Nick the Lego Maniac

I've been building with Legos since I was a little kid, and even though I'm a good bit older, I've been known to haul out my bin of technics to see what my hands put together. Several years ago I entered Lego building contests.

In 1996 I entered the contest with this Baja Truck. It didn't have any suspension, but the wheels turned when you turned the steering wheel. The body was separate from the chassis, and you could take it apart if you wanted. It had a little three-wheeled thinger in a trailer behind it. I got 6th place for it.

After that first show I really got into it and started to get some more stuff. By the time the 1997 show rolled around, I had gotten a couple motor sets and a some other misc. kits and put this together one day. It is a 10 wheel drive tank that has two symmetrical, compact gearboxes. The the wheels on the front and rear are higher than the rest and are belt-driven. I also built the hauler for it, which is a all wheel steering little car thing with way too many tires (10) and trailer which has swing-arm rear suspension. It drove around like a tank, and could get over some pretty difficult objects. I came in third place, and won another Lego kit.

In 1998 I built these models after buying the Mech Warrior Battle-Pack, a computer game in which you drive around robotic machines. I think it would have been neat if Lego came out with kits to build models like this, but marketing like that didn't happen until several years later.

In 1999 I got bored one day, and pulled out the ole lego bin. I ended up building this dude. It is a nifty flying thinger which is powered by a single motor. It has five technics two-bladed props and two three-bladed prop-like things. My intention was to build a real nifty unit without using any typical lego bricks, even if they were the techinc ones. I did have to use one flat 4-dot by 2-dot piece, but it's the only one. The two outer props drive the wheels, as you can see. It took me about 4 hours to build it. I didn't even know what I was building until I tried to figure out how many props I could drive, the rest just came from there. I also made a steering front fork, but it was kind of clunky so I decided to keep the simple rigid one.

This pulling truck powered by a single motor, and uses a heavy duty gear-train driven by a worm gear in which there are two gears on each reduction shaft in the gearbox for extra strenth, and the rear axle is made of two 42 tooth gears with 4 shafts connecting them together, and a 12 size shaft running through the center. The tires are the motorcycle tires with lego tank-tread put on them inside out. It travels about a foot per minute, and can pull a couple cans shy of a 12-pack on carpet. The rear axle twisted up and the wheels bowed intwards as more load was placed on the "sled" but it never broke.

I build this in spring 2001. It was just one of those days when I didn't have much to do and started to put stuff together. I really wanted to build some sort of amusement ride, probably because I had been playing Roller Coaster Tycoon or something on the computer. The pneumatic arm lifts the wheel in a very violent mannor, and the passengers would be vaulted from their seats as it comes to the upright position, extra fun.

Summer 2001: this is what happens when Kellie is gone at work all day... reduction unit II. It has 32 gears, 28 pulleys and 14 rubber bands. It has 29 ratios: eight 3:1, five 1.5:1, fourteen 4:1, and two 5:1. The total reduction is 4,015,547,461,140,480:1. I guess the Lego motor runs around 2000rpm. This means it would take 2,007,773,730,570.24 minutes for the last shaft to turn over once. That translates into 33,462,895,509.504 hours, or 1,394,287,312.896 days, which is 3819965.24 years, or 381996.52 decades. I imagine the plastic gears and shafts will have worn to nothing well before that. Click on the pic to see a view of the other side.

Enter June 2002. Kellie left for a weekend and I had a lot of time on my hands. I could do chores, or something else... so naturally I turned to my trusty lego bin. The result, an air-cooled volkswagen engine complete with fan shroud, dual two-barrel carbs, performance exhaust, generator, etc. Several years ago I made a beetle chassis and had a simpler version of this engine on it.

December 2002 my parents got me a Lego Mindstorms set for chiristmas (okay, I had picked it out already and got it for half price, but anyway) So far I have built the robotic arm thing they show in the advanced section and several of the other bots. I even made what I call a "firebug" which will search a dark room for it's brightest point (a candle on the floor) drive up to it and when the light is a certain value (bright...) it will stop and turn on a motor which drives a series of lego props on a shaft and blow the candle out. I didn't take any pics of any of that stuff yet... and it's really hard for me to find 6 AA batteries that are all good in our place, so playtime is spotty at the moment.

Okay, June 2003 I get bored again and make a couple of things. This bicycle was something that just came out of the blue. I saw the two large wheel I had and the piece of lego chain and the rest was built around that. I had a real hard time getting the frame gemoetry close to right. Click on the picture for another view.

I also built this all wheel steering mars rover type thing, I used the same idea as I had years before with the thing that was pulling my 10 wheel drive tank but I made it more scale to the size of the technics guy, it's not very complicated but sometimes simple things are neat too.

August 2003, I finally pick up some AA batteries for my mindstorms and build the robotic candy sorter that is shown in the "Advanced" challenges. The candy I got doesn't work very well because there isn't enough contrast between the colors for the light sensor to pick them out, otherwise it's a neat gizmo.

Spring 2009, while cleaning out stuff in the garage I found a bunch of my Lego instructions and came across the one for my raceway set. I got it as a birthday gift when I somewhere around 8 years old. I set it aside and a few weeks later the kids had asked to play with the legos and while they had them out I decided to build the raceway. It took several hours to get it together, hunting for all the correct pieces. I was very surprised to find I had just about all the pieces I needed, I was maybe a dozen short at the most. It was pretty cool... I took a picture, and tore it all down.

November 2009 - the kids wanted to play with the legos these last few days so I built a couple of things.

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