Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Contest: Build to the Future


Rebrick has a new contest that should please LEGO Technic and BMW fans: Build to the Future! Participants are asked to imagine the ultimate BMW Motorcycle of the future – looking 50 to 100 years into the future. Models should primarily be made out of LEGO Technic elements, and have a BMW look and feel.

One lucky grand prize winner will win a trip to BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, July 7-9th 2017, including airfare, hotel accommodations, and of course, entry into the event! They will also receive 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure motorbike, signed by the design team, and a BMW Fan package, including a Silver BMW Motorrad roller pen, BMW notebook, Motersports hat, and Motorrad Lanyard.

Nine runner-ups will also receive the signed 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure motorbike and BMW Fan Package.

The contest is open until May 4th 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

Enter and learn more at:

http://Rebrick.it/BMW

If you need inspiration, Milan "grohl666" Reindl, AFOL-turned-designer famous for his single-set MOCs (his 8294 Parrot being my all-time favourite) has made his own interpretation of how a futuristic BMW motorbike could look, using only elements from the 42063. You might want to take a look at the model and how it was built.


Time to hop on and ride out!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LDD (dis)continued - WeDo 2.0 elements

A little over a year ago, LEGO issued a statement that initially appeared to indicate LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) had been discontinued. The exact phrasing was:

"For now, the program will continue to be offered to anyone interested in utilizing it but please do not expect any updates regarding functionality, the adding of new LEGO elements or glitch fixes. We have decided to pursue other digital experiences"


Of course this set off all kinds of alarms and AFOLs were quick to express their dismay concerning that decision. As a reply, very shortly afterwards LEGO issued an additional statement to clarify that the LDD project was not completely dead:

"We will not be doing automatic updates on elements, however elements will continue to be added from time to time. Unfortunately we cannot ensure that all elements are made available. I can see that the message has spread widely in the community since our original statement and I hope that you will assist us in spreading this message as well. Thank you!"

So LDD was placed in some kind of limbo. No more automatic updates (whatever that was exactly meant to mean), but yes to occasional additions.One of the additions I would like to draw you attention to today is one that is related to the WeDo 2.0 set. 

WeDo 2.0 is am odd set. It is a LEGO Education product and as such is not available through the 
regular channels. Fortunately buying LEGO Education sets has become a lot easier over the last decade. Especially in Europe there was a time it was almost impossible to but their products if you were not in some way related to an educational institution. Right now, virtually anyone can buy LEGO Education products and there are many more resellers than before.

Another reason why WeDo 2.0 is odd (yet very interesting) is that it implements a new (updated) version of Power Functions (PF). As explained in my post on The Future of PF, the WeDo 2.0 FAQ at that time had the following to say about the new system:

Q: Why do you call the elements PF when the connectors are not compatible? 
A: We call them PF because it is linking up to the new platform. WeDo 2.0 is not compatible with the old WeDo. Although all future PF will be compatible with the new platform introduced with WeDo 2.0.

You can see high resolution images of the new elements and the new connector in my post on the new parts in the WeDo 2.0 set.

Updates on LDD have been few and far between since the announcement a year ago, but LEGO is still adding to the digital design platform. The WeDo 2.0 elements are available for use! The easiest way to access them was outlined by Worawith Sirisuwan in the WeDo 2.0 Facebook Group

If you have already opened LDD then go to "View" [Step : 1], select "New Themes" [Step : 2] and from the menu that opens choose "LEGO MINDSTORMS" [Step : 3]. If the entry is greyed out that means you are already in the LEGO MINDSTORMS view of LDD.


Next go to the bottom left of the screen and click on the LEGO set box icon [Step : 4]. In the menu that opens you can select the set 45300 WeDo 2.0 Core Set [Step : 5] (a curious name as there is only one WeDo 2.0 set and no add-on packs appear to be in the planning).


You now have access to all the elements in the WeDo 2.0 set, including the electronics: the PF2 Hub, motor and sensors. The location of the elements is perfectly logical (within the LDD design). LEGO made a promising start by including the inventory of complete Technic in the specific LEGO MINDSTORMS area of LDD, but only a few sets were ever included. Not a place you'd go to much, unless you are in the habit of building digital versions of your EV3 robots.

Important new elements are evidently still being added to LDD. This opens up the possibility that other new PF2 elements will also find their way into LDD. Of course, for that to happen they will first have to appear in the shops, but the next series of PF2 elements will be here in the second half of 2017!

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