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MOC: Working Hopper


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#1 Matt Dawson

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 03:07 PM

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Back in 1981, Lego released a 4.5V Ideas book for their train system. This book was full of ideas, instructions, and layouts that would provide an extra interest in operation or an inspiration, though more likely a request for more lego train sets...

In pages 8 to 13, the ideas book showed a diorama, with instructions for a operating hopper, unloading platform, and loading dock with conveyer belt loading system fed by hopper, complete with crane. Pages 10 and 11, with the instructions for the unloading platform and hopper car, can be found here (please note that these images were copied from peeron to flikr to reduce the load on Peeron).

***Please bear in mind these photos were taken at 8 o'clock at night and so were taken under artificial light. My apologies.***

There is a video showing how it works here.

The photos shown below show what happens when the hopper unloads:
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The rake moves towards the unloading actuator...

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...the hopper starts to tip...

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...nearly all the contents are emptied at 90% tilt....

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...and all contents are gone when the hopper bin is tilted to the full 100 (or so) degrees.

Please bear in mind that this is the mk1 design, and the mk2 is in development. The main problems with the hopper are:
> Length (1). The mk2 features wheelsets 8 studs apart, and a squeeking sound can be heard from the track on curves. A bogie version might avoid this problem...
> Length (2). The hopper overhangs the buffers at both ends (though one more than the other).
> Parts. The hopper requires a few rarer parts not produced nowadays, though as so many of these parts were produced, this isn't too much of a problem.
> Tilting resistance. As you may have noticed, I has put parts on the technic pins which hold the hopper bin to the underframe. This was in a bid to introduce friction so the hopper body wouldn't return to normal position straight after tipping.

Lets hope V2 will be making it to Flikr soon!
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#2 Big Cam

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:21 PM

Very nice, too bad TLG doesn't do stuff like this today.

#3 lightningtiger

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 10:41 PM

Very interesting idea, maybe with PF we can again do the awesome train accessories that once was Lego Trains ! :sweet:
Maybe some with heaps of PF gear can MOC something like this up ! :wink:
Keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#4 TheBrickster

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 02:18 AM

Nice job on this Matt.  I think one has to watch the video to appreciate what this little hopper can do.  It's neat to see creations from old idea books.  Thanks for sharing.

#5 Captain Zuloo

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 08:07 AM

That's really clever! But maybe for realism sake (as realistic as you can get with big cogs sticking out of your wagon :tongue: ) you could tile the outside of the container in red? But on the whole, nicely done. And as TheBrickster said, it's brilliant to see the video as well. :classic:

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#6 Commander Red Hat

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 03:23 PM

That's a really cool idea!
Just imagine a loading station and then a bit further down the line an unload station like this...  :cry_happy:
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#7 vgo

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:34 AM

7777 has lot's of cool stuff in it, they are too rarely seen posted anywhere, though.

#8 Mark Bellis

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:58 PM

Before I started exhibiting LEGO trains I decided to try making a more realistic hopper but using a similar unloading technique.

I had the 24-tooth contrate wheel turn an axle with a crank that withdrew a sliding axle from the centre of a fixed hopper, allowing balls to flow out of the chutes on both sides of the wagon.  A similar axle withdrew from the other end at the same time, requiring two contrate wheels to run on two racks on opposite sides of the track.  I used the 6x16 locomotive base (which has a 4x10 hole in the middle for a motor).  This allowed the balls to glow through the hole and be diverted to either side by a ridge roof tile.  The axles slide just below the base and could exit at either end, just above the coupling pivots.  The hoppers approximated the BR "Trout" hopper that has doors on either side but not in the middle.

One thing with the 7777 hoppers is that the couplings may detach because of the axial load of the cogs running on the racks.  This was the same with my "Trout" hoppers.

More recently I built some Railtrack hoppers whose doors are controllable to open one side at a time.  This time it's a lever that opens them, so this requires a device to rise from the trackbed to lift the lever.  The hoppers each hold 1400 1x1 round plates and will discharge reliably to either side, allowing me to build a loading and unloading facility.

I have also toyed with the Merry-go-round system used by UK coal trains since the 1960s.  This system has a lever for each set of hopper doors.  A pin on the end of the lever runs in a track as the wagon is pulled forwards at 0.5mph.  The track moves up and down along its length, raising and lowering the pin and turning the lever, causing the hopper doors to open and close at the right places.  I didn't get very far with this because of fitting the mechanisms for 3 sets of hopper doors into a limited length of 4-wheel wagon.

Trackside actuation of hopper doors is a great theme to work with but it all started with the 7777 hoppers!

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#9 paul_delahaye

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 09:59 PM

That train ideas book from the 80's had some wonderful train ideas, I always loved the car loading ramp and the circus train idea!

#10 soc399

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 01:43 AM

Thanks for the pics and video, Matt.  It is great to see automated functions in Lego train cars, and seeing Mark Bellis's version of an unloading hopper is really inspiring.

#11 Matt Dawson

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 11:08 PM

Version two is more-or-less complete, and I will be showing it soon - as soon as I get a good day to photograph it (my jobs in the way...). Details are:

> Bogie design to allow extended hopper body.
> Revised mechanism, with possibility for full tipping and re-setting without reversing direction
> Now 6-wide body

Please also note one major point:
Whatever the width of the train (6, 7, 8 etc.) allowances have to be made for handrails, steps and other sticking out detail. The only way to avoid this would be a one-way system.
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#12 Lego Amaryl

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 12:31 AM

View PostMatt Dawson, on Mar 10 2010, 12:08 AM, said:

Version two is more-or-less complete, and I will be showing it soon - as soon as I get a good day to photograph it (my jobs in the way...).

I'm very curious about the second version!

Just some months ago I built that layout from the Trains Idea Book:
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Edited by Lego Amaryl, 10 March 2010 - 12:33 AM.


#13 Matt Dawson

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:21 PM

I know it's been a long time, but I have finally taken pictures, and the new version will be showing up soon...
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#14 Younge

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:41 AM

View PostMatt Dawson, on 29 March 2010 - 01:21 PM, said:

I know it's been a long time, but I have finally taken pictures, and the new version will be showing up soon...

Matt,

What ever happened to this? I would love to see some pics of your Mk II version.
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#15 JopieK

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 05:19 PM

I don't think these are hoppers however (although I like the concept ;), 7777 is a nice idea book indeed!)

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Hopper_car

This type of car is distinguished from a gondola car in that it has opening doors on the underside or on the sides to discharge its cargo. The development of the hopper car went along with the development of automated handling of such commodities, with automated loading and unloading facilities. There are two main types of hopper car: open and covered.


These would be called a "side dumper gondola" I guess:
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#16 Younge

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:13 AM

[quote name='JopieK' date='24 April 2012 - 04:19 AM' timestamp='1335197997' post='1263697']
I don't think these are hoppers however (although I like the concept ;), 7777 is a nice idea book indeed!)

I see your point, JopieK. These are definitely "gondolas" as opposed to "hoppers". I never really worried about the distinction, but it's definitely there.

At the end of the day though, they're still a great way to offload some cargo!!!
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#17 JopieK

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:33 PM

well, we need to be professional of course ;) otherwise our model railroad fans might laugh at us, we don't want that of course!

and we can learn from that of course, I was wondering about the name by the way, that is why I looked it up...

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