John Deere 6130R


I am into a little bit of a tractor phase lately, so here is a model of the John Deere 6130R row tractor.

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After the completion of my 9393 MOD, and the Claas Atos, I wanted to expand on what could be done in the tractor theme, and I wanted to use the newish large technic tires that first came from 42054. I set out to set the scale and list some of the features I wanted.  I decided on a John Deere tractor, because green looks sharp in LEGO, and the hubs I would need were available in yellow.

I first started with the driveline which is simply a differential between the rear tires, and a  couple of gears to the I4 engine (green of course). The steering was the second feature added, and runs from the HOG on the roof, goes through one bevel setup to the rack under the from engine.

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The tractor also has a front and rear PTO, with dual on/off switches, and front and rear drawbars. These features were a little tricky to add. The PTO on the rear is connected to the driveline on the right by a changeover catch, and routes rearward over the rear axle. The PTO on the from is connected to the driveline on the left, and routes under the steering axle to the front. Both drawbars can be raised and lowered by a HOG on the roof ahead and behind the steering HOG. Both use two mLAs to raise and lower the drawbar, and both can hold enough weight to tip over the tractor.

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Working on the body work took some time. After trying a couple of technic options for the front hood, and rear fenders, I settled on an option that uses mostly system bricks. I was pleased how it turned out as it does not subtract from the look of the tractor too much. The hood can open to see the engine.

The tractor worked well, and all the features functioned as they should. I will continue to design implements, and test them out as long as the tractor stays built.

Happy building.

Hunter MK.III


Let’s start 2019 off a month late with a small little airplane for the Eurobricks TC15 contest. I was excited about this contest, but as I started with some designs, none of them worked the way I wanted them too. This was the result of a lack of inspiration, and 7 different drafts, all quite different.

The full gallery can be found here.

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Hunter MK.III

I was frustrated with everything design I was trying, and then I picked up a little stud shooter, and started playing around with some technic panels. After a little tinkering, I found I could do something like a WWII attack plane. I started with the engine cowling, and tied it to the wing that I had started.

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Hunter MK.III Loadout

Next I added a cockpit section, and then added the joystick and control surfaces. Mechanically, it is a simple design, but airplanes run out of internal room quickly. The landing gear is a simple worm gear setup, that is tied together by a single axle.

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Hunter MK.III Bottom

I then worked on the bodywork to make it all tie together. I added a little color, some markings and nose art, and the design was done. It is not my best work, and for a contest, I wanted to have something I was proud of. It looks OK, and it functions well, but I have to try my hand at another airplane soon.

Happy Building.

2018


Another year closed here in thirdwiggville. The production level was down a little bit as compared to years past, but I was pleased with what was build. For 2018, here is what I completed: Claas Atos, Cat 914K, Unimog 437, 3T Sports Sedan, and the Volvo Ibex.

The accomplisher in me wants to complete a higher number of different project, but this year felt alright because some of the projects were a lot of work, and ended up being something I was quite proud of. Maybe I will do more next year, but completing quality builds might be better than a high quantity.

Of the 2018 goals, here is what I completed:

  • Something pneumatic, completed
  • A tractor, completed (and I had so much fun, I am doing another one)
  • Something big and PF, nope
  • A Car, completed
  • A model team build, nope

I was very happy with how the 3T sedan turned out, and the Unimog 437 was a lot of fun. It was a comprehensive modular system, which was a new type of project for me. Both were popular with other builders, and they were popular with me: both are still on my desk at work, and I have no interest in taking them apart. One note, the 3T was so much fun for me, I am going to keep the theme and scale going. Thirdwigg Motors will release another car in 2019, and maybe something else a little crazy.

I have now gone two years with only one Bricklink.com order per month. This has been a hard project, and has helped me focus on what parts I have, rather than mindlessly purchasing more parts. I will say, LEGO’s Pick-a-brick continues to improve. The interface is still a little clunky, but I can get new parts quickly which is reducing my need for purchasing new sets.

For 2019, here are my goals

  • A tractor
  • Car
  • Skip loader truck
  • Something PF
  • Another contest build
  • An LMP car

My life keeps getting more complicated, so we will see how long I keep doing this, but I still keep having fun designing and completing these builds. As always, check The Queue to see what’s coming. On to 2019. Happy building.

Volvo Ibex


Another contest, another build. LEGO Ideas posted a contest to build your idea of the Volvo construction vehicle of the future using LEGO Technic bricks. This was my entry for the contest, which did not win, but was a design I was happy to complete.

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The design was inspired by the Volvo Sfinx and the Hyundai HFex Concept as I was interested in trying the various tracks, and a foldable boom. I started with the track sections, with four idetntical modules. Each are connected to the center turntable with a worm gear assembly for individual track movement. The system is enough to hold the full MOC, but not overly strong.

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Next came the superstructure. I created a conventional cab on the left, and added some fuel cells on the back. These cells can slide out the back of the superstructure to be easily replaced. Next came the boom. I wanted a three section boom that would fold, and extend in a variety of directions. Each of the three pivots is operated by a worm gear mechanism. The best manage the length of the boom, the main boom used a worm and 48z gear, the second used a worm and 24z gear, and the final boom used a worm and 8z gear. I added a ball join at the end of the boom to allow for multiple attachments.

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The entry did not win the contest, but I was happy with the result. It was creative, and functioned well. I like the way it looked, and was happy with the track setup.

Happy building.

3T Sports Sedan


The sport sedan is my favorite kind of car. You can have your McLaren, if I can have four doors and a long hood. One with the proportions of a C-class, the suspension of the ATS, the engine of a Mazda 6, the suede interior of the M3, and the value of the G70. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be set. But there are few good sedans in LEGO, and even fewer smaller ones. Let’s change that.

Instructions may be downloaded here.

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When I set out to make a sedan, I wanted it to be smaller. What were the features I could add in a smaller LEGO car? It had to have some style, suspension, a gutsy engine, steering, and a transmission. Finally, it had to be strong. So I got to work. The scale was set on a 3 Series that was a little wide, so I set the hardpoints and set off to work.

I first set the two axles and suspension. I have built a couple cars with a floating rear differential, and this setup has worked well in the past, so it would work well for this car. Each side had a dual arm independent setup with two shock absorbers. The front suspension used a dual A-arm setup and a wheel hub with only one hard shock absorber.  Before adding the steering, the driveline would need to be finalized.

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I played around with a number of transmissions, but settled on a simple two speed design for a number of reasons. First, it was smallest as something else would take a lot of space from the interior. Second, something better would take away from the rigidity of the model. Sedans need a lot of support through the transmission tunnel as you lose a lot of rigidity near the doors. Finally, anything more complicated than 2 speeds would be tricky to manually operate (play with) in this scale. About half way through my work on this project, some fun new gears came out which improved the design.

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Next, I moved on to the bodywork. This is the part that causes me the most problems in my car builds, and this car was no exception. I set the doors first as I wanted to use two panels for each side. Then I worked on the front and rear bumpers. The rear came together quickly, but the front took a little more time. I wanted something that was sporty, and with a simple grill. I think it worked out well. Finally was the roof and the rear quarter panels. This part took a long time, as I wanted something strong and stylish. The result is strong and has the C pillar split into a D pillar. It is not perfect, but it is stronger than all the panel ideas I tried.

After the bodywork was set I did something I have never done before, I rebuilt a second whole car. This time, I knew all the final features, and where all the body work would attach so I could focus on creating a strong frame that would best support the whole design. I am happy I did this, as it cleaned up the inside, found some new solutions, and made the whole car stronger. Building this way also helped me think through how clear instructions could be made.

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In the end, I was pleased with the final design. It accomplished all the goals I wanted, and it is an accessible design for others to recreate. I love building in this scale, and cars are a lot of fun, so I will need to do another small car design again.

Until the next time, happy building.

Unimog 437


If my previous builds are any indication, I am a big fan of Unimogs. So it was just a matter of time before I built another one. Rather than building one this time, I built a modular system that allows for a number of different versions.

Full instructions can be found here.

This build started with a desired to make another small build with the great Fischertechnik tires I acquired. I wanted to build something small and playful like RM8s FJ or Sheepo’s Defender. As has been happening with many of my recent builds, I wanted to give the MOC some playable options and easy modifications. A Unimog was a perfect option, and who am I to turn down a Unimog? So I gave myself the following constraints: 4×4, I4 fake engine, steering, manual and PF drive options, removable cabs, removable bed, and two chassis. I set off to work.

The axles came together fairly quickly. I decided quickly not to do portal axles, because I wanted the complexity of the MOC to be elsewhere. Both axles have a differential, two soft springs, and are stabilized longitudinally via steering links and laterally via panhard links. All for shocks are mounted on crankshaft parts to get the ride height of the Unimog just right. There is about 1.5 studs of travel for each wheel, which provides adequate articulation.

The axles are connected to a fixed axle that powers a I4 fake motor. Since I wanted the MOC to be easily switched between manual control and PF, the driveline got a little over-complicated quickly. The steering axle and drive axles cross each other twice. This allows for the steering to go to the top for a HOG, and backwards so a PF servo motor can be added. A 16t gear is available at the top of the chassis to power a PTO, or add a PF XL motor to give the Unimog propulsion. The long Chassis can fit a full a full Power Functions pack. When the power pack is not installed lots of open space is available for other additions. I added a three way tipper lift mechanism for both the long and short wheelbase chassis.

Attachment points were added for the rear bed and for the cab. I created three cabs, and each can be added to both chassis (though the Doka looks best on the LWB). Two axles with stop can be pulled to free the cab. I created three beds and a power pack. Four axles with stop are required at each corner to secure the bed. A camper and a crane bed are not far behind on my building queue.

The Unimog turned out exactly as I wanted. The suspension and steering are light and smooth under manual operation, and work great with PF. I am excited about the ability to offer and develop multiple beds and cabs. Instructions are posted, so I look forward to seeing other options people develop to make their own Unimog.

CAT 914K


These days, some projects are taking longer than they have in the past. The little Wiggs in my house and a mirad of other reponsibilities are slowing my production. This loader was started a little over a year ago, and it was finally finished last week.

The full gallery can be seen here.

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I was sitting on a train in Chicago, and saw a little CAT 914k out the window, and thought, “I should finally make a loader.” I got home and started to work. My collection recently added the Fischertechnik tires and the pneumatic parts from the LEGO 42053 Volvo, so I started calculating the scale. Once the scale was set I worked on the linkage for the bucket. I spent two full nights working on the linkage to take full advantage of the longer pneumatic rams. I used the longer ones on the lift, and a shorter one on the tilt.

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After the bucket mechanism was set, I worked on the chassis. The size allowed for four wheel drive. The rear axle was set in a pendular setup, which allowed for some articulation over varied terrain. The rear differential linked to a small I4 motor that was placed in the rear. The pneumatic valves were placed over the motor. The light on the roof operated the steering.

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While the project took a little too much time to complete, it was a fun project that turned out well. The linkage and bucket range worked well. It also held a load well. The stability of the loader could have been a little better when pumping the pneumatic pump, as the suspension took a lot of rigidity out of the rear. The design allowed for normal LEGO 81mm tires as well.

Happy Building.

Claas Atos


Not only are my builds becoming smaller, I am also enjoying builds that offer a little more modularity. Why build one thing, when the one thing can play a number of different tasks?

When I built the Snowblower a couple of years ago, I made a couple parts of the truck removable. So after the build was complete made a couple of other options: different cabs, other beds, a crane. This kind of building continued with the 9393 updated tractor. I was hooked. So, when it came time to make a tractor, I had this feature central to the build.

The Atos started a couple of years ago when I completed the 9393 update. I wanted a front PTO in a small tractor. Lime parts were becoming more prevalent (though we are still missing a red medium wheel), so I figured I could make something work. I started with the front axle, as it would need steering, a PTO shaft, and something to lift an implement. The PTO shaft runs directly forward from the rear differential under the steering rack. Another axle runs a stud and a half to the left, which drives a worm gear to elevate the front drawbar.

The engine is mounted on top of the steering unit, and is connected to the rear differential. Off the right side of the engine is a changeover that controls the raear PTO. This drive moves to the rear, and then powers another PTO for the rear. The changeover lever is in the cabin, to the right of the steering wheel. As in the front, a worm driven drawbar is on the rear to mount an implement. A simple hitch is there for a trailer.

I build a front Lemken furrow, a rear Poettinger power harrow, and a front and rear Claas disco mower. I look forward to making other implements as well. Each attach to the front and rear by removing a 5l and 8l axle with stop. It’s simple, and allows for endless modification.

I am happy with the way the tractor turned out. It was strong enough to handle the play of my young kids, and all the functions worked well. I would have like to have an on/off switch for the front PTO. Other than that it turned out well.

Until next time, happy building.

2017


As the calendar reminds us another year comes to a close, it is time to reflect on what happened in Thirdwiggville. As I look back over the last couple of years, it is clear that little thirdwiggs are affecting what and how I am building. I am pleased with the builds I am able to accomplish amidst all the other life responsibilities. Let us look back at what happened this year. As a recap, here are the 2017 builds: Unimog U90, Mack Magma, Mini Mack Cabover, BMW R Nine E, Forest Fire Truck, Coast Guard Helicopter, Mercedes Benz Arocs, and The Toaster.

Some reflections on 2017:

First, I completed some of my goals from last year.

  • A Model Team airplane: Not completed
  • Another airplane: Not completed, but it was because I did a helicopter instead.
  • A motorcycle: Completed
  • A small truck (dump): Completed
  • A big truck (PF, rolloff): Not completed
  • A pickup truck (PF): Not completed
  • A Large GT car: Not completed
  • Something pneumatic: Not completed, but close to done.
  • Not listed as an official goal, but I did keep to one bricklink.com order per month.

Second, the U90 and Coast Guard Helicopter are two builds I very much enjoyed this year. They are both still build, and adorn my shelf at work.

This tells me my life maybe needs fewer goals. I am still finding time to build, but being a little more fluid in what I am working on may be a good change. In 2018 I will watch which direction my building goes, and see what happens.

With this in mind, here are a few goals for next year.

  • Something pneumatic.
  • A tractor
  • Something big and PF
  • A Car
  • A model team build

On to 2018!

 

Top 17 of 2017


So I am a little late this year, but welcome back to the fourth annual Thirdwiggy awards: the Top 17 of 2017. During 2017, the Board of Trustees of Thirdwigg.com have found and judged the 17 best LEGO Technic MOCs of 2017. As with any list, the challenge is not what to include, but what to leave out. If you are interested, check out 2016, 2015, and 2014.

As a reminder, the criteria:

Was the MOC something unique?

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.

Again, thanks for visiting. We will be watching 2018 for great new builds. OK, here we go.

17. F-18 

Starting off is this fun little F-18. It’s a little rough around the edges, but every time I looked at it, I smiled. Check out the landing gear and doors with its creative movement.

16. Truck Excavator

I was thrilled when this little truck popped up on Eurobricks during the spring. The blue and dark bluish grey work well together, and the truck is packed with features. The pneumatic arm has great articulation, and the steering and front engine a perfect exercise in good planning. Trucks like this are the best.

15. The Unrollable

Leave it to Eurobricks.com to have a fun Technic contest every year. TC12 did not disappoint, and we got this fun little design. The car is simple, functional, and unlike anything else I saw during the year. It takes a lot of work to build in such a way that suspension works on both sides of the vehicle, and seat rolls depending on the orientation, all while retaining roadway clearance.

14. Stalin Tank

The tanks by Tommy Styrvoky keep getting better. The Stalin tank this year, was another great build by him, but this one stood out for me. First, the bodywork was stunning. The shaping on the turret is complicated, and show the great level of detail. Second, the internal mechanics are are just what is needed, and a two speed transmission take it a step above. Also building in the scale with all the internal mechanics, suspension, and fake V-12 engine is no easy feat.

13. Volcano RS

I find building cars frustrating. I love designing the suspension, driveline, and steering, but when I get to the body work, I struggle with getting the my vision into parts. Charbel jumped on the scene last year with his great Porsche 919, and this supercar is a great follow-up. It has all the parts needed for a car, and the creative bodywork is creative and unique. I like modeling a real car, but creating your own is tricky and this is a great example.

12. Freightliner M2 112

This small little build was something I kept returning to this year. The truck has all the features you want and need, and the bodywork, while simple, conveys everything needed for the common M2.Dominique Roy was a new builder to me, and I am looking forward to seeing more of their builds.

11. 8×2 Crane Truck

Another small Eurobricks truck that I loved, and another one by Ivan Moc. Using some of the great technics from the Excavator, like the steering and coloring, this truck was a little cleaner to my eyes, and had a greater level of function. The crane was complex, and the pneumatics to move the arm are placed well with clean routing.

10. F4U Corsair

As a three time large airplane builder, I have a deep fondness to large LEGO warbirds. The Corsair is one we all know, so I was excited to see the build get finished. Lots of functioning goodness is included in the build, and the dark blue is beautiful. Also hard to get. I hope I see more of these builds in 2018.

9. Police Car

Pipaseyoyo is a frequent Thirdwiggy award winner, and for good reason. I very much liked the Military 8×8 made this year, but it was this little police car that struck my fancy. Building the bodywork of a car is always hard, and this one is done well, particularly the black and white body work. I also love the steering axle running behind and through the manual transmission. Also it has a spike strip. Perfect.

8. DB 11 

I really cannot believe Jeroen Ottens has not be featured here yet. This DB 11 is stunning and was fun watch the build progress on Eurobricks. Its complex transmission is incredible, and the bodywork is stunning. Its a beautiful model of a beautiful car.

7. Efferman Excavator

Like Ottens, Efferman is a well known and accomplished builder. He joins Thirdwiggy fame with this little excavator. As is common with Efferman, the functions are extensive, and the size is only as big as needed. I love the integration of the system parts as the bodywork is flawless.

6. Liebherr LR 11000

Just look at the pictures in the Flickr album. This is massive, stunning, complex, and fills me with awe. The detail is incredible; just look at that lifting hook. The mechanics are complex; just think about the planning it would take to run all those strings.

5. Sherpa

The Sherpa blew up the internet sometime last spring, and all the immediate LEGO recreations were only so so. I was thrilled when I saw this perfect build of the cute little truck later in the year. The use of portal axles was great, the driveline is an effective way use two motors to easily control skid steering, and it’s orange and black. I also love the gentle two way sloping of the roof.

4. AW169 Helicopter

I love a good helicopter, and this one is very well done. I am a big fan of Steph77’s work for the simplicity of the designs, the topics chosen, and for the execution. This one is no exception. I like the full control of the flight surfaces, and the controls on the side are a great idea. The bodywork turned out great. I would like to see an airplane now…

3. Unimog

Like a helicopter, I also love a good Unimog. I don’t see many in my home country, so the LEGO community has to fill this itch. First, I think Blue is my favorite LEGO color. Second, the mix of the Technic and system parts is perfectly integrated with one another. Third, the driveline has all the needed parts like steering, four wheel drive, and suspension, but also included pneumatically locking differentials. Finally, this is what the Claas tires were made for. I love it. Bring on more Unimogs!

2. F-14

Sometimes I wish Jeroen Ottens would post more photos or more comprehensive videos of his builds.  The F-14 was shown this year, and I was floored with the complexity, and the functions listed. I just would like to see a little more about how it was built to make everything work. Take some time looking at this MOC, it has so many functions. And the 9 year old in me, loves that it is the F-14. Next time can you add some Jolly Rogers markings?

1.Rugged Supercar H

This one deserves its own post, hence the win. Watching this project come together on Eurobricks for the better part of 2017 was a joy. The Rugged Supercar H wins this years Thirdwiggy award for two reasons: the process, and the result. First, watching the feedback that happened on Eurobricks, and the response given by Didumos69 and the implementation of the suggestions was precisely what the internet was created: sharing and collaborating on ideas. Second, the result was flawless. The car, while a little, lets call it “framey,” looks unlike any other car I have see in the last couple of years, and has all the functions needed, and then some. Working with some of the finest builders I know, the car was build, improved, and perfected by the eyes and minds of so many. I hope to see more of this kind of building, because the results are perfect. Keep leading people to improve your builds Didumos69, we are all better for it.