November 5, 2012 Leave a comment
October 23, 2012 Leave a comment
I confess. I took the bait, and started on the 2012 You Design It, We Build It before the final rules had been confirmed. I should know better. After all my schooling, you would think I have a good idea about how to follow directions. The first direction is, wait for directions. But, with all LEGO building, I enjoy what I am creating, and so even after the rules and directions have been given, I still want to contribute to the LEGO community. So, my next MOC is another Trial Truck, built with the intention of being easy to play with, easy to build, and tough enough to handle child play. All with instructions, so you can build one.
I built this model based on what I thought could be improved on set 9398. While this new set was a great step forward for the LEGO company, I felt there where a couple of changes that should be made to make the model a better off-roader. Because I was working with the assumption that this would be something LEGO would produce, I gave myself a couple of constraints. First, the model had to be less than, or equal to, the cost of 9398. Second, the model had to have improved off-roading skills. Third, the model had to have easy playablity, so the drivetrain had to be reliable, the battery should be easy removable, and it should be easy to drive.
I started the frame before the axles. I placed the battery box directly over the driveshaft. An XL motor was place behind the BB and three 16z gears above the driveshaft. One 16z gear went up to the fake motor shaft. The driveshaft would connect front and rear to the two axles through the new ball joints from 8110.
I then built the two axles, starting with the rear. To keep the speed of the Mack similar to the 9398, I would gear down the XL motor to about 1:4. The driveshaft came out of the ball joints and connected to the differential. I chose two 12z/20z gear sets as the final reduction. This would keep the driveline a little stronger, and help keep various axles from working their way out of the gears, much like the design of the 9398. The final gearing was 1:3.89. It’s not a stump puller, but it could still move up most hills.
The front axle was a little more tricky. Basically, it had a similar setup, with a PF M motor placed on in it to work the steering. This was by design. To keep the driveline reliable, and limit the failure of steering, I kept the steering part of the axle, rather then having components placed in the chassis, and then connected via a shaft to the front axle. The steering is a little quick for my liking, but it works flawlessly. To understand more about the axles, check out the instructions.
Through a little trial and error, I connected the suspension, and tweaked it so it would function in a way that was robust, and allow for great movement. I am still not pleased with how it turned out aesthetically but it functioned without problems, it supported the model well, and allowed for sufficient articulation, so I left it.
I then added a simple body, a basic rear bed, and added some engine components such as exhaust, intake, and a simple turbocharger behind the fake motor. When I was done, I noticed the cab looked a little like an old Unimog. This seems to be a theme with me, as I love the look of the Unimog. On the other hand, I do not like the look of too many cabover truck designs, as such, many of my trucks have the slight setback cabover design that is very similar to the Unimog. My T55 is like this, and this is why I have built so many Unimogs.
The model worked well. the suspension and stability was perfect. The truck was stable, and did not roll over, all while being able to handle various terrains. The gearing was sufficient and would be great for a playing child. It was easy to change out the 12z/20z gears in the portal axles to a 8z/24z setup which made the truck a little more strong.
It would be a great model for many LEGO fans due to cost, reliability stability, and playability. So I have posted instructions for people to enjoy the model as well. I think it would have been a great LEGO set, then the rules were released.
Next time I’ll wait for the rules. Thanks for reading.
Full gallery is here.
October 7, 2012 Leave a comment
For some of you, this may come as no surprise, but I like to build with more than only Technic. I find a lot of enjoyment building with Technic, but as a child I had more fun with the bricks. My resources (and bricklink.com) now allow me to build some of the things I never could at that time. To this day I still like making tanks, so I present to you a model of the Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther. This is still one of my favorite tanks: simple lines, great stance, decent performance, and for my purposes, able to be made in LEGO.
Building instructions may be found here.
While I love building tanks, I don’t build them often. Posting a tank to the LEGO community online is asking for trouble. There are a lot of builders like me who like to build tanks, so it is hard to make a tank that doesn’t take some influence from someone else. While the design is mine, there are a lot of ideas from others that have influenced this design. Feel free to take a look as some of the ideas in this gallery. Thanks to the various builders.
I have some more Technic models in the queue, so until then, enjoy this break from normal.
The full gallery may be viewed here. Thanks for reading.
September 24, 2012 Leave a comment
I have a love hate relationship with LEGO instructions. On one hand, I think they provide a great service to other builders. This has become clear with my 8081 4×4, which has been much more popular than I could have imagined, in part because I have published instructions. Builders like to know how other builders come up with ideas to solve problems. But on the other hand, instructions are a lot of work to produce. Especially if they require some rendering program. I guess I could charge people for access to my instructions, but that seems to take away from the access to ideas that I like to support in the LEGO community.
With that I present instructions for my FW-190a3. The FW-190 needs no introduction. It it still one of my more favorite airplanes, so I thought I would make a minifig version, and publish instructions for it. As with all of my instructions, links can be found on my Building Instruction page.
Instructions can be found here.
July 30, 2012 Leave a comment
It has been a little quiet in Thirdwiggville for the last month. I have been working on a project that is taking a lot of time and resources, so my posts have slowed, even though my building has not. But just wait, it’s going to be awesome.
Last summer I wanted to do another Trial Truck that would utilized some features I have never used before. I wanted something complicated to see how it would work. I wanted a model that would use four wheels steering, independent suspension, and have a simple two speed gearbox while being low to the ground. After spending some time at the Chicago Autoshow, I saw a FTTS concept, so I thought this would be a great vehicle to model for this next truck.
This model would be built around an independent suspension. After seeing it used so effectively in a truck by ATRX, I wanted to give it a try. Each of the four wheels would use a simple double a-arm set-up with a wheel mount attached at the outside. The wheel mount would house the portal axle and connect the steering linkage. After a couple of different designs, I also decided the wheel mount would also connect the the shock absorbers. This was a little unorthodox, as most independent designs mount the shock absorbers directly from the frame to the a-arms. I did this for two reasons. First, the model would be heavy, and I could not get the support I needed when the shocks were connected to the a-arms. Second, and most importantly, I noticed too much suspension flex when the shocks were mounted to the a-arms. The force applied to the wheel would go up the wheel, to the wheel mount, through the pivot, halfway down the lower a-arm to the shock. LEGO is relatively stiff, but all these steps complied too much flex. I would not have it. I mounted the shocks on the wheel mount, and created a simple MacPherson strut set-up. This worked well, as it allowed for full steering movement, long suspension travel, and adequate support of the truck.
The front and rear suspension axles both had a PF-M motor driving the steering. Each were on independent PF channels connected to a single 8878 Battery Box to allow for individual steering, crab steering, and to solve steering drift commonly problematic with four wheels steering vehicles. Both axles were connected with dual drive shafts running the length of the truck. One drive shaft would then connect through a simple two speed gearbox to the PF-XL motor. The final gearing was 1:6.2 and 1:10 for the truck. This gave the truck sufficient top speed, with an effective crawler gear. The Battery Box used for the drive motor and the gear shift motor was placed directly behind the front suspension, and in front of the drive motor. This placement was perfect for stability. It helped give great traction to the front wheels, kept the center of mass low and to the center with a slight forward bias.
I then finalized the model with a simple removable body built on a Technic frame. While the hood was little high, and the rear body a little too short, it looked pretty close to the rear FTTS. Fans seems to like the look, as it is still one of my more popular model. See the full gallery here and the Work in Progress gallery here.
The model was a lot of fun to drive, and due to its squat design, it was very well planted. The truck did not want to role over. I think it could have used a little more suspension travel, and having four wheel steering was crucial to give it some maneuverability that was lost due to the suspension design. The gearbox was flawless. The truck did have some trouble skipping gears at the portal axle. It seemed to happen when a single wheel was over-stressed as the driveshaft could have used stronger bracing in each suspension unit. This placed a lot of strain on the particular wheel. So would I do the independent suspension again. Maybe, but it would need some strengthening and redesign. Maybe it’s time for another truck like this.
Thanks for reading. Something big is coming.
July 1, 2012 Leave a comment
Construction equipment was pretty much designed for LEGO Technic. I learned this while designing my MB Axor Refuse Truck. Yellow bricks are pretty popular and accessible, the equipment usually has many functions which can be replicated, and working models with power functions can be made to reenact various construction projects for great playablility. After finally getting some large track links, I figured it was time for me to do a bulldozer.
I wanted to model the CAT D5K for a couple of reasons. First, it used a two wheel track for each side rather than a three wheel track for each side. Second, I wanted to do something by CAT. Third, I decided on the D5K because for dozers of this size I think it looked the best due to its stance and overall balance. Plus, when I started looking at the scale of the dozer I was to model, I learned the D5K would work best with the parts needed such as the tracks and blade, and work with the internal space allowed.
The base D5K really only has three functions: drive, blade lift, and blade angle. I had no intention to add a ripper, because, frankly, I ran out of space. Space became an issue very early. I had 9 studs to work with between the tracks, and I needed to add four motors, a dummy motor, a battery box, and two receivers, all while retaining the appropriate look. All the gearing had to be compact, and the linear actuators needed to be placed efficiently. The real D5K has a manual adjustment for the blade pitch, but all of my designs left something more to be desired, so I took it out.
Both tracks would have their own motor, and I wanted to link them to a dummy engine, which required a differential. I connected the motors directly to a worm gear which drove a 8z gear. This gear was on the axle for the rear drive wheel, and connected on the other end to a differential which connected both drive wheels. This differential functioned as a power take off for the dummy motor in the front of the bulldozer.
Two more motors were placed under the dummy motor. One connected though a 12z/20z gear reduction for the blade angle. It proved difficult to supply power for the blade angle function through the blade tilt pivot without taking up too much space. The second motor was used to adjust the blade height. After a simple reduction, two mini linear actuators were used to move the blade up and down. It worked well, and was plenty strong.
I added the battery box under the driver’s seat, and placed the two IR receivers in the top of the cab. It was not optimal aesthetically, but it seemed to work well for control. And again, I just ran out of space. I worked on the body, gave the model a working hood, and built a cabin.
The model worked well, but building with tracks is always a little bit frustrating. Like it or not, LEGO plastic will never be fully smooth, and this is compounded with the track system. Also, I found that the dummy motor would lose its connection to the drive wheels, as the axles connecting to the differential would slip out every once and a while. This seems to be a commom problem with Technic builders, so we will see if the new axles will help. I liked the size of this model, and it had a good amount of functions. Now I need to use the tracks for something else.
Maybe another tank.
The full gallery may be found here.
June 23, 2012 2 Comments
I start most of my projects because I see something brilliant by another builder, and then I decided to develop this idea, or give the idea little more substance. After discovering a great two row radial, I wanted to give the engine a body. It had also been a long time since I had done a large project.
I chose to make the FW-190 for a couple of reasons. First, it had a radial. OK, 14 cylinders in the plane, and mine would only have 12, but it was close enough. Second, it was one of my favorire plane of WWII. Third, the body work would not present too many challenges. I set to work. I had to get the scale right, and start placing some of the plane’s extremities, so I would have a good idea where to place all the parts that I would build.
Once everything was placed, I had to figure out how I was going to do all the control surfaces. This started with figuring out the joystick, and the rudders. The joystick was a simple design driving side to side movements out the front by an axle to gears for the ailerons. When the joystick was moved front to back, a link all the way to the rear elevator was activated. I mounted the foot pedals on a simple pivot connected by gears to the rear rudder. Flaps, with a simple activating lever, were also installed. The cockpit was pretty full.
With a project this size, it took a great deal of work to get the shaping of the plane to work right. I used half stud offsets to get the fuselage correct, and spent a lot of time on the wings. Because the cockpit had a lot of activating levers, a lot of work went into the area around here. Adding the opening canopy did not help things. I added brick built markings, worked on the coloring, and spent some time adding guns and other details. The model was done.
Brickshelf.com gallery is here.
It’s been three years since I have built this plane, but I needed a little motivation to help me with another similar project. It was good for me to remember how much I enjoyed this project, even though it took a lot of time and energy. Stay tuned for the next big plane.
June 3, 2012 8 Comments
It has been six years since I bought my F1 Wheels and Tires. I bought four, and I paid a lot for them. To date, I have used them once in my Red Sedan; and only two of the four that I own. For some reason, I decided I needed to use them again and I wanted to do a small little project. I was recently reminded about a childhood video game P.O.D. racing, and thought the car I was designing would fit right into the game.
The car is a simple design; a drive motor, a steering motor, a battery box, and a receiver. I knew I was going to design a three wheel car. I wanted to have the rear wheel driven by a PF XL, and a single PF M with a simple return to center system for the steering. After a couple of designs, I decided to place the PF XL motor in the hub of the single rear wheel. I tried a couple of designs to gear the motor up for a little more speed, all with various locations in the car. Nothing worked as well as I wanted. The speed was sufficent, and placing the motor in the hub allowed for a super short wheelbase.
Because the PF XL was place in the rear, I had a lot of space for the rest of the Power Functions equipment. I placed the battery box directly in front of the rear wheel right at the bottom of the car. The front steering axle was place next in front of the battery box. The car had a short wheelbase of only 18 studs. On top of the battery box, I placed the PF IR reciever and the PF M motor which was for the steering. The steering motor passed an axle straight through a Spring Loaded Connector to move a 3L liftarm which connected to the steering rack with a 6L steering link.
I added a simple body using the orange panels from 8110. Keeping with to story of P.O.D. I wanted to keep an agressive stance and look to the car.
The car ran well, and was plenty quick. The steering was sharp and the car was well planted on the road. I had a good time with the design. Now I need to come up with another use for my F1 wheels.
May 25, 2012 1 Comment
For some reason, I often find myself building two trial trucks at the same time. While I was building my ZIL 132, I also wanted to try something with floating axles. The model would use 6 wheels, a 3 speed transmission, and fully suspended live axles. I also wanted to model the Freightliner M2 Business Class truck as closely as I could.
The model started as my trucks usually do; with the axles. The second and third axles would be identical, and would be connected with a simple pulley wheel universal joint between the two. To keep the speed through the universal joints high, and the torque low, I used as 12z/20z gearing after the universal joints, then the knob wheels to rotate the axis, then the normal 8z/24z gearing on the portal axles to finalize the drive. This also allowed me to keep fewer knob wheels as the second axle had the drive shaft from the transmission pass uninterrupted to the rear wheels. The final drive ratio for the two rear axles were 1:5.
The front axle was a little more work. I wanted to have the steering motor mounted on the axle so I would not need to have a steering shaft connect to the front axle. This proved too difficult, as it would raise the PF XL motor that I was going to use for the drive to high on the truck. I decided it would be better to mount the steering motor on the frame and connect to the front axle via a CV joint. Once I made this decision, the front axle became easier. I used a 1:3 gearing on the portal axles, a knob wheel, and then a drive shaft back to the transmission. The steering axle would exit just above the drive shaft on the axle to move to the right for the steering motor.
The frame was pretty simple. Once I had the transmission placed, and the axles spaced, it was simple to place the suspension components, and the shock absorbers. Each axle had two steering links mounted vertically which connected to a 3×5 liftarm which would activate a shock absorber; very much like Lyyar’s design. Each axle had a steering arm to keep the axle from swaying laterally. Finally, all three axles had a number of 9L links to keep the various movements maintained.
The transmission was going to be placed behind the PF XL motor which was under the hood. The changeover mechanissm would be placed in the center of the truck with the changeover motors mounted longitudinally, on both sides of the truck. The PF XL motor was place directly above the first axle, and was mounted on a moving frame that was moved by the changeover. This allowed a moving frame to work its way through the three gears. The ratios were 1.25:1, 1:1.25, and 1:2. This allowed for final ratios of 1:4, 1:6.25, and 1:10, which was more than capable for most terrain. The drive and steering Battery Box was mounted over the second and third axles, and the gearbox 8878 battery box was just behind the changeover in a little box on the bed of the truck.
Finally, like always, a simple body was mounted. I had a little trouble getting the look I wanted on the front of the hood, as the suspension components kept getting in the way. I added a bed, covered the changeover and motors, and a couple more details and everything was finished.
The model was not my best driving truck, as six axles do not want to always work together. The suspensions was supple, and I was getting no drive or steering input on the suspension. The truck worked well over various terrain, but struggled on some on step obstacles. The transmission mounting worked well at changing gears, but gears did not have a strong support, and I found they liked to skip at times. I liked how the suspension worked, but I do not think it brought enough of a valued to use this system again. It had moderate improvement on dealing with terrain, but it placed a lot of stress on a number of parts, such as the frame, the axles, the driveshafts, and the universal joints. The next truck will use a pendular set up again.
The full gallery may be found here.
May 18, 2012 7 Comments
For most LEGO enthusists, when they purchased the set 8081, they quickly modified the set with a Power Functions drivetrain. It makes sense. LEGO models are a little more exciting when they are motorized. But I guess I went a little backwards. I wanted to do the fun stuff first, and make the most complicated and compact drivetrain I could make. I posted the instructions here, and they can also be viewed on Rebrickable.com.
But the comments kept coming from people who wanted to see my model motorized. So I thought it might be a fun addition. I added a two PF M motors, a 8878 Battary Box, and an IR receiver. I tried to keep the modifications simple, so I could easily add the motors to the MOD, and take the system out if I wanted to. The drive motor was placed on a simple mount that connected to the frame. The power was fed thought a 8z gear to a 24z gear which then connected directly to the V8 driveshaft. The driveline was unchanged from the V8 down. The steering motor was mounted laterally in front of the rear seats. A 20z double bevel gear drove a 16z gear, then a worm gear moved the final 8z gear which was mounted on the existing HOG steering axle. I removed the passanger seat which is where I placed the battary box, and created a simple mount for the IR receiver. The added weight required a new shock absorber, so I added that as well.
The model worked alright. The drivetrain did well to handle the new power, and I could easily control the Crusier. The steering motor was a little too powerful for the upside down facing steering rack. It skipped a little under load, which was a problem over rougher terrain. The drive motor was a little taxed, so a PF XL would have done a little better. I guess I could add that, but I am ready to move on to my next model. Stay tuned.
The full gallery may be found here.