Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lego Technic Challenge, round one

Round one of the Technic Challenge is now closed, you are free to vote on the flying machines!

From the perspective of the Lego company it is understandable but for others it was a small surprise that the ten finalists are exclusively from kids. According to the official statement the jury was surprised that they received so many submissions from AFOLs (Adult Fan Of Lego). In any case the copany has reacted quickly and announced that there will be separate voting for the best AFOL creations in September. On the Designer Blog they also show the best creations from adults.

The rules are a bit refined based on experience from the first round (see TechnicBRICKS):
  • Submissions with URLs are being moderated out before the judges even see the models
  • Submissions with e-mail and other contact information in the description are being moderated out before the judges even see the models
  • The format the judges will be judging from is still photo; ie. no videos will be taken into consideration, and the judges will not see them
  • Visuals that look like 3D renderings will not be taken into consideration as this is a building competition
Finally a video that was not mentioned on the official pages but is definitely worth attention:

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Old Lady flies again

It was almost a year ago when I completed the airplane with the radial engine. Luckily it is still in one piece and now that the Lego Technic Challenge was looking for flying things I got enthusiastic again and fixed a couple of small things that I have always wanted to fix.

First, the closing mechanism of the canopy was not robust enough, it opened very easily. The new version can be closed properly and stays like that. I have also changed the front part of the vertical fin so that it is more firmly attached to the tail.

The gears are now also attached in a more robust way.

Last but not least I have made new photos and a new video too, here it comes:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Updated: Almost Lead Sled

The Lead Sled project has made progress but I am not entirely happy with the results so far. The packets ordered on Bricklink have arrived one by one each day. The final order was UK, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand - I have ordered them all with a few minutes difference.

The first obvious problem is that some parts arrived in the wrong color. Unfortunately both of them are at visible places, one is the hinge of the doors and the other is part of the rear seat. One of the merchants was very kind to send the piece in the right color in a follow-up mail.

There are other problems too. The most obvious one is that the very front of the car gets detached from the rest very very easily as it is held in place by two studs only. I did not realize this when I designed it in LDD - it will need a redesign and it is far from trivial. The rest of the front is not very strong either but I have managed to get it up to an almost acceptable level by adding more stiffeners.

One more issue is that when opening the hood there is an obvious tension between the hood and the chassis. As I could judge from the photos this is exactly the same on the original model built by Mad Physicist, so I am not sure if that one is any better.

The studs at the upside down pieces near the front wheels make contact with the wheels. This can be only realized once I start pushing the model. I have also not figured out how to attach the chrome parts to the wheel either.

All in all it does not feel as a total success yet, but on the photos it looks good.

Updated: seeing my enthusiasm Mad Physicist has provided me more details about the internal structure of his car here and here. Looking at the photos I quickly started to wonder why I was not able to figure it out by myself :) Anyway the tips should be enough to make the front a bit more rigid, have a proper cover on the wheels and avoid the contact between the front wheels and the body.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lego Technic Challenge now wide open

In Lego User Groups it is an everyday thing to have competitions in various themes. But now for the first time Lego organizes an official challenge for Technic builders:

The competition is very simple:
1. Build a model out of primarily LEGO Technic elements.
2. Take a picture of the model
3. Press the button below to Enter the competition
4. Enter your contact information
5. Upload your image

What to build?
This month (February) the competition is all about flight and functions - build a model with cool functions in the form of something that flies (plane, helicopter etc.) and make sure that the image shows the part of the model that has a function - as well as describing it!
It does not need to actually be able to fly, but it must be an aerial vehicle.
The Model does not need to be motorized, functions can also be manual.

How does it work?
Right now you can submit models - On the 15th of February - a panel of judges consisting of designers, marketing managers, building instruction artists and more will pick out (of all submissions) 10 finalists that will then be put up for voting here on the site.

The winner will receive a prize and also continue to the Big Finale in October.

Well, that is more than just a challenge. Gentlemen (and women of course), start your engines!