Any good engineer will tell you that scale models are a great way to test out grand ideas in a safer and cheaper environment. For some LEGO builders, though, scale models are just an excuse to flex your engineering muscles. This bridge by Clemens Schneider is a great little microscale build in its own right. It’s an attractive design with some nifty microscale vehicles, including what appears to be a police chase! What I am most impressed by however is the engineering behind it, which was meticulously planned out.
The valley and the gentle curve of the bridge are already accomplished by bending rows of bricks, exploiting the tolerances that are built in to LEGO bricks. But those flex tubes aren’t just for show! They actually work as a real cable-stayed bridge would. The schematic below shows some of Clemens’ thinking for this clever little build. The outer pair of cables are tensioned together with string (yes, it’s LEGO string), and the tension which can be adjusted to slightly alter the shape of the bridge. The green links have metal train axles in them (still LEGO!), the friction of which further helps to support the bridge. I’m seriously impressed by the thought that went into this!
Akiyuki has a knack for creating elaborately engineered LEGO creations. But this latest creation is possibly the most complex yet. Using a mangle rack system that converts the spinning of gears into rectilinear motion (i.e. straight lines), Akiyuki was able to create an accurate second hand on a giant LEGO clock frame. From there, the minute and hour hands were a breeze…well maybe not a breeze, but Akiyuki sure makes it look easy.
Check out the video below for a full breakdown on the construction and operation of the clock, including a timelapse next to a standard clock to demonstrate its accuracy. Make sure you turn on the closed captioning for Akiyuki’s full commentary.
Sometimes one good idea spawns another. My case in point, this LEGO Halo ring world built by Ralf Langer. It is chock full of great tricky techniques to build this ring and I could get lost in all the details and the landmasses. We’d be impressed enough if this occurred as a creative anomoly but in the very capable hands of Ralf this is not the case. Back in June we featured a seascape on a curved horizon. In March of 2020 we see Ralf employing the same techniques with a scene from Fallout that made the social media cover image for that month. Both, it would seem, were mere practice runs for this stunning Halo ring. If you have a hankering for all things Halo you may want to click the little blue link. And be sure not to miss another builder’s prior Halo ring world featured way back in 2012.
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Elegant, functional mechanical models don’t need to be large. In their “LEGO Technic Micro Stepper Mechanism” video, Lego Technic Mastery demonstrates how to build a simple, manually-operated stepper motor that can attach to any Technic beam. This stepper machine has four 90° stops, allowing for precise quarter turns in both the clockwise and counter-clockwise direction.
At 0:56 in the video, Lego Technic Mastery provides a shot of all the parts needed for this mcahine plus step-by-step instructions. I followed the instructions and built my own “little stepper” with little difficulty (although I did break a LEGO rubber band in the process).
Check out Lego Technic Mastery’s YouTube channel, which includes an awesome pneumatic robot hand!