Eurobricks Citizen
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About Toastie

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    Good Spirited
  • Birthday 02/17/62

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    LEGO, electronics, micro controllers, lasers, making things work


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  1. Holy Grail: For sure: The RCX. It changed everything in my LEGO life. Came back from the dark ages in 1996 - we then moved from Germany to the US and then the Mindstorms 1.0 set materialized at Target in Tustin/CA. The box said #9719. A dream came true. Then the Scout Discovery Set #9735 and the MicroScout Droid Developer Kit #9748 appeared ... all these sets are my all time favorites. Dream: The HiTechnic IR Link sensor (currently sold for half the original price) lets the NXT talk to/with RCX's/Scout's. The Scout talks natively to MicroScouts. I would love to see a sensor/interface to continue this continuations effort for upcoming PBricks including the EV varieties. LEGO is building across multiple themes, it is the heart of this "toy", as far as I am concerned. Why not trying this with the intelligent bricks as well. I know that there are some downsides with the link (range!) but that can be easily resolved. Regret(s): None. I am >very< happy that LEGO is "safely" around, as it was when I got my first set #323 ... I sure hope this will continue to be like that till the end of time! Regards, Thorsten
  2. Dear All, it has been a very long time since my last “productive” post on EB – I have been lurking ever since from time to time - but no contributions from my side. It is time to share some of the stuff that has slowly accumulated over the recent years. These are some locomotive and rolling stock ideas/MODs/MOCs. Below is a short summary of what and why; the instructions were meant to go on the RailBricks repository but that seems to be no longer an option. Instead, I am using my cloud space at work; a click on the link below the images should get you to a corresponding folder with the MLCad/LDraw file(s) and the LPub instruction PDF(s). Note that there are 300DPI as well as low-res versions of the PDF files; the latter are much more bandwidth friendly. Also note that there may be numerous errors/faults – I am using these files as references and aid for my rather limited building capabilities. Generally, I am building in a rather weird way, I guess. Most of the parts I am using, particularly for rolling stock, are spare parts from LEGO sets I got as present or simply purchased for other parts. Rarely the sets I am buying survive as a whole. It may also be an excuse to regularly visit the local TrU or LEGO stores nearby … for some reason it is still very exciting to me to browse through their shelves – that is also the reason for not ordering sets or parts online that often. There are exceptions of course. BrickLink is more of a last (and beautiful) resort. I have simply more fun figuring out ways of using individual pieces that initially appeared to be useless even for a longer time. Also, I hardly use scaled schematics for building – it is just my personal look and feel that should be “right”. So all my models may well appear as inaccurate or unrealistic in some way or the other – but they are just that: LEGO MOCs and MODs … and I am sure, that many building ideas have already been shown – either here on EB, in the various BrickShelf galleries, or somewhere else. I have not checked thoroughly though – just let me know and I’ll add the references. There are currently no photographs of the real trains. I am planning on taking these along with some impressions of my expanded “home office layout” – hopefully sooner than in a couple of years from now. This a rather long post, I am sorry. But I simply did not want to open several threads on rather minor things. Locomotives/Trains 1) GP38 “BNSF” (#10133) MOD LDraw file(s) and PDF instruction(s) I personally believe that the BNSF GP38 is one of the most inspiring train models TLC ever made. It appears as if many builders have modded, extended, and (re)designed their models based – at least partly – on the layout of this engine. I have also merged some of the beautiful design elements from the SD40-2 “Maersk” train (set #10219; these are the cab lights, front section, truck elements with new discrete brick/plate pilot design) along with a new frame comprised of discrete plates, re-bricked the fuel tanks, and added front PF lights. The concept of powering the locomotive is either pure “9V” or “PF”. A PF version requires a controller of some sort; either custom approaches (e.g., Arduino) or plain vanilla PF controllers/batteries located in separate cars etc. When running on its own with onboard battery and controller, the color scheme suffers severely on the 4-wide body section of the locomotive, which could be covered by custom stickers of course. The modified SD40-2 “Maersk” train introduced further below may also serve for “controlling” purpose. On my layout an SD40-2/GP38 pair is hauling rather heavy loads: The SD40-2 as PF controller with onboard battery and two motors and the GP38 with just one additional motor hooked up to the SD40-2. The V2 version of the PF receiver is handling 3 motors rather flawlessly when fed with the rechargeable LEGO LiPo battery. The required building steps are included in the SD40-2 instruction section, see below. 2) SD40-2 “Maersk” (#10219) MOD LDraw file(s) and PDF instruction(s) The major SD40-2 changes are the discrete plate frame (this way it became possible to add the neat white stripes the original locomotive features), changes to the trucks (they are one stud shorter and have a discrete brick/plate pilot), changes to the main body behind the cab, which is now only 4 studs wide, and to the fuel tanks. The engine is PF controlled, runs on the LEGO LiPo rechargeable battery, which is in turn charged through power-pickup from the 9V rails using a modified 9V train motor, cf. this EuroBricks topic, PF V2 receiver, and second PF train motor, along with PF head lights. The additional second PF receiver output wired to the rear section may be optionally used to operate a third motor; the GP38 shown above is an example. The color scheme of the 4 studs wide section behind the cab is suffering from the dark/light grey sections of the PF elements; however, I pretty much like the “used look” that results from that though. I never really like the original LEGO design of the body, where the receiver etc. is covered by large plates – to me, it appeared simply too wide for an overall 6 studs wide model. Note: There is an additional PDF which shows the required modifications to pair the SD40-2 with the GP38 shown above 3) Cargo Train (#4512) MOD 1 (engine), 2 (battery car), 3 (box car), 4 (box car type2), whole set LDraw file(s) and PDF instruction(s) The “major” changes to this very classic 9V train are the addition of a PF “battery car” in the same color scheme of the original locomotive and box car, and some undercarriage changes to the latter. There is also a second version of the box car. I really do like the old-dark grey/green color scheme of this train. Fortunately, my father has given me his Sopwith Camel (set #3451) as “brick supply”; this way also the second box car version became reality in the grey/green color scheme. The front section of the locomotive is raised by one plate and the front handrail changed. 4) High Speed Passenger Train (#7897) MOD 1 (engine), 2 (coach A), 3 (coach B), whole set LDraw file(s) and PDF instruction(s) Ages ago the “real,-“ department store close by not necessarily well known for their LEGO set inventory had the RC high speed “ICE” like train set on sale … I got two for very little money. Well, the one-piece front cab of this train (part #55768) has been discussed “controversially” – carefully phrased – but nevertheless, as far as I am concerned, with some modding a more or less decent passenger train resulted from merging the two sets. Everything has become a little “longer”, particularly the coaches. Also, the coaches have discrete plate frames and their trucks are rather heavily modified – based on the design of James Mathis’ Santa Fe cars (sets #10022/#10025). The four additional white 6x8x4 cylinders with flattened upper half (part #45411) required for a train consisting of two engines and three coaches came from two City tank truck sets (set #60016) – I could not get hold of the white cylinders with flattened lower half (part #45410) so the third car has a modified lower section. [Note: Unfortunately the “RC train base” (part #55455c01) is not available as official LDraw part – and I guess it never will be. I simply assembled that part from bricks and plates for the instruction and treated it as part in LPub … no idea how to do it differently. Also the “ugly” front nose is not even an unofficial LDraw part, I found the LDraw.dat file at digital-bricks. Rolling Stock 1) 4 Axle Tank Car MOC LDraw file and PDF instruction The tank design is close to that of the #10016 tank car set; there are some additions to the top section. The frame is made rather conveniently mainly from Technic pieces. 2) 2 Axle Tank Car MOC LDraw file and PDF instruction This is a plain vanilla 2-axle tank car – I guess there were many similar designs posted in this forum. 3) TankTainer Car MOC LDraw file and PDF instruction This one is a result purchasing the #3368 Space Center set – I was looking for the #64448 support/fence part (or whatever it is called) in red for a bridge structure – and these were left overs – as were the (sloped) tank half shells … looks a little weird but this way the car is more or less 6 wide and the tanktainer is easily removable. The frame is again mostly comprised of Technic pieces 4) Flatbed Car MOC LDraw file and PDF instruction The flatbed car is entirely made-up … it started with the four #91176 support parts from the 2011 Red Cargo Train #3677 set – did not know what to do with them … the cargo is – hmmm – cylinders? Had too many of the round 2x2 bricks and round bright green 1x1 plates … 5) Spine Car (with girders) MOC LDraw file and PDF instruction I guess the 5 “Toy Story 3” sets I purchased one after another for €20 each at TrU. No idea why that was, they had them for more than a year somewhat hidden in the “bulk-brick” section and each time I was there I could not resist … lots of bley plates for another bridge and for a rather big train station … but also tons of the 2x2x10 girders … 6) Gondola Car MOC LDraw file and PDF instruction As already mentioned, for the high speed passenger car MOD shown above I needed extra white 6x8x4 cylinders. At that time, the original ICE-type high speed train set was gone for long; the City tank truck set #60016 featured two of these cylinders each though; white with flattened upper half and green with flattened lower half. The white ones were perfect for the passenger cars, the greens were “left overs”. Which brought me to the gondola car – again entirely made up and again with a Technic element frame. 7) Tipper Car MOC LDraw file and PDF instruction This car is the result of eight yellow tipper end sloped pieces (part #3436) from the #4565 Freight & Crane Railway set (which was my first train set after my Dark Ages). For long, I did not know what to do with those. Then I saw tipper cars on BrickShelf, looked them up on the internet and this is the result. I guess they are rather “European” if not “German” … small and compact. The yellow color is not appropriate at all, but that’s how it is. This is it for the moment. Thanks for reading! Regards, Thorsten
  3. Relax, relax ... (non rechargeable) ready-to-go batteries are just that: Chemical energy carriers. I guess (and hope) we are teaching >just that< in any "Thermodynamics" or "Electrochemistry" class. The beauty is the equivalent of chemically stored energy vs. electrically available energy. It is not about "stepping up" or whatever means of manipulating the output characteristics of a battery is coming to mind: There is the first law of thermodynamics and there is the second law. And these leave us with: How do we chemically charge up a system so that we get a maximum of electrons moving downhill. >Within< these limits, we can step up/down (etc.) as we wish. And honestly, we do try to teach exactly this. Well, I do. All the best, Thorsten
  4. Could it also be that we have all a little different taste of humor? Which - in my opinion - is just wonderful! It feels very good to be here. Talking about MOCs, building techniques, ideas, large buildings, entire train worlds, world records, steam punk, the list is endless. And there need to be funny things as well, I believe. I found this post hilarious - thought "YESSSS" tons of 9V compatible metal track - and than this. Spot on!!! I like this kind of humor ... And even further - you never know. When Bricksonwheels keeps making things as big as this EMD SD70 Ace locomotive he presented recently in the Technic Forum (http://www.eurobrick...howtopic=120736), that track may actually come in very handy! And most important I believe is what Stash2Sixx wrote in his very kind reply above: "Not all jokes transfer to everyone else when written out, especially between people of many different nations". And then this and that happens, someone reports something, then someone has to respond, then that irritates other people and then it all goes the wrong way. Have seen this sooo often ... I believe very professional way this is handled (as always on EB) just shows how responsible everyone is. I personally very much appreciate this approach. It makes we want to be here for the future. And now lets have some fun again ... Best wishes, Thorsten
  5. First there were these BRs - and so many beautiful engines. Then you created this yellow UP dream train. And now this. And the 4-wide back section - it gives this beautiful engine the exact right proportion. As always: Masterful! With very best regards, Thorsten
  6. No, you got it absolutely right! Both, PTFE as well as silicone based lubricants work very well without any damage to ABS - the silicone stuff tends to sneak everywhere though, whereas the PTFE stuff remains more local after drying. I would not spray the parts directly but rather spray into a "bucket" like thing and then quickly use a brush to apply the (still) liquid onto the parts. Done that, works fine. Regards, Thorsten
  7. Tony, It may be discouraging seeing these small support numbers on LEGO Ideas - he heck - I truly believe that there are many, many more train folks not only interested in your ideas, builds, projects, efforts, beautiful models - they give it a try. I'd take it from another perspective: Train builders are simply good, smart, and skilled. Seeing your photos may inspire them so much that they take it from there. I believe that photos and instructions(!) is what LEGO train heads get going. And I believe that this is very encouraging. And I believe that you have inspired so many uncountable people with your MOCs - it is unbelievably encouraging. Regards, Thorsten
  8. Good afternoon, I am currently moving LT12V's original LDraw.ldr file (he has generously sent actually years ago) to an mpd version. That way I can then use LPub to generate the instructions using call outs etc., which will make everything much clearer, I believe. That takes some time though, since the building steps need to be rearranged a little. Sorry for the delay, it is all my fault. And thanks for waiting. Best wishes, Thorsten
  9. Good evening, folks. Just to make sure: As of now, 43 replies to this breathtaking train model posted in the Technic forum: http://www.eurobrick...howtopic=120736 As far as I am concerned, this is front page stuff. All the best, Thorsten
  10. Wonderful - simply wonderful. I am using that very train every now and then - efficiently traveling back and forth in the city of Wuppertal/Germany. Thanks a lot for sharing that great MOC! Best wishes, Thorsten
  11. I cannot agree more with this. And I also completely agree with the amount of time that "live" interaction with blog entries, discussions, etc. etc. require. In addition, the (brilliant) magazine must have been an enormous amount of work as well. And: I also truly believe that the instructions section, and the back issues of the magazine will remain a gift to those who like to share their work. Whether or not instruction submission needs to go through an online system is questionable - I always feel a bit more responsible when things are not dumped somewhere, but rather go to a person. Given the amount of instructions published, this process still seems to be a viable approach: Send them to a dedicated email address and then wait patiently but not endlessly for a response. I also believe that a peer review process should provide two independent brief assessments of submitted material, probably return some feedback for improvements to the author before publication and then they are put online. This requires that some people volunteer to review (as many as possible that is) and a (very small) board that assigns the review to the reviewers, collects the reviews, sends them back to the submitter (i.e., "accepted as is" or "please change this and that"). These reviews need not be any kind of elaborate - the work that was submitted so far to RB appears to be of very high quality. What I like so much about the RB instructions is the organization of material: Very simple to locate, just train stuff, no things popping up here and there, just straight navigation to the instructions. Even if "outdated": I think it is still one of the best repositories and means to get nice train and train related instructions. I am not a computer/website guru- none whatsoever, but I am on some editorial boards of research journals - the peer review process works very well and if there is any demand, just let me know. All the best, Thorsten
  12. Phew ... I am thrilled ... That photograph is breathtaking ... LEGO programmable brick (PBrick) history, right there. As Philo and others said: Yes the Spybotic is programmable and it is - in essence - a very powerful PBrick too. The thing is that it does not have any accessible outputs other than the built-in motors, and there is only one mechanical (the built-in touch) sensor. The built-in light sensor(s) are the key thing in this PBrick; as they allow very simple interaction with other Spybotics bricks as well as some sort of orientation sensing. They do speak the same language as the RCX 1.0/1.5/2.0 PBricks (the yellow one in the top row), which is even more exciting. Keep them ... and mostly the top left red one - the prototype MIT/LEGO collaboration brick ... Regards, Thorsten
  13. Happy Holiday Season! Has been quite a while since my last post. Since LT12V has brought it up (see thread somewhere below): I am indeed "working" on instructions of his fabulous BR01. It will take some time though - actually I haven't started, but over Christmas I love to make some progress. We usually spend the time in the middle of nowhere of Northern Germany - with plenty of time. This is unfortunately not the case during everyday's life ... In the mean time, I have assembled 10 or more instructions for some MODs/MOCs I came up with over the years. My question is: Where to put them? I have sincerely tried to get in touch with RAILBRICKS folks - no answer. Nevertheless, I believe that this website is potentially the best repository for this stuff. The entries were reviewed and then they were carefully made publicly available. Is RAILBRICKS definitely dead? Just checked - the front page looks terrible - all sorts of errors are listed - embarrassing - but it is still functioning. Why not throwing out all that time consuming interactive stuff and keep it as that: A repository. Somebody has to take care of the quality of entries. I volunteer to do that. Any updates on theses issues? And: Are there good alternatives to publish >train< and related instructions? All the best, Thorsten
  14. Well, thank you very much for your kind "welcome", LT12V, it's good to be here again!
  15. Good evening, has been some time since I've been here ... Don't worry about the blinking charging light. The LiPo is most probably fully charged. I have the same issues - sometimes - sometimes not. Take the charger off, plug it back in: Same blinking? Or do you get a steady light? As you can see in the chart (initial post) it takes for ever to charge the LiPo with 8V. 10 V is OK, but more is even better. Best regards, Thorsten