it falls and rolls from a climb.

For once TLG came with a Technic model the really surpassed my best expectations.

For those who was not able to to watch it live, I've just made the videos available for you to see anytime at USTREAM TechnicBRICKs Channel (
Despite being possible, I'm not planning to share these at YouTube. So you might want to see them here or at the link above.

It is a sequence with four videos, in a total of 2h40m (aprox.) - The time it took to build the model from the middle of the second book untill the end, to take photos, do some tests and read/answer your questions.

All the action happens at the end of the fourth video and it was also during this video that I spent most of the time interacting with you guys, speaking and answering your interesting questions.

For those who are going to see this only after the show, you will find many questions in the comments to this post, which I've tried to answer in the video.

Now I'll proceed taking some footage for one video and writing the set review to publish here at TBs
at my own pace... there is a lot to say or to write about this set.

All the best!

Last Update: 2012.Jun.28 04:10 CET

Monday, June 25, 2012

Someone feeding images from 2H2012 sets while building...

There are lots of new images from the new 2H2012 Technic sets, being posted on the German "Doktor Brick Community" forum by someone who managed to buy the sets, while he is building them (9396 thread, 9398 thread).

Below some detailed photos of the PF-Servo motor. Interestingly on the first one we can see a couple of dot marks at the orange front output and servo head to check whether the "zero" is offset or not (it seems not exactly in this one and another I've also seen). As we can't see any adjustment screw or similar, I wonder if this is prone to drift over time and use, hopping we won't need to permanently steering to keep the crawler or any other vehicle to drive straight...
I remember the servo on the PF 'RC Steering and Receiver Unit' (bb396c01) used on former Creator sets 8183 and 8184 had such adjustment screw to align the steering. On the other way the natural backlash from Technic gears may turn this factor absolutely irrelevant.
One thing is for sure, we are not here dealing with expensive hobby RC cars, neither high cost and quality servos, whose offsets can be compensated through horn displacement and trim adjustments at the RC remotes.
Motor overall size is 5x3x7 modules.

The PF L-motor below offers quite a large variety of options to attach it to the models' structure, which is probably one of the big wins from this motor - Besides its power which is still unknown.
The motor head has a complex design of slits, which is the way to design a "simple" mold suitable to produce such elements in one single piece and capable to admit Technic pins from several directions without breaking TLG design rules (I mean the pins could not remain in tension after being snapped in the counterpart holes).
The motor has a relative unusual form factor in terms of boxing envelope. It has 3x3 head and rear mounts with a 3x4 body, which makes it something like (3+0,5+0,5)x3x7 modules - It protrudes half module in each direction of one single transverse axis.
Design from the rear side where the 4-wire cable comes out is also very well thought, so that cable can be easily routed out of the module with interfering with the connections.
From a first look to the overall motor form factor and prior to any further tests it looks it has the same planetary gear reduction stage as used in the PF M-motor. The electrical motor inside should have also a very similar electrical motor in terms of form factor, but larger. In a first analysis it could mean similar rotation speed and quite larger torque. It rests to see when I get to open one and measure its characteristics.
Quite a brilliant piece of engineering and design, as it looks so far.

As previously anticipated [1] here we have also the same new 90 degrees connector, as released with the new Monster Fighter sets.

Below we can also see two cases where the 4L tan axle [2] is being used (large steering ball joints and differential). Apparently it will help to avoid axle sliding and to keep gears in place at very specific use cases.

In the meantime you can also check the new 9398 4x4 Crawler parts list.

Also available for the 9396 Helicopter in the respective forum thread.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week TechVideo, 2012 #25 - Nico's Crawler

As from the latest news we will certainly get the first fan videos from the new 9398 set, crawling soon...

But while it doesn't happen, lets take a look into other Trial and Crawlers made by the Technic fans out there.
Today a model made sometime ago by Nico71 (Nicolas Lespour). His LEGO Trial Crawler!

The color schema is super (orange of course...) and the wire frame body provides a quite distinctive look.
This model features drive, steering, suspension, gearbox, fake engine and winch functions.One PF XL-motor for drive and one PF M-motor to steer.

As Nico often does, he also provided photo building instructions for this model.

You can read more about this model and find additional photos at Nico's creations blog.

Thanks for the instructions, the nice video and selected audio track, Nicolas!

PF Servo in action

As efferman commented to the previous post, there is a new video showing how the PF Servo turns proportionally if controlled with a PF Speed Remote (8879) - The same if connected to the PF Rechargeable Battery (8878).
The PF Servo turns 90 degrees in both directions. See below.

As I also commented to the same post it works as per the known LPF RC Protocol, which is public.
With a PF IR Remote Control (8885) it goes full left/right when the sticks are pressed forward/back (depends on polarity switch). When there is no signal arriving it returns to the center like a regular servo. It behaves similarly when attached to a regular PF Battery Box (8881, 88000).

Now if connected to the PF Speed Remote or the PF Rechargeable Battery it receives pulse width modulated signals (PWM) while attached to the PF IR Receiver (8884) or the Battery, which provide proportional control, and it turns proportionally according to the received signal. That's why it does not return to the center automatically. The Stop button must make it return to the center though.

Hope it is clear now!

PF Servo glimpse

Now that first 2H2012 LEGO Technic sets were found selling into a LEGO Shop and eBay, all kind of so far contained leaks will start popping-up...

Sunnykoomos YouTuber just published a short video, with which seems to be and old photo from part of the new PF Servo. The most interesting part of it, is that it is the first time we get to see it from the backside, revealing the dual output.
Also it confirms the PF Servo has 7 modules lengthwise.

And since we are talking about the novelties...

Lets take a look at a few other pieces of information meanwhile available.
The sets partcount has been at since awhile, and their retail prices are also consistent with those seen at an official LEGO Shop the last days also in Germany.

9393 - Tractor / Buggy
Partcount: 353
Retail Price: 29,99€

9396 - Helicopter / Intermeshing Rotors Helicopter
Partcount: 1056
Retail Price: 89,99€

9398 - 4x4 Crawler / Truck
Partcount: 1225 1327
Retail Price: 169,99€

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2H2012 LEGO Technic Sets - This is more than a leak

The new 2H2012 LEGO Technic sets are reported to be selling at an official LEGO Shop in Germany and now they are also available as 'Buy It Now' from eBay [9398, 9396, 9393].

Someone was sloppy with the company the rules, once more...

And because these won't remain in the shelves for long, someone has already shown a new kind of Dark Tan 4L Axle (part 4666999) coming with the 9398, 4x4 Crawler. It avoids having to use a technic bush or similar to keep gears, wheels or whatsoever 1L apart. However with some advantage because this is maintained fixed by the part own physical constraints.

Good luck for the hunt!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week TechVideo, 2012 #24 - Yet another submarine

Last week Mike Brandl published a nice video from his latest LEGO MINDSTORMS creation. A submarine capable to drive underwater (off course), steer, descend and ascend while diving.

Big challenge here seems to have been the way to keep the NXT brick dry...

As he described in the comments section from his video, here it is the way it was made waterproof - "a plastic bag, two layers of soft tape, some glue for the corners and around the cables, and afterwards screwed together with two metal stripes to make it tight ... it works!"

The "Grey November" (as he called it) includes three PF motors - Two for drive and steer and another one for descending / ascending control.
Please realize the LEGO PF motors are not waterproof, however they have proved to perform well under water for some time. It can go from a few hours till weeks, until they die forever... Even if they do not die in service, they will turn into rust sometime later anyway!

While we see a few air tanks from the images, I bet they are not used as ballast and there is no sophisticated mechanism to pump air out of them and initiate the descent. I guess all the model is quite balanced to have a density similar to the water and then the propellers movement are just enough to make it navigate around.

Although this is not the first functional LEGO submarine creation. Remember at least a few other [1, 2, 3] and one failed attempt [4].

Friday, June 15, 2012

Upcoming ReBrick Building Competition

ReBrick team is about to announce the first ReBrick Building Competition.

The building Challenge will run from next Monday - June 18th to July 9th 2012.

The prizes are a LEGO Inside Tour Set (signed by Designer), a Fire Brigade set (signed by Designer - Jamie Berard) and Life of George (signed by Designer - Cynthia Bodin).

A special ReBrick category will be made for a limited time (while the competition runs), for the contestants to bookmark their creations.

I'm sure, you will also find your way to participate with a Technic based model.
Stay tunned! - Full set of Competition rules will be published on the ReBrick blog on Monday 18th (Morning CET).

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