Compact Telehandler


Sometimes I plan out a build, and other times, a build just kind of happens. This was the latter.

You may find free instructions for this MOC at Rebrickable.com.

After building the Atmos Tractor, and then a gazillon implements, attachments, and trailers, I started branching out to other machines that could be used at the Thirdwigg Farm. The Compact Loader was a result of this. I was playing with the new LEGO 42122 tires, and quickly came up with a little four wheel steering idea. I added a fork boom, and decided to see where the project would go.

I am quite fond of LEGO 8283, and the rest of the design was influenced by this little set. I tried a couple of boom extension designs, but each looked a little too “overweight” for the little tractor. So I came back to the extension design that was used on 8283. A mini linear actuator is used to lift the boom. Both functions are controlled by two separate gears on the back of the telehandler.

The cab came together pretty quickly, though I had to make sure the new tires had a clear range of motion. I added some lights, and front fenders which brought a little visual weight to the front. I had a tricky time finding rear fenders that I liked, but I eventually found a solution I liked. In my move towards increasing the readability of my instructions, I have published a PDF with step-by-step instructions that list required parts for each step. I hope they are clear for you, and they bring value to your own build.

The Compact Telehandler worked just as I hoped. The steering is great; it’s fun to drive this little tractor around on a small desk. The boom lift works well, and has a great range of motion. The extension works smoothly, though since it is driven by a worm gear, if the extension is in the wrong position while trying to lift the boom, the boom will bind. The fork tilt mechanism is smooth, and is easily accessible in all boom positions. We will see what next build come from just playing with a couple of parts.

Happy building.

Kickboxer Diesel


I have done a lot of difficult LEGO projects over the years, but this project was the hardest in a while.

You may find free instructions for this MOC at Rebrickable.com.

I often participate in Eurobricks Technic contests, and this last winter, I chose to participate in TC19 Technic Motorbike Contest as I enjoy Motorcycles, and I have built only one. This was an oportunity for me to develop some skills in a MOC that I have not done in the past. I had no idea, how much it would stretch me. From the start I committed to the following features: steering , suspension, an engine, and a transmission.

I quickly picked a motorcycle to replicate, the fantastic Kickboxer, and got to work. First I set the scale and did a rough draft of the suspension. I built a little flat 4 engine.

Then I started on the transmission. The transmission is a four speed sequential transmission that is shifted on the left of the motorcycle. I took a while to get the design to work, and then took a lot of time to get it to fit into the motorcycle. Finally, I was able to get the final solution to work. It’s dense and complicated. I encourage you to take a look at the instructions to explore it a little more.

The suspension worked until I finished much of the bike. Then it sagged, and required a complete rebuild. I was able to retain much of what I wanted even after the redesign.

The motorcycle was a build I was very happy to finish. I was frustrated multiple times in this build, so I had a high sense of accomplishment when it was done. The transmission works flawlessly. The suspension is sufficient, and the steering is a little gummy. But all in all, it’s a build I am proud of. I hope you enjoy it too.

Happy building.

LEGO 8850 Update


After updating 8640, I wanted to update another set with a Technic Fig. There was only one option, 8850 Rally Support Truck.

Free instructions are available at Rebrickable.com.

8850 Update Side

Every once and a while I return to an old LEGO set, and try to modify and improve what was offered by The Lego Group when the set was released. I like to harken back to some of these influential sets because it helps me take stock of all the improvements that have happened in parts and design in LEGO Technic. 8850 was one of the first sets to use the, then new, cylinder and piston parts that have been used ever since. The set also had a driver, steering, and a robust design. When I set to work on this MOD, I placed the following constraints: keep the size, keep the engine, keep the steering, add suspension, update the bodywork, and keep the driver. Make it yellow.

8850 Rally Support Truck Update

The chassis came together quickly, as it is not too complicated, and utilized features I have used before. The rear live axle is simple, and linked forward by two links, and laterally by a Panhard rod. I used the new differential to increase the final engine speed. The front suspension is another simple design; double A-arms with a rear steering link. The steering mechanism travels under the engine, through an idler gear, and moves upward towards the HOG gear on the top of the truck.

8850 Update Chassis

The body work was quick as well, though I needed to slow down to be conscientious to the original design. Liftarms replaced Technic bricks, and the lines were kept. I added some engine detail including a intake, and gave a new grill design. I removed the headlights on top of the A-pillar, because they look silly to my eyes. I played with some ideas for the front bumper including a bull-bar, and other colors, but this simple design ended up being the one I like the most. I gave a little tailgate on the rear with some color, and a little exhaust pipe. Finally, I gave a little OCTAN coloring to highlight the race focus of the truck.

In my effort to improve access to my builds, I have created this MOD in Bricklink Studio, and have made instructions that are a little more clear than the photo sequence instructions I have done in the past. You may find a partlist and download the instructions PDF at rebricklable.com. Send me a photo if you enjoy the build.

Sample of the Instructions

8850 is a tricky set to update, because it has some defining features that I find unattractive, such as the front bumper, the rear, and the upper A pillar headlights. With this in mind, I think I carried the themes through to this build well. The OCTAN livery while keeping the main yellow with white highlights worked very well for my eyes. Functionally, keeping what 8850 had, and adding suspension was a fun project. I am already thinking about how to convert this build into an overland version with 4×4 and more bodywork. Stay tuned…

Until then, Happy building.

Compact Loader


It was time for me to learn how to do Bricklink Studio, and my Atmos Tractor needed a friend to load all of the trailers.

Free instructions can be found at Rebrickable.com.

This small loader came together rather quickly. I decided to use rear wheel steering rather than articulation as this would keep the mechanics of the bucket/fork simple. Additionally, I wanted to use the new tires from LEGO 42122, and they take up a little more room while turning. Finally, I wanted to allow the tractor to switch easily from forks and a bucket, so this simple feature was the second part to figure out.

The next part of the build required a little more trial and error. End Loaders are tricky in that they have a wide range of motion, and have to fit within a little given space due to the front wheels, cab, and ground. It become clear that at this scale, a mini linear actuator was not going to work. So I used a worm gear and 24z gear with a small linkage to the boom. This gave a wide range of motion, including a very high lift height. The motion was controlled by a 20z gear at the rear of the loader.

The bucket/fork tilt was a little more tricky. A 8z gear and worm gear control the movement. I add this mechanism in many of my builds because it works well for many needs; and it is small. In this build, I needed to redesign the frame for this mechanism as the standard build would not allow for the bucket and fork to fully tilt at ground level. But with a little modification, I was able to get it to work. At the high end, the bucket tilt can bind, which is not great. The tilt stays consistent as the boom lifts, which was a requirement for me as the fork was going to be a center part of the build. Control for the tilt is at the rear of the tractor. Pulling two axles allows for quick change between the bucket and the forks.

Finally, I built this MOC with the singular focus of developing my skills with Bricklink Studio; with the goal of improving the instructions that I make available. I have made photo sequencing instructions for years, but with the 800 pound gorilla that is Rebrickable.com, more and more people are contacting me directly saying some form of “I am confused when I try to build ______.” So, after trying a couple of 100-200 part builds, I launched into this Compact Loader, and built the file in Studio. Studio takes a little time to get used to, but it is slick. And the instructions that are generated are very slick.

But it does take time. Many of my instructions have been free, and I continue to value this for many reasons, but I’ll be reevaluating this the deeper I get into this transition. Either way, enjoy the many MOCs of mine that you can build for free.

I am pleased with how this MOC turned out, and what it taught me about building in Bricklink Studio has been valuable. The model fits my design language, and functions as I expect my models to function. And now, you can clearly figure out how to build it as well. I hope you will enjoy the build as well.

Happy building!

Unimog U500 (405.201)


Every couple of years I build another Unimog; they tend to be a favorite subject.

Instructions may be found here.

Unimog U500 (405.201)

Right after the LEGO Batmobile 76139 was released, I saw the front tires, and immediately planned this Unimog. The tires were perfect for a U500. I stared working on a draft before I had acquired the tires. I wanted the build to be in the theme of my Unimog 437 in that it was about 1:18 in scale, and had modular cabins and bed options. But I wanted to take this idea to the next level so that front and rear attachments could be added, as well as trailers. Many of my builds as of late are more system focused, in that a main build supports lots of other attachments, trailers, and versions of the same build. With this one, standard attachment points on the front, rear, bed, cab, and hitches allow for a variety of versions and attachments to be added quickly. I’ll make more of these soon.

Rear Hitch, Attachment point, PTO, and PPTO

I quickly set up a front and rear suspension using what was learned on the 437. The MOC has front and rear live axle suspension, four wheel drive, and front steering. A I4 engine is placed under the cab, over the front axle. Unlike the 437, I added a front and rear PTO. The rear PTO has an on/off switch. A center PTO is present as well for attachments that go in place of the rear bed. Finally, I added a Pneumatic pump behind the cabin to run pneumatics on the front or rear of the truck. A value determines if the preasure goes to the front or rear.

U500 Chassis

I added a three way tipper bed on the rear of the chassis, and created a way for the cab to be tilted. Both can be released by pulling a couple of axles out to allow for the tipping. The cab has seating for three, and both doors open. Finally, I added a front winch that is released and wound up using the fake air tanks on the left of the truck.

In the coming months I will make some attachments and trailers for this truck and for a U400/430 version that use the chassis of the U500 with some adjustments.

2016 Unimog U430

The truck turned out how I wanted it too, and had the features work the way as intended. The suspension is a little hard, but that supports various attachments well. This tipper bed and winch are a little addictive to play with. I did not spend much time making attachments for this truck, but I hope to do so soon. Until the next build or Unimog, Happy Building.

8081 SRT Tremor


Lego set 8081 is one of my favorites. It’s a cute little set, that has some mechanical diffenciencies, so I have made a number of MODs of the set. Here’s another one.

The full gallery may be found here.

It’s becoming a bit of a bad habit for me to start a new project while I am currently building something else. While I was building the 8081 110, I founds myself making another draft of a little pickup. I moved pretty quickly on the 8081 110, but this project stalled. The chassis came together quickly. The live axle rear suspension is a simple design with five links to keep non-vertical movement at bay. The front is a simple independent wishbone design just like the original 8081. Finally, I placed a V-8 right over the front suspension, and geared it to the rear wheels. I used the new differential in the rear axle, which drives the V-8 a little faster than in my previous designs.

The sport pickup is a silly I idea that was all the rage in the United States in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Pickups like the SVT Lightning, the Ram STR-10, and my personal favorite the Dodge Dakota RT, were prevalent. This MOC slowed while I was trying to get the styling in the vein of these notable pickups. I liked what I designed for the front and rear bumper, and the rear bed was sufficient. But all the designs I came up with for the hood and the front grill looked dull and basic. Each of the above pickups had bold grills, and a hood line that communicated more power than anyone would need.

At some point, I realized I was not making any changes to the design, and I was running out of creativity. So it was time to be done.

While this is not my favorite MOD of 8081, it is another one to add to my long lists of MODs. The MOD worked well in that each of the simple features functioned without any problems. But I do feel like I did not do justice to 8081 with this MOD, nor did I represent any of those sport pickups well with this MOD. Maybe I’ll need to build a replacement soon….

Happy building.

LMP C Turbo


Every once and a while I participant in a Eurobricks Contest. This car was the entry into the TC18 Contest.

Full gallery may be found here.

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The contest called for a small car using only two types of wheels, and not more than 15 studs wide. I like building small non-powered builds, so I decided to get to work. After working on a couple of drafts of car layouts, I decided on the LMP type C race car. It would be a little challenge, and allowed me to add some features that I wanted.

I new I would want an engine, steering, and removable bodywork panels just like a real LMP car. This morphed into a fully modular build. I started with the Monocoque which contains the steering, driver seat, roll structure, and rear engine and suspension mount.

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Next I worked on the engine and rear axle. I used a mini V-8 design that is becoming common in LEGO designs, and made mine in such a way that it could be easily removed. The design incorporates an intake and turbo exhaust. The rear axle attached behind the engine. The entire assembly can be easily removed.

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The bodywork took a little work, but only because I could not decide on the colors I wanted. Dark Azure was decided upon pretty quickly because it looked sharp, and had the small wheel panels. But the accent color was a little tricky. I liked yellow, white, black, but finally settled on lime. I hope you like the final look.

Everything worked well, and it looked the way I wanted it to. The result of the contest was about right in the middle on the 40ish contestants, so good, but not great.

I hope you enjoy the build. Happy building.

 

 

 

 

John Deere 5115


Sometimes you just do not want to shovel your own snow. Why not get a machine to do it for you?

The full gallery may be found on Flickr.com.

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I have enjoyed building a number of tractors over the years, and I think it is mostly because I enjoy building all the implements. This little Deere is no exception. When I was making instructions for the Claas Atos, I found some inspiration from this picture. I wondered, “could I turn this into another tractor?” Yes, yes I could. So I was off on another mid-power tractor.

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I decided on the John Deere 5115, which is a mid-power, open cab row tractor. I used the chassis of the Atos, so the tractor retained the drive, steering, front and rear PTO, and the front and rear three point hitch. I added a green fake engine, a new hood, and some new wheels and tires (Batmobile!). So it was a simple modification of a simple previous build.

I added a variable V-Plow on the front from M_Longer, and a simple spreader on the rear powered by the PTO.

The MOC worked just as well as the Atos, which it should. But the Deere looked a little better. The hood looked more complete, and the proportions looked a little better. Plus the color of the green and yellow always looks sharp.

Happy building.

1E.R Track Car


Thirdwigg Motors is not immune to the regulatory requirements of automotive manufacturing. As such, electrification has arrived!

Full gallery may be found on Flickr.com.

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After the introduction of the 3T Sports Sedan and the 2C Sports Car, Thirdwigg Motors was ready to start exploring the electrification of vehicles. Since the previous vehicles all had internal combustion, in order to more into electrification, some testing was required. The car features a single electric motor just forward of the rear axle. Geared up 3:1, the motor provides sufficient acceleration and top speed.

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Since this is track car suspension and bodywork are crucial for performance. The flat bottom of the car contributes to downforce, as does the rear wing and aerodynamic bodywork. The front and rear suspension is independent with torsen bars at each corner. There is very little wheel travel, appropriate for a track car. Steering is handed with the steering wheel, and the HOG just above the driver’s head.

The car was a good exercise to test a different drive mode in a LEGO car. Another electric car will soon be coming from Thirdwigg Motors, so this test vehicle was a good first step. The suspension was a little soft; it worked OK which was my experience with the Octan F1 as well. Frankly, the torsen system only works great for tanks in my experience, but maybe with a little work, it can have an application in future cars.

Until next time, happy building.

2C Sports Car


3T Sports Sedan was the inaugural car for startup Thirdwigg Motors, and the market requested another, smaller, sportier offering. The board of directors approved development of the 2C to fill this need.

Full gallery including instructions may be found here.

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I wanted to keep the scale and keep many of the best parts of the 3T in this design but change the body style and add a couple of features. Very early I decided on a two door with a mid or rear engine. I wanted to get a better transmission, so with this, I set of to work. I scaled the car to the Porsche Cayman, and started fitting in parts. I used the same suspension from the 3T in both the front and rear, which constrained how the driveline would have to be routed.

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It was at this point that the interior setup got a little complicated. When I started this car, the new Wave Selector was just release which optioned a lot of gearbox options. After seeing this great little transmission, I knew I had what I wanted: a four speed sequential transmission. After playing with some options, I place it in the middle of the car. I toyed with having the engine behind the rear axle, but settled on a mid placement. Nothing larger than a Flat 4 was ever considered. The four speed gearbox worked and a changeover axle ran to the front under the suspension where a simple rotation limiter was placed. The steering HOG and steering wheel had all of their mechanics in front of the transmission, so everything fit.

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I had intentions of having a ratcheting gear selector to work with the slick sequential  transmission. But I was running out of space. The center of the car was taken up with the transmission, suspension at each end, and placing one in the rear did not give a way to connect to the transmission. So the only place left was under the front hood. There were a number of great change over options that work well. I tried each. Some fit, some worked great, but each had the same problem: there was not good way to seamlessly integrate the “button” into the bodywork. I had visions of pushing on a grill to actuate the mechanism, but the grill was not very big, and required even more space than I was already using. In the end I decided to scrap the idea of a changeover, and use a simple rotary selector. It is not fancy, but it works well, and keeps the bodywork clean.

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Through out this process I was toying with ideas for the body work. Generally, I add parts as I like them, and when everything is placed, I rebuild the whole car with structures in place for all the final placements of critical internal and external parts. But this car had a large transmission in the middle which meant there was no frame running from the front to the rear. I added a structural frame under each door, and tried to build up the frame under the transmission as best as I could. It works, but there is still a little car flex under heavy center load.

First, the bodywork on this car works better for my eyes than the 3T, even though I tend to like sedans a little better. Second, the gearbox worked flawlessly. It was smooth, and even though I had the open the hood the change gears, the smoothness was worth it. Finally, the suspension worked great as it had proved itself in the 3T. It now adorns the desk at my work. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

Don’t worry, Thirdwigg Motors is already hard at work on the next car.

Happy Building.