Demag CC5800

Written by TJ on January 23rd, 2014

The big crane project that I’ve had going for years now is a 1:17 scale model of a Demag CC5800. I’ve slowly worked on this beast over a period of 2 years or more, but I’ve yet to finish it. A lot of the work has been to procure the massive amount of parts needed.

To date I’ve finished the turntable, one crawler, and the base frame of the superstructure.

I hate new year’s resolutions, but I am going to push myself to get this project done this year. Specifically, I’m going to try to get it finished (or at least in “rough draft” form) by late June so that I can display it in San Antonio at Brick Fiesta in early July.

The crawler design was one of the challenges, but I think I’ve got a working design now. It’s a bit unusual in that the treads are smooth outside and inside. The driving mechanism is powered rollers inside the crawler frame. The big rollers at each end of the crawler are not powered. So far it seems to work okay provided that it operates on a flat surface. This will be a limitation, but one that I’m okay with since the same limitation exists with real-life cranes of this type (super heavy lift capacity).

Avery Family Interview

Written by TJ on September 10th, 2013

A few months ago we were interviewed by a local radio station. This was about our passion and hobbies related to LEGO.

The following link has the audio clip that aired as well as a photos that were taken during the interview.

Sci-Fi Rocket

Written by TJ on September 10th, 2013

I recently helped build a rather large model of a classic science fiction rocket. This project was for the 71st annual Worldcon held in San Antonio, Texas over Labor Day Weekend.

I now have a webpage online with details and photos.

click for more info and photos

Not much else to report. I have been building small things here and there over the past year (mostly for the LUG display box in the local LEGO retail store).

New Turntable Design

Written by TJ on July 19th, 2012

The difficulty with large turntables made of LEGO parts is making them strong enough and stiff enough to withstand the large loads and moments that get applied to them. I’ve made many turntables through the years and I’ve noticed a lot of them have suffered from wanting to pry apart under load.

A solution to this is to make a sandwich of roller bearings; basically a self-contained stack of rings separated by bearings. It’s difficult to put into words, so hopefully this diagram will help:

This is the design currently used in my latest crane. The model is meant to be a tower crane with a luffing boom, but it is also a test bed for some new ideas that I’ve had.

I built the turntable for this years ago. I intended to use it to make a hammerhead style tower crane, but decided later to turn it into a slightly different style with a luffing boom.

The turntable uses the same roller bearing ring as used on my 4×4 offroad crane.

New Crane

Written by TJ on July 13th, 2012

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I posted last. I’m a %#&#^$ blogger :-)

One year and two Brick Fiestas later, I’m still around and still building! Speaking of Brick Fiesta, I was Co-Chair this year. The event took place last week. It was a great success, and I’m still really tired!

I built a new crane for the event:

click to visit my Flickr site

It’s very similar in function to previous cranes that I’ve made. However, this uses a brand new turntable design. It’s smaller than previous designs (ie Crane Project #1) and it works well. I also designed a boom with a triangular cross section made mostly of studless beams and parts.

More details to come later! Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Blog is Back Up!

Written by TJ on June 13th, 2011

I’m sorry the blog has been down. I’m not sure how long it’s been down, but probably about a month.

My host upgraded it’s PHP, and all of my blogs needed a little maintenance to make them work again. I think I’m good to go here, although a few of my other blogs still aren’t functioning properly.

On the building front, I’ve been finishing up my UP 844. I’m also finishing up a new, small project that I’ve not announced yet. It’s for the kids and it’s train related. I’ll get photos up in the coming weeks.

I’m also preparing for Brick Fiesta in Austin, Texas. It’s less than 3 weeks away!

Crane Project Updated

Written by TJ on April 27th, 2011

Earlier this month I uploaded the final photos and descriptions for the crane project.

click to view Crane Project page

I finished the project a long time ago. I just recently got around to fully dismantling the pieces.

OPC 7: Three Great MOCs from Konajra

Written by TJ on April 5th, 2011

I recently came across Konajra on Flickr. He also has a website:

Three of his MOCs really impressed me. The first is this great model of a Bucyrus mining shovel:

Bucyrus 495 HF
Click to view Flickr Page gallery

(image © Arjan Oude Kotte)

This one really caught my eye :-) It’s the only other model of a Liebherr 996 that I’ve seen besides my own.

Liebherr 996 Litronic
Click to view Flickr Page gallery

(image © Arjan Oude Kotte)

And finally, this model of a P&H shovel is really superb. I’ve contemplated building a MOC of this very same machine.

P&H 4100xpc
Click to view Flickr Page gallery

(image © Arjan Oude Kotte)

Arjan’s work is fantastic. I think it’s definitely worth keeping track of his work!

TexLUG Window at Galleria Store April 2011

Written by TJ on April 5th, 2011

I volunteered to do our LUG display this month at the Houston Galleria LEGO Store.

click to view larger

It’s a display of trusses with a little info card. Thanks to Matt S. for the idea :-)

click to view larger

I used the same base as my last display, except that I changed out the lettering for different colors to match our state flag.

click to view larger

I wasn’t sure about putting in a little info sign. I made one for the last display I did in February. But the folks at the store assured me that the kids visiting the store will stick around a bit longer and actually read it. Cool! :-)

Custom Battery Power for the Power Functions System

Written by TJ on April 5th, 2011

There has always been a trick to getting a custom battery box to work with PF (power functions) components. The issue is basically that there are 4 wires used in the PF cables, and depending on where you are in the circuit, the outer set or the inner set can be used (but not at the same time).

The system is mapped out in detail here: Many, many thanks to Philo for this diagram.

Implementing this information to make a custom PF battery box is what I’ve figured out recently. I wanted to make a custom (non-LEGO) battery holder that would take 8x rechargeable AA batteries. That would give me a total of 9.6 volts (rechargeable AA batteries are typically 1.2 V per cell as compared to traditional alkaline batteries that are 1.5 V each) and essentially more and longer lasting power for my models (in comparison to using a standard LEGO battery holder that only takes 6x AA batteries).

Below is a schematic showing the set-up for a custom battery box.

click to view larger

You can find off the shelf non-LEGO battery holders in a variety of sizes and capacities. For AA batteries, I’ve found holders that take 4 each and also 8. In my example below, I’ve used two 4x AA holders and wired them together in series.

click to view larger

This is for my UP 844 MOC. The 4xAA holders fit snugly into a space that is 8-studs wide.

click to view larger

When I first started to play around with this, I somehow misinterpreted the information and ended up wiring the batteries up like this:

do NOT do this
click to view larger

DO NOT DO THIS! This will make smoke come out of the PF IR receiver box.

My PF receiver is now a pristine example of what a PF receiver should look like from the outside. Inside, it’s toast.