SNIPE

Beamless Chassis Design?

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

With more and more different types of connectors being released, I was wondering if beams will be replaced by connectors one day in technic car chassis'?.

Therefore to have the function assemblies and the chassis "as one block made out of gears, pins, frames, axles, etc and mostly connectors".

A a result of this, models can be more dense and have more functions.

The actual functions of a lego model are made of connectors, where as the beams are just  a frame to hold these assemblies, however a lot of space is wasted because:

A. The beams can only really go in one direction

B. Are always of off sizes (e.g.: 3L, 11L)

C. Because the holes always only go in the same direction.

With connectors, you can go in any direction, have odd and even hole spacing, and even 0.5L spacing, and have different shapes in 3 dimensions.

The hard part about using only connectors is making it strong enough. Maybe some more connectors and/or pins/axles will need to be introduced before this can be possible but if you imagine something like the 42043s chassis being a big cluster of connectors then it shouldn't actually be that weak. Connectors used structurally are only really weak in simple/small builds.

Note, by beam less, I mean still using small beams "as connectors", where actual connectors can't be used.

Edited by SNIPE
various corrections/clarifications

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Cool concept, I know myself and likely many others, make small vehicles using only connectors and axles. So I am always on the lookout for new types of connectors. 

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I have the idea that connectors are getting less common, not more. Especially in bodywork. Just compare 8448, which consists of lots of connectors, with 42077, whose body consists almost entirely of beams, panels and a few studded bits.

Also, I can't remember that many new pieces being connectors recently. I believe most recent new parts are in other categories:

  • panels
  • pins
  • functional elements (gears, gear racks, driving rings etc.)

The array of pins seems pretty complete now, with most sensible combinations of pin, axle and hole being covered, so I don't expect that many new pins to appear in 2019 and further.

The "holes go in only one direction" problem is of course solved by the 5x7 and 5x11 frames, which has holes in 3 directions (where most connectors give only 2), providing a super strong frame for almost everything with lots of connectivity options. Also, connectors always have a slight spacing offset when used many together, so for gearing housings, frames are spaced exactly right where a frame made of connectors often generates much more friction.

So, no, I think beams are the core of Technic (at least as far as sets go) and will stay that way.

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@Erik Leppen, +1, I agree.  Where you have been filling the gaps with custom printed parts is exactly where I think the gaps are in the Technic element catalog.  We need more and different frame type constructs to give us more options when framing our MOCs .  I use the frames and the panels as structural integrated components, and use connectors to “hang” the fruit of functionality on them.  This makes strong but slightly flexible constructs that are then combined to create whatever I want using beams to hold it all together and aligned.  This is more like unibody construction in the automotive world, and it can be very advantageous to limit weight while improving rigidity yet allowing for some flexibility that can benefit the drive train by not introducing binding due to misalignment or loading stresses.

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Connectors and beams need each other for strong and compact designs.  You can build a strong design out of beams/frames/panels alone, but it won't be compact. You can also build a very compact design out of connectors and axles, but it won't be very strong.  The magic lies in the ability to have beams connected (by connectors of course) in different orientations - this can be done with panels and frames, but is very bulky.

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Simply NO, because with beams (and specially frames 5 X 7 and 5 X 11) construction is much sturdier. Connectors are helpful but not base for building. Allow me to mention just one example - try to make LEGO Unimog U400 axles with beams and not frames :wink:

I can only repeat @Bublehead and write once more @Erik Leppen +1 :thumbup:

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Frames are indeed very useful, in my storage and sorting system I actually have frames in with my connectors instead of with my beams. So I guess I, at least see them more as connectors than beams. Either way I certainly don't see beams going away, if anything they seem to be becoming more common as I see them in many system builds, holding constructs together. 

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Chassis must be the strongest part of a vehicle. And beams offer you enough opportunities to build whatever you want.

Furthermore. I believe we should use old beams where it is possible for chassis.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 10/5/2018 at 7:16 PM, Erik Leppen said:

So, no, I think beams are the core of Technic (at least as far as sets go) and will stay that way.

Completely agree. I can imagine for really small models chassis's can be built from connectors only. In that case the offset problem isn't a real issue and relying on friction locking isn't much of a problem either. But in bigger builds beams are essential to form-locking structures and also essential in providing exact spacings. Both are important in reducing slack and friction, and in preventing slipping in case of structures that support moving parts or gears. To me, it all starts with a good structure and thus with beams and frames.

Edited by Didumos69

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Well for my models I use frames as much as it's possible. Having said that beams are the main connection points to hold the frames together, as for example unimog axles and such. Both types of parts complement each other.

Building a (larger) model/chasis without beams is almost impossible, since you need something to hold together your frames/conenctors.

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Without the beams, I think you would have a lot of kids who would never finish a model.  The build would become so tedious that they would just give up.

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On 10/6/2018 at 2:48 AM, Yevhen said:

Chassis must be the strongest part of a vehicle. And beams offer you enough opportunities to build whatever you want.

Furthermore. I believe we should use old beams where it is possible for chassis.

 

i'm agree with this, some time ago i made an studded chassis using some brick beams and plates to hold them together, it was 9 studs wide, 50 studs long and about 6 plates tall, the shock absorbers were placed about 35-40 studs apart and the chassis came up to be very strong and robust, and even more compact than a chassis made only of technic beams, and depending of how it is built it can still give a lot of torsional flexibility or stiffness, depending of the need

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Posted (edited)
On 10/7/2018 at 12:18 AM, trekman said:

Without the beams, I think you would have a lot of kids who would never finish a model.  The build would become so tedious that they would just give up.

Very good point, however I was refering to MOCs really though forgot to mention.

Edited by SNIPE

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