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 at 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.

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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.

The Toaster


When I was in high school, we had a little bus; we called it “The Toaster.” We had big buses for the large football team and various student “schlepping,” but the Toaster was the perfect size for a cross country or soccer team. But, boy was it hot; the short wheelbase and many windows fused shut allowed for virtually no air movement in travel, and it would spend all day baking in the hot Arizona desert. Hence the name.

When when the Eurobricks Technic Challenge 12-Wacky Racers was announced, I figured this subject would be a good basis for an entry.  Maybe I could visualize my fantasies of the ultimate racing bus. What would it be like to give the bus a stupid big engine, and some sport tires, and make it visually hot?

The contest required wheels or tracks and, steering. No problem. It also required a wacky feature to gain an advantage in a race. I’m not very violent, so I immediately thought of a bus that would toss out its seats to make it harder to follow in race. I built a chassis, added a V12 and I was off.

Very early, I had the idea of an attacking sill as well. I gave the bus a lowered look, and this gave a lot of internal space under the drivetrain. I created a side panel that would spring out to attach a racer to the left of the bus. You can see it work here. It was a fun addition to my plans. Then I started working on the seat toss feature. Five seats would be mounted on a 32l axle on both sides of the bus. The seats would slide out the back, driven by two chains with controls on the roof.

I added some visual excitement such as the exhaust pipes, the engine intakes, a stop sign (I know, I know, I need a sticker), and and internal roll cage. I built a simple working bus door, and closed up the body work. Visually, it could have used a little more excitement, but I liked how it turned out.

All the functions of the bus worked mostly well. Sometimes, some of the seats would get stuck as they were being thrown out the back. The attacking sill worked flawlessly each and everytime. It was a fun feature. I wish the bus has a little more creative styling. Next time.

Until then, happy building.

Mercedes Benz Arocs Tipper


I am finding myself building a lot of trucks these days, so let’s add another one to the collection.

Full gallery may be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.

Basically the whole point of this project was to make a mid scale truck that was orange. It seems like the only official LEGO sets I buy these days are the orange ones, so I have to use the parts for something. I found this nice little Arocs tipper truck, and I thought, that’s a great little idea. I started with the chassis which came together quickly. The two rear axles are connected via each differential, and drive a small 2 cylinder fake engine under the cab. The front two axles steer at different ratios, with a HOG gear going to the top of the cabin. A linear actuator is used to tip the bed, with controls on each side.

The tipper bed came together quickly, though I wished some additional parts were available in Orange. No problem, but in this age of LEGO Technic color proliferation, it would be nice to complete a color pallet before starting on another one. Anyway, the cab was little more tricky. Like many modern trucks, the grill is a rather unique. The Arocs uses four rows of little scoops with a large center star. Adding something similar on my truck required some creativity, and compromise. I fit only three rows, and recreated the scoops with cheese slopes. The top row was mounted level, and the two lower rows were mounted on hinge plates connected on the side of the cab.

The final model was sufficient, but not groundbreaking. It looks good enough; you can tell what it is, but it does not win any modeling contests. The steering worked great, as did the drivetrain. The tipper bed worked well, but required a little muscle at the early stage of tipping due to the leverage. The tilting cab worked well, but in its resting state was a little too loose. Maybe someday I will edit the grill to make it better, but for now, it works.

Happy Building

Coast Guard Helicopter


I enjoy helicopters very much, so as it has been some time since the MD600, it was about time to make another one.

The full gallery can be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.

After my last helicopter, I wanted to build one that was more basic. This one would simple, small, colorful, and would make use of the excellent blades from set 9396. I wanted to do something like the Sea King, but with a Fenestron tail. I used a HH-52 as a basis for the scale. I built a mock-up of the scale, and started making the gearbox for the helicopter. The main rotor could be operated from a gear on the left of the aircraft. Two changeovers located next to the landing gear pods could be engaged to drive the land gear (up or down, on left) and the winch (up or down, on right). The main rotor was connected to the Fenstron fan at the rear. Both the landing gear and the winch are driven by worm gears, so they would stay locked when the changeovers were in neutral.

The gearbox is mounted in the bottom of the helicopter directly under the rotor. The landing gear mechanism moves forward with the pilot and co-pilot seats directly on top (I love those new panels). The winch gear moves aft, and drives a simple string spool. The compact driveline keeps enough space for a full cabin. There is enough room to add a battery box, and a M motor to power the rotor.

The body work came together quickly with the exception of the rear doors. I wanted to add two sliding doors with windows, and based on the color scheme of the helicopter, they had a to be white. After six drafts, I finally came up with a solution that was doable. They are not perfect, but all the other designs had windows that were comically small, or too low in on the body. Unfortunate, the design calls for six white rare parts. The rest of the bodywork turned out well. The nose, while a little clunky, looked how I wanted. The top area looked good with the three engine exhausts, and the six bladed rotor, while overdone, fit perfectly. Oh, and with clever pin placement, you can fold the rotor back towards the tail. The tail looked sharp with the ducted fan. The vertical stabilizer looked empty, but that’s a problem for all LEGO Technic aircraft with the exception of 42040 (maybe).

 

The helicopter worked great, though a clutch for the gearbox would have been nice. I was pleased with the bodywork of the helicopter, and the colors worked well; maybe grey and orange would be great on a rebuild. I would have lived to have a cleaner design for the wheel pods, but it worked well enough. It was a good swooshable design, as I found playing with the helicopter extensively. Now I need to make a scale Coast Guard ship on which the helicopter can land. Maybe next year.

Happy Building

Forest Fire Truck


Everyone once and a while I see a design I like so much, I copy it. So thanks to Horcik Designs on the fun little Fire Truck that I copied. Thanks for the inspiration.

The full gallery may be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.

When I found Horcik’s fun little Fire Truck, I was immediately enamored with the look of the truck. After deciding I was going to make it, I started looking for additional features to add to the excellent design. After finding some great ideas of a Renault version (2), I decided to get to work. The truck started with a 4×4 driveline and an I-4 engine. I used a simple live axle setup with 9l steering links to keep the sway movement in check, and both axles used a Panhard link. The steering was actuated with another 9l steering link, rather than the more common rack and pinion setup. This allowed for a lower engine mount, and something a little different in the design. The steering can be moved by both lights on the roof of the cab.

Which brings us to the cab. I wanted to use the face of Horcik’s truck, but wanted to add some changes. I added two doors to make the cab a little longer, and added four of the new panel parts that work great as seats. Then I made sure the cab could be tilted simply, and connected the two roof lights to the steering. You can see the engine and the steering when the cab is tilted.

Then off to the body. It turned out to be more simple than I had planned. I had some ideas for a hose reel, a roof mounted water gun, and various cabinets with tools inside. Every idea I tried was a little ugly, or boring. So, I closed up the design with a couple of water tanks inside the body of panels. It’s not fancy, but the design turned out clean, which is what attracted me to the project in the first place.

The design worked fine, though the front axle could be a little more robust. It was not a complicated build, but it was a fun one. Don’t worry, there will be complicated builds coming soon.

Happy Building.

BMW R nine E


As a LEGO Technic builder, form generally follows function. Sure, I make most of my MOCs aesthetically pleasing, but the joy and the priority of my builds, is what they can do. But every once and while, I flip this. I set out to make a motorcycle that looked a certain way, and adding in as many features as I could.

The full gallery can be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.

I have been planning to build a motorcycle for some time, and the 2017 Rebrick contest was a good impetus to finally make good on that claim. The contest theme was to build a BMW motorcycle for the future. So while keeping a couple design themes in mind, I could let my imagination go wild. I used Ian McElroy’s excellent Kickboxer concept as a basis. My bike would be dual single sided swingarms, a boxer electric motor, steering, and front and rear suspension, with drive front and rear. Oh, and I had to use the sweet 8420 wheels.

I started with swing arms. The front would be tough as steering with the swing arm would be tricky. I settled on a design with four steering links mounted in a square. This would allow for suspension movement, and the parallelogram linkage would allow for a virtual pivot close to the wheel centerline. I quickly learned adding a drive axle was not worth my time. The liftarm was connected to the handle bars with a series of links and liftarms. Technically, it worked, but it was a little sloppy. The rear swing arm was more simple. After toying with a rear driveline idea, I found it to be clunky looking, so I reverted to a design that mirrored the front. So now both drivelines had been given up.

The body was little more straightforward. Keeping with many BMW motorcycles, I wanted to keep the two cylinder Boxer motor. Since my bike would be electric, one motor would drive the front, and one would drive the rear. The battery was mounted low, and under motors and covered by the panels. I added a seat with seat back pod, and a tank. The tank was for small luggage, since the fuel tank was no longer needed due to the battery. I wanted to keep the sides free so you could see the frame, but it looked like it was missing something. I added two panels, which to my eyes seems about right. The small blue subframe under the seat gave a little additional color.

The bike looked good to my eyes, but the functions were lacking or did not function well. The suspension was gummy, and steering was sloppy. The bike lacked a drivetrain, which is the whole reason I build in Technic. It was fun to build a Motorcycle though, so I’ll make another one soon, but I think this time, I’ll use some more common design themes and building techniques.

Until then, happy building.