The New Site is Up and Running!

Written by TJ on May 28th, 2009

Finally, after nearly a year of planning and developing, has been completely revised and upgraded:

Please check it out. If you find any bugs or content that appears to be missing, please contact me or post a comment here. Thanks!

Crane Project, Phase 1 Overview

Written by TJ on May 22nd, 2009

About a year ago, I got the itch to build another large crane. I started a model and finished it in about two months. The final MOC (my own creation) isn’t really a finalized piece, but rather a project to test various ideas.

What really inspired me to build this were several ideas I had for a large crane, and this project turned out to be more of a testing phase than a real, finished MOC.

click for larger view

Specifically, I had some ideas about a new turntable design and also further development of using large plates to make beams for the framework (including joining them at an angle other than 90 degrees). I also spent the time to develop a compact winch package that could be reused on future projects.

click for larger view

I call this “Phase 1″ because I’m going to contunue to work on it. I created a 4-legged pedestal base for this crane to test out my ideas of joining built-up beams (made from large plates) at different angles. In “Phase 2″, I’m going to explore other ideas I have for a base – a moveable base :-)

In the next phase, I’m also going to redesign the turntable. The original design worked okay, but had its flaws. The most serious flaw is that it lacked the strength I wanted. The crane would just barely support 20 pounds on the main hook, and I I’d like to see 50 pounds supported or more.

I have other projects in the way right now, so it will be a while before I continue on with this crane. But first I need to take close-up photos of the components of “Phase 1″ so that I can present the ideas here.

More to come soon… :-)

The New Train Table

Written by TJ on May 21st, 2009

A few weeks ago, Henry and I worked on a new table so that he could play trains without being obstructed by me when I build at my desk. I had a large oval of LEGO track around my building desk, and every time Henry wanted to run the trains, they got in the way of our building area. It also didn’t help that he wanted to park the trains right out front and mess with them. This made building anything difficult.

So, I decided to build him his very own and separate train/building table (and remove the track from mine).

click for larger view

He and I worked on the design first. Actually, I came up with several different layouts, showed them to him, and then let him pick what he wanted. I also told him that I was going to paint it a LEGO color, and he immediately said, “GREEN!”. Green is his favorite color.

So, I took a few of his Duplo bricks to Lowes and had them match LEGO green and also dark bley (bluish gray). The gray was for the legs of the table and also another project I’m working on (more about that later). Lowes had no problem matching the gray, but they couldn’t get the green right. I found a paint chip in their selection that was pretty close and went with that. Both colors turned out to be very close and just slightly lighter than the real LEGO colors.

click for larger view

He loves the table. He now has his own area to run trains and also build. He’s dumped out a bunch of bricks into the space inside the loops of track and is messing around with building his own train cars. He’s more enthusiastic than ever about LEGO trains and building with the pieces. As soon as I get home from work and step through the front door, it’s “LEGO-time!” and he drags me upstairs to play :-)

My Flickr Account

Written by TJ on May 20th, 2009

I have joined the masses on Flickr. Seems that ye olde Brickshelf is losing popularity to Flickr, so I figured I’d jump into whatever the kids are doing these days.

If you want to see my “photostream” on Flickr, here’s the link.

To kick things off proper, I’ve uploaded photos of a brand new project. Check it out :-)

The New is Coming

Written by TJ on May 12th, 2009

I’m currently working on a complete redesign of I started this site nearly 8 years ago and did not anticipate or plan for growth. It’s become a tangled mess of files, photos, and broken links.

The new site will be clean and consistent in format. It will also allow me to add updates much more easily than the old site.

All the old content will make it to the new site. But I’m revising, and in some cases re-writing, the model pages. And, there will also be a few new models ;-)

The “articles” section will be a new, revised form of my old “ideas” section. And, as mentioned previously, this blog will serve to host new ideas that I develop.

I don’t have a target date for completion. I just work on it when I can. Currently, I’m probably 70 – 80 percent done. I’m hoping that I can get the new site rolled out by the end of this month, but I’m not too sure. We’ll see…

It Begins…

Written by TJ on May 12th, 2009

Welcome to the new blog! Another blog about LEGO? :-) Well, it’s not just another blog, it’s MY blog.

Seriously, this will be an easy and organized way of announcing and sharing updates. It will also be an outlet to share building ideas in a neat and categorized manner. (After all, nothing appeals more to a slightly obsessive-compulsive LEGO-file than a system of categories and compartmentalization! :-) )

I’ve not uploaded much of anything to my site in a long while. Again, I’ll offer up the excuse that my photography and my family life (got two kiddos now!) eat into my LEGO-time :-)

I’m still building when I can. My older son enjoys this “LEGO-time” with me and either builds something of his own or jumps in front of me and demands to use (steal) whatever I’m working with. But we always have a good time.

my LEGO desk

Sit tight and stay tuned. A lot of new stuff is on the way! :-)