Snowblower/Tractor


I participate in only some of the contests that are available in the online LEGO community. I generally participate if it meets the following criteria: Is the challenge within my competencies? Does the contest align with other responsibilities/projects to which I have already committed? Can I be competitive? Frankly, it is the last question that often stops me. The preceding two questions determine my limitations, and considering how good many other builders are it is not often I participate. With this in mind, I decided to enter the Eurobricks Technic Challenge 9 (nine already!?).

A full gallery with Instructions can be found here.

Snowblower

Tractor

What interested me in this contest was the constraints, and to a lesser extent the topic. the constraints stipulated that both MOCs had to fit within 10,000 cubic studs. I got out my calulators, and started playing with numbers. I was hooked. Additionally, building one MOC is hard, and building two from the same parts seemed very hard. It was something I had never done, and only a few builders can develop a good B or C model. The planning stage would be critical. Both models would have to be planned together right from the beginning. I toyed with a Combine/Tractor, and a Pipelayer/Crane, and even a Airplane/Boat. With each of these designs, I realized I would be using too much space with a long appendage, such as the Combine’s implement, or the Pipelayer’s arm. The cubic studs required something more…cube shaped. I eventually settled on a Snowblower and a Tractor. Both were a little more square and had similar components (wheels, engines, colors, chain links). I knew I would need to build both together, and multiple renditions would be needed. I was ready to start building.

Snowblower Rear

Pretty early, I settled on 17x17x34 studs for the Snowblower. I challenged myself to include steering, a working blower, and a working salt spreader. I build the basics of the blower implement right away, complete with rotation coming from the truck drive. On the rear, I added an implement lift using a worm gear setup, and a quick link to the truck . Next, I worked on the chassis of the truck. I added portal axles, because I could not get the 5L wheel axles to say connected to the differential. This also helped to clear the front PTO from the steering function, which was linked directly to a HOG gear on top of the cabin. The salt spreader needed a take-off gear for the conveyor belt, and the discharge plate would be driven separately from the rear differential. The mechanics were set. I then worked on the cab. I made sure the cab, the blower, and the spreader could be easily removed by removing up to four pins for each. It’s a fun modular function that allow for other attachments.

Snowblower Modules

I first made a pile of all the parts used for the truck while it was still built, and made a first draft of the tractor. Based on the parts of the Snowblower, the tractor would have four wheels, a 2 cylinder engine, and something with a whole bunch of 3×3 round, red, liftarms. I first modeled it after a John Deere 7R series, but realized this would leave me with too many left over parts. I then tried modeling it after a Claas Saddletrac. This seemed to be a better fit. I then took apart the Snowblower, making instructions as I went. I then used these parts to make the official model B. Over the course of a week, I made many revisions.

Tractor Rear

Both models worked well, as none of the feature are too complicated. I was pleased with the A model as everything functioned as it should, and it looked great. The tractor was simple, and it’s simple functions worked well. I was pleased with how it all turned out. It was great working with a limited number of parts for the B model, but I would prefer to clean up the look of the tractor a little better. This was a great little contest. I loved the restriction of the cubit studs, and I loved having to make a MOC with a defined group of parts. Now let’s see how the voting shakes out.

 

 

2015


Another year comes to a close at Thirdwigg.com. Thanks to those of you who visit, read, comment, and build. In many ways 2015 was a frustrating year for me as I was finishing or attempting to finish many projects that were stalled, or ones in which I had lost interest. In retrospect, I should have cut ties, and moved on to something I would have enjoyed building more. Because of this and other responsibilities, my completed MOCs were down a little for this year. As a recap, I completed the Cadillac ATS, Windrower, CAT 586C, OCTAN Air Racer, MD600N, 2045 Mercedes Benz Athane, Audi allroad, and T-55.

To reflect on this year, some things come to mind. First, having a dedicated building space is a plus and a minus. It’s nice to be able to have a functional space to keep things organized and separate from the other parts of my life. But it also keeps me away from other good things in my life, so I do not find myself casually building while something else is going on. Also, I can hide my mess in the room which contributes to a lack of focus on projects. This bogs me down.

Second, I am very proud of some of the builds I completed this year. The MD600N and the Cadillac ATS were projects that were outside of my comfort zone, and the time spent completing them reflected this. Though this reminded me that as building time become more limited, I should be careful to limit my difficult projects.

Third, I think I have finally found a good, consistent, and repeatable photography system for my MOCs. While my pictures are not quite 100% perfect, they are 90% perfect 100% of the time now. This is a great improvement, and allows me to take photographs more often regardless of light or weather (particularly instructions).

Finally, I need to stop making supercars. I get excited by planning for them, but I do not find building the exteriors very exciting. Because of this supercar projects drag on for far too long.

For 2016 here are my goals.

  • Work on no more 3 WIPs projects at a time. More can be planned, but not built.
  • Do what I can to get to Brickworld 2016.
  • Finish the Ferrari 333 SP.
  • Complete a garbage truck.
  • Make a small scraper.
  • Make a pickup truck.
  • Participate in another contest.
  • Maybe another tank, or a Honda 2×4. Neat.

Let everything else flow as it comes up. With thirdwiggville now filled with four wiggs, it’s about time for me to acknowledge my temporal limitations. I will update The Queue as things come up.

To 2016! Happy Building.

Top 15 of 2015


 

Welcome back to the second annual Thirdwiggy Awards. Since I have my own website, I get to pick my favorite MOCs of the year. So, here they are. As with every list, the challenge is not in what to include, but what to leave out. As a reminder, this is how the Board of Trustees at Thirdwigg.com evaluate MOCs throughout the year.

Was the MOC something creative? Basically, was it something different than a red supercar, or a yellow truck/machine?

Did it contribute a new build technique to the community? Did we learn how to transmit movement in a new and unique way?

Was it something I found myself returning to frequently? I build at lot, and others inspire my builds. Did I see something this year that I incorporated right away?

Was is visually appeasing? It takes work to make a Technic MOC look good. Granted, this is subjective, but I think my eyes are generally consistent with the eyes of others.

And we are off to the races.

15. MAZ 537

17335992141_1aa61805ba_c

Let’s start the year off with a biggie. I wondered how many people saw this based on the flickr views, but I love this. The size, the function of the crane, and all the sticks on the back. Plus, I know how hard it is to build with all that dark green. Plus a good brick exterior is great. Great job.

 

14.LMP1 

Nico71LMP1

Nico71 needs no introduction. One of the things I like about him is the simple execution of complex functions. Because of his work, I now know how a loom works. The TechLug LMP contest this year had some great designs, but what stood out for me about Nico71’s design is the simplicity of the suspension. Designing a simple and functioning pushrod suspension is no easy task, and this LMP1 shows a great solution for the problem. The opening doors and panels, and those great wheel fenders set this MOC apart. Nico71, you have made some great cars. We look forward to more.

13.  Airport Crash Tender

This MOC received a lot of praise when it was released, and for good reason. It’s large, it functions well, has some great features, and the exterior is well polished. I loved the inclusion of the water tanks, and it has just the right amount of stickers. I have been impressed with the couple of builds Lucio Switch has made in a very short amount of time. Hopefully that will not end anytime soon.

12.  LMP1 

BJ51LMP1

 

As usual, the French Techlug group, produces some great MOCs over the course of the year. They do a great job organizing some great contests, and 2015 was no exception. On the heals of the 42039 24 Hour Car, the LMP contest was a great idea. The contest produced some great cars. This one I liked because the lines were creative due to the way the panels interacted, and the door hinge was great. It was great to learn about BJ51 from this MOC. Great job.

10.  Mercedes E-Core

Without saying too much about the Rebrick 2045 Contest that makes me sound like a sore loser, there were some winning designs that were… simple. The winning Mercedes Phoenix was beautiful, but it didn’t make me think about the future in a new way and, I think, it only had one function. A contest like this should tell me how we will do things (transportation in this context) differently. The E-Core was beautiful, and used Technic elements well, and it got me excited about trucks of the future. I loved door and stair system. I loved the modular design with the different drivetrains for different loads. And each load would require a different addition; power, steering, etc. I could see this being helpful in a future where loads are more diverse, cities are more dense, and safety is paramount.

9.  Air Ambulance

I’m a sucker for helicopters, garbage trucks, and fellers. This MOC was just what I needed to see as I was slogging through my MD 600N. The styling on the bodywork was well planned, and functioned well. I appreciated the focus on the bodywork, and appreciated the builders inclusion of only a collective. I look forward to seeing more helicopters next year.

8. DAF

There are big MOCs, and then there is this. The size of this DAF is mind-blowing. After building the Spitfire and the Typhoon, I know the challenges of building MOCs this large. You have plan a lot from the begining, and you are constantly rebuilding to make the MOC support itself. Take a look at the video. It’s so slow, but so huge. I couldn’t help thinking, how many 8110 Unimogs were harmed during this build.

8.T34-85

Marat is one of the few builders I have actually met. He does not publish much, but the MOCs he does publish are top notch. Like the next tank, the T34-85 packed so many functions into a small and perfect body. The shaping of the turret, the turret ring, and the seamless meeting of many wedge plates are some of the details I love. All the needed functions of a Technic tank are there, and everything works great.

7.M4 Sherman Crab

I highlighted Tommy Styrvoky in last year’s list as someone to watch, and oh boy did he deliver in 2015. Tommy has tank bodywork in LEGO figured out. He recreates the shapes of many tanks well. The Sherman continued this trend, but added some complex mechanical functions. The mine flail on the front is easily identified, but the difficulty of packaging normal functions like drive and turret rotation, and complex functions like the gun elevation and the gearbox are less apparent. Also, explore how he created the suspension using internal pulley wheels; it’s stupendous. Great job Tommy, and we look forward to more builds. Maybe one in something other than Light Bluish Grey?

6.Sky Crane

SkyCrane

I kept coming back to this build this year. It was another entry in a TechLug contest. The design is simple, colorful, and has a playful look that I long for in many MOCs that is often present in TLG sets. The functions of the lifting mechanism, rotor, and container grabber are well executed, and the integration of the motor is great. Plus it’s orange. How great is that?

5.  Predator

NKPredator

 

For the first couple of months after this car was published, I ignored it as another supercar. I was not very interested as I found the body stance a little too forward. I enjoy cars that have rearward stance (long hood/bonnet, short deck), which is why sedans works better for my eyes. Anyway. What turned me on to this car was discovered while reading a review of the MOC on Rebrickable.com. It was here I learned how the transmission worked. Getting a realistic moving 6 speed manual transmission in LEGO is hard. It took me 2 years to finalize the design in my ATS. The Predator linkage is smooth and simple, yet accomplishes the task. I am not sure why it has taken so long for someone to mount a transmission vertically in a car. The originality of this simple solution is excellent. Creative solutions to complex mechanics are great to see.

4.  Tractor 

Seriously, follow František Hajdekr on flickr. He is talented and builds fast. If you need lots of small ideas, go check out some of his solutions. I struggled with which creation of his to add (his Motorcycle gets an Honorable Mention; look at that engine), as so many builds are great. I had to pick one. I loved this little tractor. With a small working engine, steering, and pendular suspension, the MOC ticks all the right boxes for me. The playful aesthetics and a build size right up my alley, I am happy to include this on the list this year.

3. Feller Buncher

Feller

Feller Bunchers are my favorite machines. Something about the mechanical coordination of driving up to a tree, cutting it, lifting it, and then moving it to wherever it needs to go is so exciting for me. The size of this MOC is impressive, but the mechanics are what get it on the list. The tilt-able deck from the four way stand is complex, and it was fun watching it come together one Eurobricks. The cutting head is clean, and well executed. And it’s green. People, make more fellers.

2. GAZ 51

GAZ

I loved these three cute little MOCs. They function well, do not have anything extra, and they have only what is necessary for this scale. More people need to build like this. I’m looking forward to the Eurobricks Technic Challenge 9 contest, to see if it produces similar MOCs. I love the little red one with the small bed. I challenge you to build something like this.

1.Hyster 32-12

TIBHyster3212

 

Forklifts are common and simple machines, and yet, they are infrequently done well in LEGO. The fork part is hard, and to complete a working multiple stage lift mechanism takes a lot of planning and trial and error. TheItalianBrick recreation of a Hyster 32-12 is beautiful. The MOC is complex, huge, and finished to the tiniest of details (notice how those fork-width motor wires are routed on the right of the lift boom). The rear fenders are perfect. The running boards are so simple it hurts my head. The Unimog tires look great in this MOC. Congratulations, TheItalianBrick, you win the 2015 Thirdwiggy Award.

T-55A


The T-72 that a made a couple of years ago is still the most popular MOC I have made; at least in terms of internet analytics. This year, I committed to making another tank, so I figured keeping in line with old Soviet armor would be rather apropos.

The main gallery may be found on Brickshelf or at Flickr.

T-55

The T-54/T-55 line of tanks have been produced in greater numbers than any other tank. The MOC represented here is a T-55A, representing types that were assembled starting in 1970. This series included an updated NBC and antiradiation system, an upgraded engine, and also added back in the 12.7mm anti-aircraft DShK on the loader’s hatch that was part of the original T-54 spec.

As with most of my MOCs, I starting scaling the tank before any building took place. I knew I wanted to use the newer, larger track links, and I knew I wanted to use the old mid-sized wheels. This set my scale, so I got to work. Starting with the chassis and the hull I worked first on the driveline and suspension. I used simple 2×4 liftarms to connect the road wheels to a suspension axle which activated a shock absorber inside the hull. Each road wheel has its own shock absorber. Fitting them all in took some creativity, but they are all mounted inside on the left and right sides of the hull. In the end, each wheel has about 3 studs of vertical travel.

T-55 Chassis

In between each suspension bank are the remaining mechanics.  After the suspension was set, I worked on the turret functions. Right from the beginning, I knew the tank would have a rotating turret and an elevating gun. It was clear having the elevation mechanics for the gun in the turret would be tight, so I decided instead to have the functions placed in the hull rather than in the turret. Using a vertically mounted mLA, connected directly to the breach of the gun, I was able to develop a method that would elevate the gun throughout the full turret rotation. The turret rotation was driven by a 8z gear connected to the turntable, and reduced by a worm gear. Both motors for the elevation and rotation are placed directly in front of the turret.

T-55 MechBehind the turret are two PF L motors mounted transversely side by side. They drive a 1:1 gearbox which connect directly to each rear drive sprocket. The IR receivers are placed above the gearbox. For those keeping score at home, the internals are (f to r) the battery box, the turret motors, the turret mechanics, the drive motors, and finally the IR receivers.

Working on the exterior of the MOC is what took the most time. The hull came together pretty quickly, with the exception of the details over each track. Most of the finishing time came with the turret exterior. Most Soviet tanks have the distinctive mushroom turret, which considering LEGO’s cube orientation presented some challenges. The turret of the T-55 also has a slight triangle orientation when viewed from the top. Like the T-72, I designed the turret with four side orientations (left, right, front, and rear), and one top orientation. Starting from the rear, I added a basic curved structure. The sides each had a couple levels of slopes, each tapering in toward the gun. The front was a little more complex. There are two “slope blocks” made of 4 curved slope bricks, and a supporting structure. One slope block is mounted on each side of the gun. The support structure is a mess of bricks with a stud on one side, headlight bricks, and plates. The top of the turret is plates on the front, and two sloped plate sections under each hatch. The two hatches are mounted to the turret support under the sloped plate sections. The AA machine gun is placed on the top, and various external mountings are placed in various ways around the turret.

T-55 Turret Detail

After making a lot of non-powered MOCs, it was nice to get back into Power Functions. I was pleased that everything worked flawlessly. The drive had adequate traction and power. The suspension worked well, and provided good floatation and travel. The turret rotation was smooth and allowed for precise directions changes. The gun elevation worked great, though I had to limit turret rotations to under four before the clutch on the mLA would snap. After a number of smaller builds, and frustratingly long builds, I was nice to finish something that worked well, provided constant entertainment throughout the build, and turned out quite nice.

Happy building.

Audi allroad


There are not many projects I start that I do not finish. I can count a couple. But, sometimes there are projects that take a long time to complete. I either loose motivation, lack parts (read budget), or find something else to do. If I were wise, I would toss the project, and move on to something better. But there is value to trudging through the slog and completing something difficult. The Spitfire is a great example of this. The Audi Allroad has been on The Queue for about 16 months, and it’s finally done.

The full gallery may be seen on Brickshelf or on Flickr.

Audi allroad

After completing the OCTAN F1, I thought I could use the suspension for an all-wheel drive car. I was sure I could make the front suspension with steering work at this scale.

allroad Suspension

I wanted it to have another fun feature, so using a bunch of differentials, I developed a simple three speed transmission. Three power functions motors are connected via two differentials which connect to the drive axles. Each differential acts as a subtractor between each motor. When one motor is running, the power moves through two differentials, and the car moves slowly. When two motors are running, the power moves through one differential, and it’s a little faster, and when all three motors are running the car is running the fastest as no differentials are splitting the power. I got it to work, and within a day, I had a working chassis.

allroad Driveline

Once this was done, the MOC sat on my desk for a long time. This past fall, Thirdwiggville welcomed another citizen to the village, and this gave me lots of time late at night to get back to working on this project. I spent a couple of weeks working on the body work with the perspective of “finish this.” So the body work could use a little more polishing; doors, mirrors, better lines, maybe an interior. But I was happy to finally get this done.

The MOC worked well. The suspension functions quite well at this scale, and the transmission was simple and effective. It could be a little quicker, but I was not going to make a substantial gearing change after the MOC was built.

Two final thoughts. I need to stop building supercars because they take a lot of time and effort for me, and I find little motivation for the body work; I do not think the body work looks good, and I lack motivation to work on it. Second, I needed to test the driveline earlier in the build process. I spend too much time fiddling with gear ratios after everything was build. But this project is done, and I am happy it is.

Happy building.

2045 Mercedes-Benz Athane


I enjoy participating in LEGO contests, but I cannot join all of them. Sometimes the timing, my build interest, and the available parts all line up in a way that I can submit an entry. I was able to submit something for the LEGO Technic Mercedes-Benz Future Truck Competition hosted at Rebrick.com because everything fell into place. I hope you enjoy the submission.

The full gallery may be seen here (flickr) or here (brickshelf).

Mercedes Benz Athane

While I would love to see us progress to flying and fully autonomous vehicles, a complete technological and transportational paradigm shift needs more than 30 years; see where we were in 1985. I envision transportation in 2045 will be affected by a couple of features:

  • Cities will be more dense
  • Active transportation will occupy a greater share of road users
  • Electric charging options will be more available and more diverse
  • Vehicles will still have drivers, but the drivers will be heavily assisted with technology
  • Fossil fuels will still be used, but significantly reduced and not limited solely to petroleum
  • Cargo will not change, but storage will
Various loads to apply to the Athane via the SmartStack System.

Various loads to apply to the Athane via the SmartStack System.

 

With this is mind the 2045 Mercedes-Benz Athane has been designed to best fit within this context. While taking this context into account, the Athane prioritizes three values as most important: Safety, Sustainability, and Versatility.

Placement of the large methane tanks. ThermoCommLink on right rear bumper.

Placement of the large methane tanks. ThermoCommLink on right rear bumper.

Here is the Press Release-

May 22, 2045, for immediate release

The 2045 Mercedes Benz Athane prioritizes safety, sustainability, and versatility. The 2045 Athane is the most advanced and cost effective truck in our 150 years of truck building experience.

As cities become denser and multiple transportation modes are becoming more prevalent, road safety for all road users must be paramount. The Athane’s ThemoCommLink (TCL), located on the right front and right rear bumpers, allow motorized vehicles to communicate to one another. The TCL also detects the heat signature of pedestrians and cyclists. Identification and communication with other users, keeps all road users safer. The driver is seated in the center and forward in the cab to increase vision. Retention of a human driver allows for relational interaction at the job site, and helps the technology make good decisions about varying road situations. The TCL Technology assists the driver so fewer errors are made. The front bumper shaping and full length wheel guards lowers the severity of crashes with non-motorized users should they occur. The Athane uses eight steerable wheels to improve weight distribution and increase city maneuverability. While many manufactures are switching to floatation and hover type drivetrains, this setup allows for unmatched braking control, and removes disruptive air currents to those walking and cycling close to the moving truck.

The Athane’s Methane-Hybrid driveline continues Mercedes Benz’s prioritization of decreasing fossil fuel use. The Athane uses electric propulsion using energy stored in the batteries under the cab and bed. Battery charging is done by braking and by a small methane powered combustion engine behind the cab. Additionally, the Athane can be ordered with an induction charger under the cab to work with newly developed induction charging roadways being installed in many municipalities. Methane gas is clean burning, and a significant byproduct of the waste and recycling process currently in place with Octan Rubbish. A partnership with Octan Energy and Mercedes Benz has developed a standard way to reap, store, transport, and fuel the Athane’s regeneration engine using methane gas. Removable methane tanks are house behind the rear wheels, and in smaller tanks in the cab.

Today’s logistics companies are searching for ways to improve versatility and lower cost. The Athane’s SmartStack systems allows for interchangeable bodies, cargos, and applications all with one common truck. The SmartStack system makes it easy to change the load in just minutes. The connection fits the international container standard. Many body work designers are applying this standard as well. In one afternoon, you can ship a container, deliver a load of concrete, and pull a fifth-wheel with the standard hitch.

Welcome to the future. The 2045 Mercedes Benz Athane keeps all road users safer, decreases our harm on the planet, and supports all work tasks needed.

Features:

  • 8 wheel steering
  • Sleeping bed
  • Aerodynamic cabin
  • In-cab Storage System
  • ThemoCommLink, front and rear
  • SmartStack System
  • Fifth-Wheel Hitch
  • Wheel Guards
  • Large/Low Bumper
  • Methane Tanks
  • Hybrid Motor
  • Induction Charger
  • Batteries
  • Passenger Jump Seat
  • Front and Rear Lighting
  • Video Mirrors on Each Side of the Steering Wheel
  • Visibility Focused Driver Placement

MD600N


One of my first memories of a helicopter was watching a Phoenix Police MD520 land in Roadrunner Park, a block away from my house. The high pitch whine of the main prop was incredible, but another sound was missing. I gathered all my seven year old courage, and asked the pilot, “where is the tail rotor.” I got a lesson in aerodynamics that day, and to this day I can still identify an MD520 by sound. It still remains my favorite helicopter, so I figured it was high time for me to honor this aircraft in LEGO.

Full gallery can be found here.

MD600N Front

What excites me about building with LEGO Technic is creating functions that allow motor, movement, and control. Helicopters are mechanically complex, so I find myself drawn to recreating them. I learned about how they work when I built my first helicopter. With this new helicopter I started with the rotor head. I first built Effermans great swashplate design, and figured out what should stay and go. A four blade rotor head seemed not quite right, so after a little work, I managed to get a six blade head. It was with this decision, and discovering in the chosen scale there would be very little internal room, that I decided to switch to making an MD 600N.

MD600N Starboard

I then got to work setting dimensions, and getting the scale of the airframe correct. The length of the rotor blades dictated the scale, and the interior was going to be tight. The major challenge was getting the control functions connect to the cockpit. This is not a new challenge, as it seems to be the case with every large plane I do. I have a lot of experience with it, and so I came up with some solutions. The challenge with a helicopter is the collective. Every movement that is transmitted, must be able to retail its movement while also being effected by the collective. This works well with the swashplate, but at the controls is where this gets difficult. Using the basis of Effermans design allowed for a simple setup where the collective moves an axle on which the the left/right and fore/aft controls mount.

MD600N Cockpit

_MG_2539

Moving the collective moves the other two controls in a way that is independent from joystick inputs, and allows for complete swashplace articulation at any collective pitch. The controls connect to the swashplate above the main cabin and move forward. From there all three fuctions move down to the floor of the cockpit in between the pilot/copilot seats, and the second row seats. The collective is connected here to a lever on only the pilot’s side. The left/right controls connect via an axle to the joystick, and the fore/aft controls connect via a 9L link to the joystick. Both joysticks are linked together.

 

MD600N Chassis

The final control adjusts the yaw of the aircraft. The MD600N uses three methods to give anti-torque to the main rotor. In forward flight the 1)  tail planes give directional stability. The tailboom also has 2) two slits that provide a “Coanda Effect” from the main rotor downwash. Finally, at the end of the boom is a 3) movable jet direct thruster (all are nicely discussed here). This thruster rotates to force more or less thrust against the torque of the main rotor, much like the more common tail rotor. In this MOC, the thurster rotates on a small turntable, and has an axle running through the boom the controls the rotation. The axle connects to the floor petals by way of a flex cable, and a liftarm running below the cockpit. Both pedals are linked together.

Once all the controls were set, I could work on the body. I wanted the helicopter to be blue as I see it in my memory (almost). This presented some parts challenges, but not as many as I expected. The two suicide doors open to the main cabin, though I did not add any to the cockpit. Many liftarms and connectors were used for the rest of the cabin. I wish current Technic parts could facilitate the rather bubbly lines of the MD600N, but I was pleased with how it looked in the end.

As with many of my large aircraft, this helicopter suffered from gummy controls. The range of motion of the controls reflect the scale for the model, but do not allow for great playability or demonstration of features. For something like a helicopter, I am interested in powering the controls surfaces and inputs controls via Power Functions much like this. Next time I guess. But the Helicopter looks great on my shelf, and it brings me back to a great time in my childhood. I hope you enjoy.

Happy building.

 

OCTAN Air Racer


OCTAN is one of my favorite longitudinal themes of LEGO. It gives a little color and identity to many of the racing vehicles that have been produced by LEGO since 1994. I don’t know why it took me so long to start making MOCs with an OCTAN theme, but after last summer’s OCTAN F1, I figured I should do another one.

The full gallery including instructions may be seen here.

OCTAN Air Racer

It was time for me to build another airplane, and I figured a0 small air racer would work well in the OCTAN colors. Right from the beginning, I was sure I wanted to make a biplane, and I wanted a radial engine (all real airplanes have propellers). From there everything was on the table. Off to designing.

I started with the radial. It’s not quite a radial, but rather two perpendicular boxer 4 cylinder engines. Each bank of two cylinders are mounted in a different direction; up, down, port, and starboard, and are connect by one common crankshaft. The side banks are one stud forward, and the up and down banks rear, so all eight connecting rods can fit on a common 5l axle. Two engine crankshafts are mounted at each end. The motor spins well, and quite quickly, but the connection is not exactly “legal,” as the pins on the cylinders are a little stressed.

8 Cylinder Radial

Working backwards, I attached the leading edges of the wings, and the worked on the landing gear. Being an air racer (even a biplane), it had to have retractable landing gear. I connected the two wide spaced legs with a simple axle and bevel joint, and added a worm gear to articulate the action. It is a simply solution, and it functions well.

Air Racer Bottom

Just behind and above the worm gear is the joystick. The roll functions are connected to the bottom wing by gears, and the pitch function is connected by liftarms to the rear elevator. The rudder is fixed. The lower ailerons are connected to the upper ailerons by a simple 9L link. When you move the joystick, all four ailerons move. The cockpit is a little cramped, but when you are racing space is not a concern, only speed.

Air Racer Drive

 

Air Racer Cockpit

After the radial, the bodywork was the priority for the MOC. I have been slowly acquiring white and green parts over the last year. The airplane was designed as primarily white, with red and green accents. The red stripe worked well, as did the red tail, but I could not find a great way to incorporate the green. I added a little to the tips of the wings, and to the wing control surfaces. I used a couple more stickers that I had left over from set 60025, and the MOC was finished.

I was pleased with how the MOC turned out. The airplane looks strong, and the red and green make the white vibrant. I wish I could have found a better place to incorporate the green. The places it was added seems a little haphazard. The radial turned out great, but I feel a little bad about the illegal build. The landing gear works well, as do the control surfaces. I was pleased with how it turned out. Next up, maybe an OCTAN speedboat. Other ideas?

Happy building.

 

CAT 586C


My favorite constructions vehicles are feller bunchers. The wheeled ones. So I am naturally inclined to make them. I built a small one; I built a large one. I wanted to build a medium one, but I figured I should get out of the box. At least this time.

The full gallery may be seen here.

CAT 586C

The CAT 586C is a site prep tractor. Forgive me for simplifying the work done by the engineers, but the tractor is basically a 573C with a new implement for site preparation, rather than felling. As always, I stared with scaling the full tractor from CAT’s website, and finding a size that would work well with tires, features, and aesthetics. Then I started building.

CAT 586C Rear

I started with the chassis, to get a sense of the size and the layout. I had a good idea of all the features I would want, and I knew some planning would be required. I then finished the mulcher (implement), which is basically a rotating drum with lots of teeth on it. I used a bunch of 24 tooth gears, and connected them to a rotating driveshaft. The chassis was built with four wheel drive, and was connected to the mulcher driveshaft through a series of gears to increase the speed of the drum.

CAT 586C Underside

Then on to the back of the tractor. Feller bunchers and site prep tractors all have their engines in the back; pretty normal for large tractors with large front implements. But to get the weight as far back as possible, the engine is mounted transversely. This presented a couple of challenges for me. I mounted a I-3 engine on the left in the rear with simple gearbox geared up to connect it to the drivetrain. Just in front of the motor are the two cooling fans, which are also driven by the drivetrain. These are also geared up. For those of you keeping score at home, the drivetrain gears up three separate functions, so rolling the MOC on the floor causes a nice whizzing sound.

CAT 586C Driveline

I added some additional features that mirror the real tractor. First, over the mulcher there is a guide bar that allows the tractor to push trees and shrubs down toward the mulcher. In my MOC this is accomplished by a simple worm gear mechanism. Second, I added a small winch on the rear to get the tractor out of sticky situations. Finally, a small mulching door was installed to allow for more or less entry to the mulcher, again just like the real tractor.

CAT 586C Mulcher

The tractor worked well. Functions were smooth, and required no maintenance during play. The many controls on the front were a little dense, and this caused some finger congestion. The number of rotational features connected to the drivetrain made rolling on the floor a little strained. Thought, this kept the MOC from rolling off the table into a lot of pieces. Everything worked well enough, so maybe it is time to make another feller in this scale. Not today, I still have a lot of other projects to complete first.

Happy Building.

Thirdwiggville


About a year ago, Mr., Mrs., and Jr. Thirdwigg packed up some boxes and left Chicago for Grand Rapids. Along with many other changes, this relocation provided myself a room devoted to LEGO; well at least until it will be commandeered (shared?) as a family play room.

LEGO Room

It is not too fancy, but it works well. The room is in the attic of the house without heating or cooling; the summers get a little hot, but the winters are fine. I have two little tables on which I do my building, and four organizing shelves that keep many of the high use parts close at hand. Tires, books, and empty bricklink packages are strewn about, at least until I can muster up the gumption to put them away.

LEGO Table

Organization is always a work in progress, and as you can see, some things need to be put away. Careful eyes can see some projects from The Queue that are getting close to completion.

LEGO Shelf

The room has some nice build in shelves on both sides of the room. As you can see, I keep a lot of infrequently used parts in bags off to the sides, and some of the larger Wheels and Tires. I also keep an large box on the floor for when small children want to come over and play in Uncle Thirdwigg’s LEGO room.

Happy building. More MOCs will be finished soon.

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