[TC16] Mobile Power Station

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It's been quite a while since I've last posted a model. I'm a pretty slow builder now due to lack of time and when I eventually finish a MOC, I need to record and edit a video, which I'm not keen on, so I end up not publishing the builds (the video for this model is also as simple as it gets). I had a lot time now thanks to the summer break and this contest's theme inspired me to build this model. I'm really satisfied with it.


Here is the complete photo gallery: https://bricksafe.com/pages/kubic5/mars

It is a concept of a vehicle that could carry a set of trailers with retractable outriggers and big solar panels (or at least with better solar panels efficiency than we currently have). My original idea was to create a drilling machine with 4 legs (similar to set 7649) and I've actually spent about 2 weeks trying to make it work with different sizes and shapes of legs, but it was a failure. The problem with it was that I was unable to fit in actuators and their drives or even linkages while maintaining a relatively small to medium scale. It works well for a system model with friction joints, but not in Technic when  you actually want to make it work. I had to abandon that project completely.

What is left of it is the idea to have some sort of legs, which in this case turned into complex two-stage outriggers. This is actually how I can describe this model - as needlessly complex, but really fun.

Here is the inside of the main module. Almost all space in the top half has been used, it was changed countless times in LDD to have the best rigidity and part efficiency. From the very beginning I was planning on building two identical modules and a tractor vehicle, so I optimized the part usage to consist of popular and easy to get parts. It is designed on the base of a rectangle to allow for easy transportation to Mars.


The functions are:

-both movements of the outriggers, controlled via an M-Motor with a gearbox

-turning the turntable

-raising the solar panels

-extending the panels

-joints with freedom of movement between the cars

As you can probably tell, the most complex function are the outriggers, especially their sideways extension. It could have probably been done with 4 small actuators, but where's the fun in that? It would end up as another boring model with no technical novelties. Also, I would need to buy a lot of parts and I prefer working with what I have. That is why I went for a linkage solution. This is the part of the model that I'm most proud of, because there were so many difficulties to overcome. It's taken me 2 weeks to build a foolproof version. It couldn't have almost any backlash while only moving 45 degrees, stopping at both ends and still being synchronised. In the model there's still quite a bit of backlash, but all of it comes from the very last gearing stage. Actuators mounted in those exact spots with such gearing provide a perfect 45 deg. movement of the liftarms.

It would have been to simple to just put 2 knobs next to the functions, so I went for a distribution gearbox. I had just enough space for it, the challenge was routing the drive to the previous function. I managed to open up enough space to do it, but it wasn't easy. The up-down movement of outriggers was much simpler to do, the biggest concern was to ensure that all 4 u-joints would always end up at right angles relative to the model, to be able to retract the outrigger arms.


The two movements of the solar panels were relatively easy to build, I just made use of the space I had and sometimes had to go for some more unusual solutions. Their extension via a scissor mechanism required a bit more thought and planning, but works really smoothly thanks to the rubber band. I don't think there's much to explain here. The lifting function has two different knobs for easier access.

The model was designed to be as rigid as possible. The front car is a bit more fragile, because I didn't have enough time for it (hence the questionable looks), but the chassis is still strong. The modules, though - I'm almost unable to bend them and you can easily pick up the complete "train" by a single trailer coupling. It has around 3000 pieces in total and weighs 3kg.


The tractor vehicle is much simpler. I was left with a week till deadline and no working design for it. I went for a simple chassis, although it has some interesting connections. The cab is a modified version from my excavator, because I felt like it worked well for a futuristic design. There are no functions here that are nearly as complex as in the other module, but I still wanted to do something unusual. I managed to make two gear racks a structural element of the vehicle and was first planning to put a crane on them, but later decided it would have been too boring. I freed up some space at the bottom and fit a hook interchangeable with the standard coupling. The mechanism is secured with a worm gear. There is also a simple winch at the top and the front panel has a simple way of opening it to be able to disconnect the wires. The cargo bay can also house 22 battery cells to transfer energy from stationary modules. The operator would leave a module somewhere, extend the outriggers, adjust solar panels and later come back to gather the energy into the cells.


 Although I was really tight on time with this one and that's why I didn't create a discussion topic earlier (I didn't know if I was gonna finish), it was a fun build and I really appreciated the contest. Good luck to other participants!


Edited by kubic

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15 hours ago, ArsMan064 said:

Wow, that's awesome!


14 hours ago, Horace T said:

Very creative. A great idea!


Thank you both! I've added an LDD file to the photo gallery (here).

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With a cool model like this, you don't need to worry about a proper video :wink: 

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10 minutes ago, Jim said:

With a cool model like this, you don't need to worry about a proper video :wink: 

Oh thank you Jim :classic: If it weren't for the lack of time I would have probably done a better video. I still have VEGAS lying around but no time to learn how to use it :wink:

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By the way; I watched your video. Nothing wrong with it :thumbup:

Life's too short to edit videos :laugh:

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Hello everyone,

Since I've received such amazing feedback on my model, I'm willing to create photo instructions for it if there are people interested in them. I'd charge a small fee. Please let me know if I should do them, because it takes a lot of time :wink:

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