Monthly Archives: January 2008

How to make a Buckminsterfullerene (and other fun shapes) from LEGO

It all started with a man named Bucky. Well, maybe Bram. Okay, possibly Jon. Whatever. The latest building trend seems to be buckyballs, icosahedrons, dodecahedrons, rhombicosidodecahedrons, and ‘hedrons of all sorts. I’m going to call the trend Hedronism.

Here’s Bram Lambrecht‘s original (virtual) design, alongside the first one built from “real” LEGO, by Kevin Heckel:

Adrian Drake gave it a try, and Ley Ward tried a different design:

Finally, my favorite of the bunch, another buckyball by Ley:

Long live Hedronism!

LEGO open-sources Power Functions RC system protocol [News]

LEGO has released various components as open source software in the past, including MINDSTORMS firmware back in 2006. The latest to receive the open source treatment is the protocol for the Power Functions RC (remote control) system:

Here’s the word from Billund:

Last year we introduced a range of products using our new electric building system: LEGO Power Functions. This new electric building system will open up a lot of possibilities now and in the future.

One of the new things we offer now is modular remote control. In the process of designing the Power Functions RC system we did a mapping of different RC functionalities. This mapping formed the basis of the Power Functions RC protocol and most of this is build into the Power Functions RC Receiver.

The RC Handset launched now provides direct ‘bang-bang’ control, but the RC Receiver supports much more functionality like PWM speed control and single pin operation.

Now that the Power Functions elements are available at the LEGO Shop online we have decided to release the Power Functions RC protocol as open source.

Please feel free to use any information from the protocol document for personal, non-commercial use only, provided you keep intact copyright, trademarks and other proprietary rights of the LEGO Company – have fun.

Gaute Munch
Technology Product Manager
LEGO Company

You can download the protocol document as a PDF, kindly hosted by the good people of Hispalug.

Naturally, various Power Functions products are available from the LEGO Store online:

The amazing digital wizard

Dimitri Burakov is an incredibly talended LEGO renderer from Lithuania. He uses an array of programs to create anything from polished renders to professional instructions of LEGO models both official and fan-built.

I recently came across his works on Brickshelf and contacted him about cooperating on some projects. The results are amazing. Below is a beautiful rendering of my tripod mecha with sample instruction steps. In exchange, I shipped out a big package from S@H.

If you’re interested in having renderings and/or instructions done for your work by a professional, you can find Dimitri’s contact info at his Brickshelf gallery.

Resource highlight: Jain’s Intelligence Daily and the LEGO community history project

Jason Whittenburg is a clever, clever man. He’s been running Jain’s Intelligence Daily for some time now – a collection of very useful resources. My favourite one is the brilliant Classic-Space custom model report, which essentially aggregates pictures from Classic-Space into an easily viewable package. Very neat, and it saves a lot of time. Another useful feature is Brickverse Today, which collects feeds from a lot of different LEGO blogs (including Brothers-Brick!) and showcases them in condensed form with links to the full articles. But the best thing is that all of this info is collected in RSS-feeds, ready to go straight into your reader!

After Paul Hartzog raised the idea Jason added another feature: the AFOL history database (or the Adult Fan of LEGO history database). This is a collection of all the important dates that has happened in the LEGO community to help us collectively remember, rejoice, and in some cases, mourn.

Or at least it will be with your help. See, right now there’s only 23 entries in the database. Do you know of something that has, when we look back at it, put its mark in the community? When was that particularly influential model built? That major website started? And there was that funny discussion that has become a running gag…? Put it in there! The RSS feed is configured to ping on the day of every event.

Even if some parts of JID is very much space oriented, all community moments are welcome. Jason has provided us with the resources – let’s make it the best it can be!

The lightest speeder in the outer rim!

A while ago I mentioned the speeder Matt Forcum has been working on, and I’m pleased to report that he’s finished it:

The speeder is instantly recognizable, and yet the balloon gives it a unique steampunk twist. What strikes me most, though, is the way the driver is dressed. This thing can’t possibly go much faster than 10 miles per hour, and yet he’s all decked out in a mask and goggles! It’s that type of humor — whimsy, I guess — that makes for good steampunk.

For more pics, check out the full photoset on Flickr.

What set would you want for the 10th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars?

EDIT (2/4/08): Thanks for all your input, everyone! I’m compiling the list of your ideas and will be passing them along to LEGO shortly.

UPDATE (1/24/08): One quick point of clarification. As some of you may have already seen in posts from other Ambassadors elsewhere, the price range for this set will be 150 USD/euros.


2009 will be the 10th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars. To celebrate this anniversary, LEGO is considering the release of a special 10th-anniversary set, and they want to know what you’d like. LEGO has asked the Ambassadors to pass along the following four questions:

  1. What model do you recommend that LEGO Star Wars launches in October 2009 as celebration of LEGO Star Wars 10th anniversary?
  2. Should it be a model in minifigure scale or a big display model?
  3. Which key characters / minifigures should be included, if the model is minifigure scale?
  4. What key functions should be included?

Please leave your answers as comments on this post, and I’ll pass them along to LEGO. (If you’ve already responded to this question elsewhere, please refrain from providing duplicate answers here.)

As always, LEGO doesn’t make any promises about future sets, but the company does value fan input, so answer away!


Andrew Becraft
LEGO Ambassador

Nelson Mandela

Name: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Dates: Born in 1918.
Nelson Mandela is a South African statesman, former political prisoner, and leader of the African National Congress (ANC).

In the late 1940s through the 1950s, Mandela worked through non-violent means for an end to the South African government’s policy of apartheid. Mandela and more than 150 others were arrested in 1956 and tried for treason, although they were later acquitted.

In 1961, Mandela formed an armed faction within the ANC, which he explained then (and later) as a form of self-defense, necessary given the decades of ineffective resistance against apartheid. Mandela briefly led a campaign of sabotage against government and military targets, until his arrest in 1962 (after a tip from the American CIA). Mandela spent the next 27 years in prison.

In 1990, Mandela was released from prison. He immediately began leading negotiations to form a multi-racial government. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. With the first multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first Black president.

Learn more: Wikipedia