CP5670

Technic Idea Books

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Has anyone here built the models from these books? There were four of them (8888, 8889, 8890 and 8891), and they are all available on Peeron and Brickfactory. I had skimmed through these scans a long time ago but looked over them more closely today, and noticed several models I hadn't seen before. I definitely want to try building some of them now.

The original book, 8888, is probably the best of them. The last two models in it are particularly interesting, and it took me a minute to figure out what they do from the pictures. They use a very clever idea of accepting code cards made up of rows of 1x4 gear plates, which allow you to program the models in a purely mechanical way. There is also a wind-up clock and an excavator with 3 degrees of freedom. Technic (or Expert Builder, rather) was really in its infancy back then, and it's quite impressive how much they managed to achieve with the very limited selection of Technic pieces available at the time.

8891 also has some good concepts. There is a plane "simulator" (similar to the 8485 helicopter), a walker with pneumatic arms and hands, and a rodeo guy on a bull. I especially like the pictures for that last one. :grin:

(update: pictures and comments appear below)

Rodeo

A simple but very fun model. One motor makes the bull jump up and down, and the other one makes it rotate. If you use both functions at once, the speed of the jumping changes noticeably depending on the direction the turntable is moving in, so if the guy won't fall off, you can speed it up. :grin:

8891-01a.jpg

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Walker

Great concept. I often tried to build things like this as a kid. It moves fairly slowly and does wobble a bit while walking, but still remains surprisingly stable even with unbalanced arm positions. I changed a few pieces on the hands to make their grip stronger. As you would expect, it benefits a lot from a compressor and there is probably enough unused room inside to build one into the model itself, although I just ran it off an external one. The cockpit can be opened to put the figure in. Here is a walking video.

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Programmable crane

I love the concept behind this model, but its operation is kind of unreliable in practice. I removed the crate that the model normally lifts, which is too heavy and doesn't let the winch stay up. The turntable mechanism is unusual and tends to lock up, and the model would definitely benefit from a modern turntable. It's impressive to watch otherwise though. Each of the six rows on the "code card" corresponds to a function: turning the crane left and right, raising and lowering the winch, moving the tracks (they can only move forward), and moving the card itself. As Blakbird mentioned, the model has heavy gear reduction and it takes around 3 minutes for the card to fully run through the model. I think this model might also hold a record for the number of 8-tooth gears used. I counted 24. :grin:

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Excavator

This one is probably my favorite among the models I've built so far. It's pretty small and compact, but it has 3 degrees of freedom like a real excavator. It's interesting that TLG managed to achieve this in 1980 with very basic Technic parts, but couldn't do it recently with 8294. :tongue: The original model uses a rubber band in one spot to keep the boom up, which doesn't work reliably and causes friction in one of the geartrains, so I removed that and added in manual latches on the cranks as seen in the first picture.

8888-02a.jpg

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Plane simulator

This is a great idea with a somewhat flawed design, but it can be fixed easily. The motors aren't geared down enough and some rubber belts in the geartrain tend to slip easily, so the plane moves with fast, jerky movements and can't hold its position well. I removed the belts and added an extra 1:3 stage of gear reduction on each motor, which improves the functions a lot. I also enlarged and motorized the propellor and added a few supporting plates on the wings, which are otherwise prone to falling off. After these changes, I think I like this model better than the 8485 helicopter, as it has similar functionality in a much smaller size. I took a short video of it as well.

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Dinosaur

Another walking model, this time with 4 legs. It moves fairly fast but not quite as smoothly as the 2-legged walker discussed earlier, and it actually moves better backwards than forwards. The legs tend to slide on a hard surface, so I added some wheels on them for traction. They look a little weird but they do the job. :tongue:

8891-04a.jpg

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Clock

Like the crane, this is another very unique concept that unfortunately doesn't work that well in practice. The pendulum has two bushes on top that touch a 40t gear. The gear moves by one tooth each time the pendulum swings from one side to the other, which makes the clock hand move just a little bit. The entire thing is powered by several rubber bands on a wind-up axle, and the 24t gear in the back is used to wind it up. The gearing is quite clever and is designed so that it can be wound up easily, but still keeps going on a single "charge" for a while. However, the pendulum does not swing reliably, and also has a slight deadzone that causes the gear to slip every now and then. I added a few weight bricks to it, which improves it but it's still not that reliable. There is also a cut-out clock face given in the book, for which I just used a substitute. :tongue:

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Cable car

Another cool and unique model. The cable car has a forward/reverse transmission that gets flipped when it hits a wall, automatically reversing its direction. The string it runs on needs to have quite a bit of tension in it, or the wheel doesn't grip the cable tightly enough and the car will not move. It took me some time to figure this out, but the model is fun to watch in action once it has been set up correctly.

8891-05a.jpg

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Dog

This model uses a symmetric mechanism for the front and hind legs, unlike the dinosaur. It actually walks very slowly, but is reasonably stable. The head bobs up and down as it walks forward, and it also has a bone in its mouth. :grin: Here is a walking video.

8888-04a.jpg

8888-04b.jpg

Edited by CP5670

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Yes I have the last two books (8890 twice and 8891 one time).

8890 was ok - nothing outstanding in there.

8891 on the other hand brought me a LOT of fun.

I have build the crane a few times especially when I was waiting to receive 8460 for my birthday. The steering was rather different than 8460 which was very nice and the cabin was very low over the floor which I liked as a kid. Of course the expandable boom wasn't in there but I tried to make one for it.

The cablecar was so much fun. Just put up a string across your childroom and you could play a whole week. The mechanism was quite clever too - when it bumped at the wardrobe on one side it switched directions and went back.

The walking dino wasn't outstanding but the walking mechanism was nice. Once you figured out how it worked you could make anything walk (from a moonstation I build to an AT-AT a friend of mine was building).

The submarine was standard but looked nice next to 8250 or the 8480 B-model (which is still an outstanding sumarine by the way) later on.

The walker looked awesome with all the tubing it really was like a machine from the movies. GREAT fun as a kid.

The bull rider and airplane looked a bit boring when I was little, but later on I fell in love with the plane. I never had a ControlCenter so I build them with a remote control from 8082 (another set I love) and it was great to play along a special manoeuvre. The bull rider was just great to look at. All the relatives I showed it to liked it because it was something you've never seen with Lego.

What can I say. 8891 is a lot of fun. Can't recommend it enough.

Edited by Musikfreak

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I also had alot of fun with 8891.

My brother used to collect the toy figures from the "aliens" movies so I had a lot of fun with the walker. It could grab the alien round the neck and lift it with the pneumatics no problem and then it could walk over to a ledge and drop it. YEY the creature is dead YEEEY! I built the cable car too, it ran up and down the garden on a nice summer day! I've also built the very last model in the book which looked great in the book but in reality was actually kinda boring compared to the walker. The rodeo thing was cool as was the plane simulator.

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I have built the programmable crane from 8888 as seen below in a render. I haven't taken any actual photographs of it. Amazingly, it runs all 4 functions (drive forward/back, slew left/right, hoist up/down, feed programming sled) from a single 4.5V motor which does a decent job of it. I highly recommend this model.

BerndasBrot has created the "Aliens" like pneumatic walker from 8891 so perhaps he will talk about it. He has also built the plotter virtually (in LDraw) from 8888.

8888render.jpg

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I have built the programmable crane from 8888 as seen below in a render. I haven't taken any actual photographs of it. Amazingly, it runs all 4 functions (drive forward/back, slew left/right, hoist up/down, feed programming sled) from a single 4.5V motor which does a decent job of it. I highly recommend this model.

Yes, that is the model I was referring to. The whole "program card" concept is quite brilliant and something I had never thought of before.

How do the 4.5V motors compare to the 9V ones? I don't have any of those but have plenty of the ungeared 9V ones, so I will probably just substitute them into these models.

The cablecar was so much fun. Just put up a string across your childroom and you could play a whole week. The mechanism was quite clever too - when it bumped at the wardrobe on one side it switched directions and went back.

Cool, I didn't notice this earlier from the pictures. The switching mechanism is similar to what is done on the 8094 crane. This would make a nice basis for a minifig/System model.

I've also built the very last model in the book which looked great in the book but in reality was actually kinda boring compared to the walker.

I couldn't tell what that one was supposed to be. :tongue: It may be a little clumsy to use since it has the control center affixed to the model itself.

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How do the 4.5V motors compare to the 9V ones? I don't have any of those but have plenty of the ungeared 9V ones, so I will probably just substitute them into these models.

The 4.5V motor is similar in that it a high speed / low torque motor. I've taken them apart and it is simply a motor will no internal gearing. It has a smaller footprint than the 9V motor and that, together with the lower voltage, gives you less total power. If it able to accomodate the 8888 crane, but the gear reduction is extreme. I haven't worked it out, but it is at least 1000:1.

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The 4.5V motor is similar in that it a high speed / low torque motor. I've taken them apart and it is simply a motor will no internal gearing. It has a smaller footprint than the 9V motor and that, together with the lower voltage, gives you less total power. If it able to accomodate the 8888 crane, but the gear reduction is extreme. I haven't worked it out, but it is at least 1000:1.

There was a gear box aswell though that you could add straight on to it. I liked the yellow crane that used the flex-system for steering. Quite functional without using many parts.

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BUMP

I have been building some of these models over the last month. Here are a few pictures and comments. I changed some colors when I didn't have exactly the right bricks on hand, especially on the excavator, but the functionality is the same.

(pictures and comments moved to first post)

Edited by CP5670

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Thanks very much for the post! I've been interested in all of these for a long time. As you know I have built the crane, but the others are still on my list. The walker (Ripley loader) looks fascinating to me, as does the excavator. I'll have to bump these up my priority list. I'm also quite interested in the "controllable" airplane using the control center in one of the later idea books.

I'd love to see a video of what the walker's motion looks like.

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Thanks very much for the post! I've been interested in all of these for a long time. As you know I have built the crane, but the others are still on my list. The walker (Ripley loader) looks fascinating to me, as does the excavator. I'll have to bump these up my priority list. I'm also quite interested in the "controllable" airplane using the control center in one of the later idea books.

I'd love to see a video of what the walker's motion looks like.

The plane is the next model on my mind, actually. It looks similar in concept to the 8485 helicopter, but it's more compact. It should also be easy to add a third motor on the plane in order to spin the propellor. A harder but more interesting mod would be to add a turntable and allow it to change heading.

I'll try to get a video of the walker tomorrow during the daytime. My camera doesn't seem to work that well in indoor light without flash. :tongue:

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I have built the programmable crane from 8888 as seen below in a render. I haven't taken any actual photographs of it.

Technicopedia does have a picture of the programmable crane :wink:

cranes3.JPG

If only I had the time to build all those idea books models... Maybe some day in the far future :classic:

Edited by grepin

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Technicopedia does have a picture of the programmable crane :wink:

Wow, I can't believe you know more about Technicopedia than I do. That's good work.

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I have all the idea books and the first two are easily the best. I have couple of models still built - the excavator and a jeep, but I'm planning to build some more when I have the time, I'll take pictures of them. :)

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Wow, does that walker bring back memories!

I remember getting the book from my father and falling in love with the walker, but I only had two pneumatic pistons then and no way to get more. I used to just look at those instructions and my imagination would take over. I have to dig out the book and build it!!

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Here's a quick video of the walker I took, just showing how it walks.

Great video! Thanks for sharing. There is now no doubt that I need to build that thing. It works amazingly well, especially considering the parts available when that thing was designed and how lousy this thing walks, by comparison.

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Great video! Thanks for sharing. There is now no doubt that I need to build that thing. It works amazingly well, especially considering the parts available when that thing was designed and how lousy this thing walks, by comparison.

I don't have that set but after reading your description there, I'm tempted to try out that model too. :laugh:

It has been a while since I built it but I recall that the 8479 robot walks especially fast and smoothly, although it's smaller and doesn't need to carry nearly as much weight on its legs as this 8891 walker does.

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BUMP

I built some more of these models and took some pictures. :classic:

(pictures and comments moved to first post)

Edited by CP5670

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Thanks for taking the time to do this :classic:

All four models look unique, and certainly a departure from the current (construction) vehicle theme. I like the plane simulator better than 8485's Helicopter too. I'll have to try the Dinosaur out, the mechanism looks different to the piston-type movement in Lego's own AT-AT. The cable-car looks impressive too as it looks to function with a single motor.

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BUMP

I built some more of these models and took some pictures. :classic:

Sigh. This is going to cost me a lot money.

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These are great i've built the dino, cable car and plane in the past and they were great. I loved all that gearing down in the plane, watching all those gears spin is kinda mezmorising to me, and you've made it even better!

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That's quite impressive! I wonder why Lego didn't try to bring those concepts to regular sets.

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Thanks for taking the time to do this

All four models look unique, and certainly a departure from the current (construction) vehicle theme. I like the plane simulator better than 8485's Helicopter too. I'll have to try the Dinosaur out, the mechanism looks different to the piston-type movement in Lego's own AT-AT. The cable-car looks impressive too as it looks to function with a single motor.

The dinosaur's front legs are essentially powered by the rear legs' movements, through the gray liftarms, which is probably why it walks more smoothly backwards. There is a walking dog in 8888 that has a more symmetric mechanism like the AT-AT, so I might try that out too.

Sigh. This is going to cost me a lot money.

:grin:

I was building two or three at a time, keeping them built for a week or two and then taking them apart. Although I like the excavator and plane simulator enough that I might just have to get the parts for them so I can keep them built. :tongue:

That's quite impressive! I wonder why Lego didn't try to bring those concepts to regular sets.

I would like to see sets with such models too. Models different from trucks, construction vehicles, etc. were fairly common in the Universal/Multi-model sets, but they disappeared when we stopped getting those sets.

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Aaaah this takes me back! I had 8888 as a kid; I remember it well as I spent a lot of time wishfully reading through it. However, the only Technic model I had at the time was 850 (fork lift); not much you can make from that!

I too was fascinated by the card reader model.

IIRC, one of the models that I really wanted to build was the 'dog', that used 4 large gears to simulate walking. I had precisely none of these, so I tried to build it with smaller gears but it didn't work.

Great to see some of these finally brought to life! :thumbup:

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