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The CC5800 Lives

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

A few weekends ago I showed the CC5800 model at the Houston Mini Maker Faire. It was a two day event and loads of fun. I always enjoy hanging out with my fellow AFOLs (our club, TexLUG, and sister train club, TBRR, put on a large display). Plus, there were tons of other geeks and nerds attending the show… my people! :-)

I’ve created an album on Flickr with a collection of all the photos of the CC5800 model to date: CC5800 Album on Flickr

click pic to enter album

I still need to create a proper page for it on my website. That’s definitely on my RATHER LARGE list of things to do….

But first, I still have to finish it! :-) After two years of having the CC5800 together and working, I’m still not done with it.

I have a punch-list of small things to fix and finish, but the major thing right now is the crawler drive mechanisms. They’re shot. The set of gears between the motors and the powered rollers use a set of bevel gears. These gears keep stripping. LEGO bevel gears just don’t handle power well, even from Medium sized PF motors.

I need to re-design these drives, which might require that I redesign and rebuild the crawler framework.

The big project I’ve had going this year is a complete re-configuration of my LEGO build area. New floors, new desk, new shelves, etc.

I’ll have to work up a separate post just for that. It’s taken months to get it into shape, and it’s still not quite finished.

BTW I’ve had to turn off comments due to the large amount of spam I’ve received (despite heavy filters). If you want to send me a note, please email me:

CC5800 – Best Technic at Brick Fiesta 2014!

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Brick Fiesta 2014 is over. Thank goodness. It was fun and enjoyable, and just like my 5-year old son, I’m sad that it’s over now.

But I’m relieved too. The amount of building done prior to the event was substantial. I spent as much time I could on the crane and even reduced the amount of time I slept in order to create more time for building. I haven’t spent that much time at my LEGO desk in many years.

Packing Up the Crane

I’m still tired now, even 5 days after the event closed. I’m getting too old for this :-)

All Packed and Ready to Leave

I set up the crane on the first morning of the event. It took me about four hours. The set up followed the steps similar to how you’d set up a real crane.

Keeping with tradition, that was the first time the model was completely set up and tested. Ie I built and worked on it to the very last moment, packed it up, and hauled it to the show.

Setting Up at Brick Fiesta

All Set Up – Me and the Crane

As it turned out, the model worked very well. I was impressed and fortunate.

The only issue I had was that the amount of ballast I’d brought wasn’t enough. I was not able to lower the boom very far (perhaps only to about 60° from horizontal). I had to hold the boom in my hands as I transitioned between laying it on the floor to 60-70° up.

I also had trouble with the lifting block. The string and pulleys had so much friction that the block wouldn’t lower and raise properly. I’m not sure what’s going on there. Considering I built the block in about 30 minutes, I think I need to investigate it and redesign it :-)

Brick Fiesta 2014 Best Technic Award Trophy

The crane won for best Technic creation at Brick Fiesta! This marks the second time that I’ve won that award. The first time was in 2012, and it was for a smaller tower-style crane.


Although the crane is a functioning model, it is not finished. There are many cosmetic items that need to be added, for example.

Some of the functional things that need adding or improvement include:
- redesign of the main lifting hook
- addition of more ballast
- organize the electronics and wiring

Crawler Base Wiring Schematic

The electronic stuff inside the crawler base definitely could use some tidying up. To save time, I just stuffed it all into a brick-built box and disguised it as a counterweight on the crawler base.

But I need to redo all of this so that it’s not a rat’s nest. I need to be able to access everything to inspect it and do maintenance with ease.

What a Mess!

In the future, I’d like to add a superlift and ballast carrier to increase the lifting capacity. This will be the second stage of the model. But I may wait a while before I do that.

WIP / Update: Demag CC 5800

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Progress on the CC5800 has been slow. I had intentions to work hard through Feb. and Mar. and have a first draft completed by about the end of March.

Well, life got in the way, and I hardly did any building from Feb. through April. I started hitting it hard in May, and I’ve been building on a regular basis since.

click for larger image

Last night was the first full assembly test of all the components I’ve built to date. Everything fit together well. The crane is surprisingly HEAVY.

It seemed sturdy, but I have yet to put any real load on it.

click for larger image

I’m going to show it at Brick Fiesta in early July finished or not. The reality is that it won’t be completely finished… and that’s okay. I at least have enough of it together to make a good show.

Over the next few weeks I will build more boom sections and also fully rig the boom and block with line. I have the electronics (controls and batteries) sourced, and I will also try to install it to give the crane some functionality.

But again, the reality is that I’ve run out of time, and I do not have the time to properly test and revise and rebuild things should they not work the first time around. I already know I’m going to have some issues. I tried powering the slewing motors last night, and they did not have enough power to continuously rotate the superstructure.

Despite all this, I am very pleased to have made it to this stage :-) The work will continue….

Demag CC5800

Thursday, 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).

Sci-Fi Rocket

Tuesday, 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

Thursday, 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

Friday, 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!

TexLUG Window at Galleria Store April 2011

Tuesday, 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! :-)

LUG Showcase

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I’ve created a “scene” for our (TexLUG) February LUG (LEGO Users Group) Showcase.

Click to see larger pic

The LUG Showcase program is program offered by the LEGO retail stores, and each store has a small display case for this feature. LUGs are invited to display a creation and advertise their club. The change-out of displays happens about every month.

Click to see larger pic

This is my first time to do a display. This display will go into the case in the Houston Galleria LEGO store on February 5. It will be up until early March.

Work in Progress: UP 844

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I started this in April 2010, worked on it for a short while, then stopped building.

Click to see larger pic

Around the new year, I started up again and made significant progress. The main engine is pretty much done, except for some minor things and some “greebling” to be done. I also ran out of a few parts and I’m waiting for a Bricklink order to come in.

Click to see larger pic

I just started on the tender this past weekend. I’m working out the details of the wheels and linkages between wheel groups.

To recap: the engine is a model of Union Pacific’s 844 (4-8-4). It uses four geared 9V motors (pre-Power Functions), one for each driver set. The drivers are XL BBB (Big Ben Bricks).

It will be controlled by a Power Functions receiver and battery pack. Those will be housed in the tender.

I’m hoping to get this finished in a few weeks.