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About Sphexish

  • Birthday 03/15/1981

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    The Netherlands

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  1. Lights are finally all hooked up. Phew. Headlights: Rear lights: Flashing beacons and roof lights (didn't know what else to do with the secondary PF lights): Front blinking turn signals: Rear blinking turn signal: I'll take some more close-up shots of the (nightmarish) wiring once the light is better (read: my camera sucks).
  2. Ow. My brain hurts. In accordance with the laws of entropy the pile of PF lights and extension cables had somehow managed to get tangled up into a Gordian knot overnight, and honestly, once I'd untangled them and tried attaching them to the Arocs and the SBricks in their proper places, things didn't really feel like they were getting much more organized! I started modding the rear bumper to cover up the various LEDs sticking out the back of it a bit better. You can also see that I routed the first set of cables: the ones for the main lights. It took quite a bit of head-scratching, partial disassembly, and occasional swearing before I finally found a way to get the cable from the rear lights all the way over to the SBrick in front. Using only a 20cm extension cable, and in a way that actually allowed me to attach the PF-light brick and connector to the chassis in a neat and orderly fashion, I mean. The solution below probably won't win any awards, given that I could find a way to make it go underneath the chassis, but it's pretty firm and out of the way regardless: (Technic pins 1/2 were my friend, here, as well as a small 1 x 4 black tile to hold the stack of PF connectors in place.) And here's the second SBrick (to be tucked away neatly underneath the battery box): Yeah, once it's all hooked up it's going to be a right mess of cables up in there... My next challenge is to hook up the rear blinkers. At least, for those, I have two 50cm extension cables available -- although, come to think of it, more cable probably means more headaches... (mo cables mo problems, as they say). Thanks. I'm trying.
  3. I'm back. </schwarzenegger> After playing around with the SBrick profile designer for a bit I now know what is and isn't possible. Automated turn signals and brake lights do not appear to be currently possible, so I'm settling for manual control of these lights for the moment. I looked into both LifeLites and Brickstuff, but neither currently appears to be compatible with Lego remote controls. So I decided I'd be going for a bunch of Power Functions lights instead. I was also going to be needing a second SBrick to control everything -- that much was certain. This is the current state of things: It took a bit of additional fiddling, but now everything finally fits together, and the crane can rotate freely. Because my tipping bed was moved back a bit, I felt it stuck out a bit too much, so I modified the back of it a bit, just for looks: I'm finding the 2x2 special plates with pinholes really convenient to pin (stacked) PF connectors to the chassis: After this, I built the cab of the truck and the front and back bumper, and began to experiment with PF Lights to see how I needed to modify things to allow them to actually illuminate the front lights, blinkers, etc. It soon became obvious that, next to a metric posterior-ton of PF lights, I was going to need a variety of transparent bricks to try and make everything work. So I bricklinked a bunch of those, along with a total of 8 PF lights and a bunch of extension cords directly from TLG themselves: Now to figure out where to best place the second SBrick (which still hasn't come in yet), and figure out where the heck I'm going to stuff all these cables! The end goal in terms of lighting is going to be: RC headlights and rear lights RC blinkers left / right, at both the front and the rear RC flashing beacon lights
  4. That depends on your definition of 'great,' I suppose. It's mostly a bunch of trial-and-error and half-assed solutions, if you ask me! But thanks all the same. Thanks! I'm trying to stay faithful to the original model while simultaneously making it as fun and playable as possible in combination with the SBrick. Speaking of which: I'm now actually thinking of getting a second SBrick for the Arocs to control a bunch of PF lights. The latest update to the software, with the advanced sequences, opens up a lot of possibilities. I just messed around in the profile designer a little and managed to make the orange beacon lights up top flash in alteration with the press of a single button, making for a pretty convincing effect. I also figured out how to combine a button and a slider to get a sort of simulation of a Lego IR speed control remote - an incremental control alongside a button that instantly stops it. I really needed this because when you want to active the pneumatic pump on the Arocs you don't really want to have to keep holding the slider in the 'on' position for it to keep pumping. But if you set it up not to automatically snap back to 'zero' you get the problem of how hard it is to manually reset it back to 'zero.' I'm thinking of going for the same set-up for the acceleration. With that out of the way, I'm now trying to see if it will also allow me to approach something like a turn signal. Creating a blinking light is a cinch, but I'm hoping I can actually link it to the steering. And while I'm at it, maybe also link another set of lights to the 'brake' button. Other things I'm working on: Trying to keep the tipper bed from interfering with the crane rotation gear beneath it Implementing a version of Efferman's brilliant automatic tailgate lock, which seems like an obvious feature to add given the possibility of RC dumping Moving the crane back a bit more Seeing if maybe it'd be possible to automate the opening of the cabin - either with a PF motor or, better yet, additional pneumatic rams. Because it'd be awesome.
  5. The sad saga continues... Since I'm stubborn and really wanted to mount the SBrick in the back of the cabin -- for aesthetic reasons and ease of access -- I wanted to place the pneumatic crane back a few studs, and, as such, had to completely redo the gearing for the crane rotation so that it didn't get in the way of the pneumatic tubes. This was because, with the L-motor where it was, I couldn't just shorten the existing drive-train. I eventually ended up with this: Now, I could already see the next problem arising, so I decided to construct the tipping bed next. And once it was finished, lo and behold, I had been right: it wanted to sit flush with the red base of the crane, so now it collided with the light-bley gears I added in front. *table-flip* Side-note: at times like these, you really have to appreciate just how ingenious, densely packed, and precisely designed these models are. You don't really appreciate it fully when you're just following along with the instructions, particularly when you're hurrying along, but once you try to deviate from the plan you often find out exactly why the designer did something in such-and-such way, and how hard it is to come up with alternatives. So, I could've given up at this point, but instead I escalated and just shortened the tipping bed so that it would fit. Ha! In your face, Legoes! Of course, that also meant I had to move around the mounting brackets around a bit: Oh, and lest I forget, I also had an epiphany regarding the L-motor for the drive. Being secured with only two black pins, it kept getting loose a little every time I handled the truck, but by bracing it against horizontal movement a bit more like below that seems to have be ameliorated. And without sacrificing the necessary play in the suspension, to boot! Anyway, the next step is going to be to finish up the tipping bed, put all the elements together, wire everything up again, and then test it. I'm planning on creating a custom SBrick profile so that I can lose some of the superfluous controls in the official 42043 profile and tweak the way the joystick works. Hopefully, this will allow me to solve the steering issue and perhaps artificially slow the drive-motor down a little bit. And then it's on to the cabin and the lighting! I'll keep y'all posted!
  6. Small update: I've hit a bit of a snag. I finished the crane but, as predicted, I am, in fact, a massive idiot. The SBrick got in the way of its rotation. Naturally. So, in all my infinite non-wisdom, I brazenly decided to just try to move the crane one stud back, since that would provide enough room for the crane to rotate freely. I didn't think it'd be too big of a hassle, since I essentially moved the gearbox section one stud back already, which meant I had room to spare in that direction. What I didn't take into account was the way the drive-train from the gearbox to the turntable loops back around beneath the crane, which is already a tight fit with all the tubing down there. And therein lay the rub: I couldn't move the tan 20-tooth double-bevel gear / black gear combo underneath the crane one stud back because the L-motor got in the way! So now I'm trying to figure out a way to make this work.
  7. Whelp, my Bricklink order came in the other day, so I could finally continue with the build and integrate the Servo motor. First I satisfied my pseudo-OCD-like tendencies by sorting and neatly laying out all the parts I knew I'd need. This would also make it easier to follow along live with the video tutorial. Totally worth the curious sidelong glances from the missus as I painstakingly made sure the various axles were properly aligned, in other words. :) Note that these are actually more parts than were strictly needed for this assembly: I ordered a few extras of some parts (most notably the axle-3's and the light bley connectors), just in case. (If anyone needs me to compile a convenient list of strictly the additional parts needed for this MOD, let me know.) Anyway, here's what I ended up with in the end: Now I just had to figure out how to properly attach it to the shocks and other connectors underneath the truck -- this was kind of hard to see in the video, but eventually I figured it out. With the spare light-bley axle-3's I'd ordered I was finally able to finish the arches for the rear wheels (given that TLG had mistakenly put a black axle-4 in the bag instead), and with the handy-dandy extra PF extension cable I was able to successfully hook up the drive L-motor to the SBrick up front. Then I spent a little while tucking away all those pesky cables as much as AFOL-y possible, et voilĂ : Then, of course, I took it for a spin so as to enjoy the fruits of my minutes-long labor. My conclusions were as follows: It still goes straight to Ludicrous Speed, skipping right past lightspeed and very nearly going to plaid. The steering, as hoped, was a lot more snappy and responsive like this, and reliably returned to center! Yay! But whenever I turned the wheels all the way, there was a noticeable creaking sound. Boo. I'll report back once I've found what might be causing this... Other things to consider: I'm actually beginning to doubt whether the SBrick placement is going to work like this now. I guess I'll find out when the time comes to attach the crane I'm seriously considering investing in another 8878 rechargeable battery box for this beast, since my kids have already made it abundantly clear that it's going to be racing around the room practically non-stop, dumping PlayMais willy-nilly. The Mobile Crane is enough of a battery-guzzler as it is... I'm getting more and more interested in outfitting the Arocs with some decent lightning -- something I pretty much neglected entirely during my previous builds. Especially after stumbling across a video like this one:
  8. Weird... Thus far, I've noticed two missing pieces during the build of my 42043 set. Or incorrect pieces, I should rather say: a Dark Bley Axle 4 with stop that was supposed to be a Dark Tan Axle 5 with stop in the number 1 bags, and now, in bag 3, a light bley axle 3 appears to have been mysteriously transmogrified into a black axle 4. It's getting to be rather frustrating!
  9. Thanks! It's interesting to hear how many different types of solutions are out there. I briefly considered trying to use an XL for drive instead -- since it seemed to work pretty well in the U42009 -- but since pretty much all the tutorial videos and SBrick community videos I found were using an L-motor I ended up deciding to play it safe and jumped on the bandwagon. I'm not experienced enough with the various types of motors to really say which one works best in which scenario... It just seemed much easier to fit an L-motor at the bottom of the chassis, as opposed to an XL. How is the XL performing in your setup? (Not destroying everything, as it is known to do, I hope?) During my one test-run the L-motor in this configuration was practically a bat out of hell, which made me regret my decision a little. Also, do you happen to have a picture of your servo-motor placement available somewhere? It's not really an option for me I'm guessing, since I'm definitely keeping the piston engine, but I'm curious to see how you integrated it back there.
  10. Greetings! After coming out of my Dark Ages and tackling both the excellent Ultimate 8043 & 42009 (see below) designed by Jurgen Krooshoop, I was hungry for another Lego Technic challenge. But I felt rather lost at this point: without a large collection of loose Technic pieces at my beck and call, motorized MOCs which weren't heavily based on existing Lego sets would require some hefty Bricklink investments from my part. Fortunately, a fifteen-percent-off-everything anniversary sale at a local toy store with an expansive Lego section made the choice for my next project a lot simpler: they had the 42043 Arocs set that had already been calling out to my wallet since way back in oh-fifteen. They also had a certain little gizmo called an SBrick in stock, which I had heard quite a few things about. My previous builds had involved standard PF receivers and remotes, so it seemed like an interesting new challenge to incorporate this new-fangled blue-toothed thing-a-ma-jig into my already-slightly-more-challenging attempt at "RC-afying" the Mercedes. I'm already a little way into the project, but I've already made a few false starts and moronic missteps, so I figured it might be educational for others to document my frantic flailing about experiences, so that they might avoid my (myriad) mistakes. The first thing I did, of course, was to order the necessary PF components: a Servo Motor, an L-Motor, an 20cm extension cable, and a couple of PF lights. In hindsight, this already turned out to be my first mistake: I hadn't done my research properly and hadn't realized that the SBrick requires an extension cable to be hooked up to a battery box. This meant I was probably going to be one cable short, since I didn't think the cable for the L-motor used for drive would reach. While I waited for these crucial parts to be delivered, I began preliminary work on the Arocs proper. After completing most of bags 1 to 3, I had three loosely connected main sections of the truck - the cabin housing the 6-cilinder engine and the L-motor that came with the set, the gearbox with the outriggers, and the rear section with the dumping bed and the differentials. In my mind, I could already see a problem arising: there was a drivetrain going from the rear wheels all the way to the engine in the front of the truck, which would obviously make the pistons move as you move the truck along. I already guessed I would be severing this connection by remove the driveshaft with the CV joint and attaching an L-motor in the center somewhere. Which would render the engine, the drivetrain, etc. utterly useless. This was not acceptable - not in the last place because my kids had unanimously decided that seeing the pistons in my 42009 mobile crane move was officially The Coolest Thing Ever™. So I fiddled about a bit before connection these three main sections, and eventually came up with this: Might be a bit hard to see, but... Basically, I placed an additional small gear directly in-between the L-motor and the gearbox, which allows it to power the axles and gears connected to the piston engine when in use. So, it wouldn't be connected to the drive anymore, but at least there could be some motorized eye-candy when one swung back the cabin and fired up the main engine. It wasn't long before my motors and such arrived, so the first I tried to accomplish was to connect the L-motor for the drive somewhere. One nifty solution I'd found involved replacing the engine in the front and using the long drive-train to power the rear wheels -- a technique I thoroughly rejected for several reasons: It seemed inefficient, and COOLEST. THING. EVER. So I figured I'd just bolt the bloody thing directly to the rear diff, as I'd also seen in this fascinating and classically scored tutorial vid by RC-master PPUNG daddy: It didn't sit right with me to just attach the motor with two pins like that though, so I have attempted to support it a little bit better without messing up the way the rear suspension works too much. Right now, it looks something like this: Not exactly perfect, but it seems to work well enough, even when I give the suspension a bit of a work-out. Next came the steering. My first attempt was based on this extremely helpful Youtube video by yu shine: Basically, this involved just connecting the Servo directly to the standard HOG steering mechanism for the Arocs, just below the two orange lights-slash-knobs at the top which you're supposed to turn. It seemed the most simple and elegant and -- being but a simple soul -- this naturally appealed to me greatly. It also didn't require the purchase of any additional parts, and left the mechanically unique way the steering on the Arocs model works intact. At this point I was able to put together a sort of prototype for the RC driving, by dangling the SBrick from the battery box and just hooking everything up in a makeshift manner. After installing the app, setting up the official 42043S profile, and playing around with my handiwork for a bit, I discovered the following issues: The L-motor was supplying quite a bit of power, making the truck actually pretty hard to control. Of course, there was a lot of weight left to be added at this point, so I was willing to reserve judgement for the time being, but given that my kids no doubt want to play around with this thing as well it'd be nice if I could prevent them from semi-accidentally ramming a massive Lego vehicle into, well, practically everything. Not sure how I could address though, other than from the software side. Placing the Servo motor where it was, behind the battery box, didn't actually fit all that well. The battery box itself actually pushed up against the servo when inserted, bending it back by at least a stud, which also frustrated my attempts to secure it in place a bit further. The steering was a bit... inadequate. The problems regarding the steering I recalled Sariel already mentioning in were only exacerbated here. It felt imprecise and rather unresponsive, and it didn't help that there was quite a bit of play in the wheels even with the Servo hooked up, meaning they weren't necessarily centered even when it was. So in the end, I stripped the away the steering mechanism and the wheels up front until I was left with this: After that, I decided to pony up and order the parts which -- after careful visual inspection of PPung's tutorial -- I figured I'd still need to mount the servo at the bottom, between the two sets of front wheels. So, mostly a set of gear racks and gears, in addition to some beams and various connectors used for bracing. This also gave me the chance to simultaneously order an extra extension cable from the same supplier, since it was pretty clear I was going to be needing it if I wanted to have any hope of hooking up the drive motor to the SBrick up front. And now, we wait... Although, to pass the time, I busied myself with rebuilding the back of the cabin, which I had previously taken apart to place the servo motor. I didn't need all the gears used for the steering mechanism, of course, and I figured I'd be better off trying to mount the SBrick in this space instead. For the moment, I came up with the following: I did notice the two black Technic pins still sticking out back there, and peeking ahead in the manual revealed that these will be used to help brace the pneumatic crane, once the time comes to attach that beast. As far as I can tell, that should still be possible even with the SBrick where it is, but no doubt I'll have screwed up somehow. We'll find out in the next update, hopefully! (Assuming, quite optimistically, that there is actual interest in such a thing. )
  11. Sphexish

    Hey-Diddly-Ho, AFOL-eenos!

  12. So. Well, uh... (awkward pause) Hi! My name is Leon -- a programmer/nerd from the Netherlands, as well as a proud father of two -- and I'm a Legoholic. (Or I would have been, if my proverbial "Dark Ages" hadn't lasted for quite as long as they have!) I've only recently rediscovered my passion for, as the recent movie so aptly put it, this highly sophisticated system of interlocking bricks. Back in the day I used to try to build all the spaceships and robots and cars that tempted me from the shelves of the toy store myself, since there was no way I could ever afford them. Of course, that meant I couldn't afford large Lego sets either -- but I made due with loose, second-hand parts procured on flea markets and the like. But now, aided and abetted by my wife and blessed with a bit more financial means, I have already erected several modular buildings and Simpsons sets for my oldest daughter to play with. Plus, recently, I have also rekindled my passion for the inner workings of complex machinery via Lego Technic. All of this inexorably led me here. So now, I'm afraid, you lot are stuck with me. Sorry!