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  1. Greetings, Eurobricks! I am proud to introduce you my longest and most complicated project! It took me over 2 months to fix all the technical problems revealed in driving tests. Pathfinder is the universal off-roader built for regular outdoor driving. Features: all wheel drive with remote-control 2-speed gearbox Triangulated 4-link live-axle suspension both at the rear and front Brushless motor 1000 kv, 3S Li-Po, GeekServo, RC LEDs Strong transmission: carbon-fiber axes, metal bearing all around, metal U-joints. Realistic 98 mm RC wheels Underbody protection and custom mudguards Every Boy Dream I guess every Lego boy dreams about technic RC car to play with, at least I did. Since 2014 with a release of a legendary set 9398 Rock Crawler, I wanted to build myself a working and "playable" RC Lego off-roader. I was only fourteen at those days, so it took me a while to save money for a 9398 set. The day of joy turned for me to be the first regret in Lego... I was not satisfied with 9398 performance. I spent a lot of time trying to improve the set, but nether succeeded. Every time I felt the lack of power in my car. At the same time the Lego technic community has been growing in numbers, and many RC Lego off-roaders were shown by technic pioneers. I was inspired the most by Sheepo`s Land rover Defender and RM8`s Toyota Hilux. I decided to build Sheepo`s Defender chassis due to the strict limitation of parts available. Well, that car never moved even with wheels attached. Every time i pushed the gas U-joints in the driveshafts got broken. I guess it was caused by some mistakes I made in the chassis. Anyway, the second regret in RC Lego technic caused me to abandon Lego for 3 years. Time passed and Buwizz brick was presented to the community. It provided more power than the PF battery unit. This bring back my hopes of building and RC car with Lego bricks. My first successful project with a BW2 brick was an RC mod of Chevrolet Corvette. Through the couple of years I upgraded my technic parts collection, which allowed me to try bigger and more ambitious projects. With my RC version Jeep Wrangler the dream come true... A true RC off-roader driven by 4x PF L-motors and powered by BW3 unit provided a good speed and torque. Well, if my goals were achieved with jeep Wrangler, than I should stop my story here... The increased power and speed, revealed another problem: the transmission was struggling from plastic dust and hard outdoor conditions... With my next three project I ensured that there is no pure-Lego solution for this problem. Before going further let me explain the goals I wanted to achieve: Performance over details Efficient and durable transmission protected from dust and axle-wearing Max speed over 8 km/h Rigid chassis, capable to survive big bumps Precise handling (caster angle, proportional steering, physical control) Ground clearance over 3.5 studs, off-road geometric passibility 2-speed remote-control gearbox RC setup adapted to Lego and custom parts It was clear to me that plastic Lego parts would not allow to achieve my goals. The key components that required an upgrade were the wheel hubs and the 5x7 frames which hold differentials. Luckily to me I was not the only person on Earth who had this problems. Few AFOLS in Russia developed their custom wheel hubs and 5x7 frames with metal bearings! I ordered them without asking a price! These parts reinforced the weakest components of Lego cars, which allowed me to build several RC projects, such as: Blue Mamba V2, Wilde Beast and Falcon. This project used not only an improved transmission but also a new RC power and control system, which was able to feed PF motors with a constant stream of power. In fact, the system was so powerful, that PF motors started struggling from over-heating. Since I was in a mood of using custom parts, I get myself a Brushless motor setup adapted to Lego. It was designed by another Russian AFOL: a brushless motor A2212 1000-1200 kv placed in a custom Lego-compatible planetary housing. With a new purely RC electronics I started a new phase of advanced Lego technic engineering. Before challenging myself with a big project I decided to test Brushless motor to see its capabilities. I built a Dragonfly buggy V2 with brushless motor and a Unimog trial truck. Both projects proved the power of a Brushless motor. General layout By gaining experience with a Brushless motor in the Unimog project I decided to build a proper off-roader, which I was dreaming off for many years. Since the brushless motor has the dimensions similar to PF XL motor, I decided to use a classical chassis layout with a steering motor attached to the front axle, Brushless motor placed right behind the dashboard and a battery box in the trunk compartment. My Unimog had a similar layout, so I used it as a reference, though some changes were required. The first and most important change I had in mind was the scale. Since I wanted to drive my SUV outdoors, It should be capable to deal with natural terrain, so It should have a decent ground clearance. This can be achieved with bigger wheels and as a result a bigger scale. The choice of wheels As all of you know, the development of a new car starts with a choice of the wheels, which I have a plenty of. You will joke on me, but a plenty does not mean I have the one I need! Let me explain why. Lego has two most common rim diameters: 1.7 and 2.2 inches in diameter. Unimog used 85 mm RC tires placed onto 1.7 inches rims. Such wheels has a great proportions but they was not big enough for my new project. All bigger wheels were based on 1.7 inch rims. As a result they were disproportionally wide. The two sets of 95 mm RC wheels did not fit the future project as well. I surfed trough the net and found a great set of RC wheels, which you can see now on my Pathfinder. It was another win for me! Transmission Since I wanted to use an RC wheels I had to swap the planetary hubs to to the custom hubs with metal bearings. This swap changed the driving characteristics of a car dramatically as well as caused several crucial problems in transmission. Indeed, planetary hubs took a lot of stress from the transmission away, so I had to reinforce the whole transmission in all possible ways. Firstly, I used the reinforced differentials with 12:28 gear reduction. Further I used carbon fiber axles and metal U-joints. Finally, I used custom parts with metal bearings to divide the transmission from the other car components. This prevent any gear skipping and axle melting. Since I wanted to build a fast SUV but not another crawler, I decided to use open differentials both at the front and rear axles. However, I added an auto-lock system to the rear axle at the beginning of the project, which were removed later for practical purposes. Two drive shafts meet together in the middle transfer box. On the upper end transfer box is connected to the motor through the custom planetary gearbox. Gearbox is remotely controlled and has 1:1 and 1:4 ratios. Transfer box had 24:24 gear combination at first, but after driving tests I decided to slower the car down by putting 20:28 gear reduction instead. It turns out that both planetary gears in the motor and in the gear box require lubrications, otherwise the fast spinning satellites get melted. I learned this lesson in a hard way by having two serious breaks during driving tests. I had to order new parts, that costed me both money and time... Front axle The overall geometry of a front axle was taken from Unimog. I kept the upper suspension 6L links, but changed the lower suspension arms to the brick built one. I still do not understand why, but such combination of links provide a great geometry allowing decent flex angles and a slight positive caster angle (then the suspension get loaded by the weight of a car). At the same time the front axle is well protected from side-to-side wobbling. Reinforced lower suspension links provide a great protection for the front driveshaft. In an unfortunate scenario when springs can not absorb all bump energy, lower links prevent the front axle from being pushed backwards, which saves the driveshaft. The wheel hubs were made specifically for live-axle suspension. In combination with inverted 6L suspension arms they allowed me to build a sturdy and compact front axle. Luckily for me, they fit into the rims of my new wheels perfectly: the pivot point of the wheel sits inside the wheel contact patch. Rear axle Unlike the front axle, the final version of the rear axle differs a lot from the one used in the Unimog. Unimog has a 3-link free-swing rear live-axle, which would not fit a faster SUV with the gravity center moved closer to the rear axle. This was easy to fix by attaching springs to the live-axle itself. The real challenge for me caused the geometry of a rear live-axle. Similar to front axle I wanted to use brick built lower suspension links. I made them few studs longer but the 3-link set up did not work at all! Even without the springs rear axle refused to flex normally. I changed the lower links to the 9L Lego links, which gave me a normal flex angles, but this only revealed another problem. I found that with a 3-link setup the driveshaft moves significantly from side to side as well as changes it`s lengh. This might work for crawlers, but it was totally unacceptible for a fast car, so I had to redesign the rear suspension from scrach. In order to keep the driveshaft from unwanted movements, I made it parallel to the lower suspension links. From one side links have a ball joint and from the other just a regular pin connection. Such construction resists the side-to-side wobbling quite nicely, but uses an admissible plastic deformations to flex (since one end of lower links has a pin connection). The single upper arm was changed to a pair of triangulated links. As a result I achieved a decent geometry of the rear axle. Probably one may ask me why I did not use classical solution for the rear axle, given in Toyota Hilux by RM8? Well, because of scale and my main goals of rigidity. That solution worked greatly for 1:14 scale cars built for indoor trial. As long I was building a bigger car which supposed to achieve higher speeds, I had dial with much higher kinetic energy and thus potential load on suspension and transmission. Thus I had to reinforce the suspension as much as possible as well as reduce any unwanted wobbling. The resulting rear live-axle securely hold the drive shaft and does not cause any load on it. Speed VS off-road capabilities After I finished front and rear axles, I had to choose the spring setup. Lego has a very limited springs variation both in length and hardness. The common solution of this problem is to play with the mounting points. One principle I understood very clearly: the closer springs are attached to the wheels, the better responsibility is achieved. Further, the responsibility of suspension fall down significantly if the springs get attached incorrectly, so they bend with the suspension flex. Further I had to decide how soft I want the spring setup to be. The softer it is the better off-road capabilities, but it does negatively affect overall control and stability on high speed. Since the real SUVs are oriented on the speed and control, I decided to do the same choice. My favourite hard 9.5 L springs come very handy for that. Do not get me wrong, with a proper geometry of the suspension, Pathfinder has a great suspension flex (comparing to the real cars), but it clearly can not compare with mad Rock crawlers. To be honest, I would prefer the springs to be a bit softer (0.8 x current hardness) but Lego does not bother about making good suspension kits. Bodywork My favourite real-live off-roaders are Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero sport, but I did not build their replicas due to the low skills in modelling. The shapes of the car appeared naturally for me. Firstly I found that 15L wheel arches perfectly fit to 98 mm wheels. The only 15L wheel arches I had came from Lego set 42069 Extreme adventurer. One of my old projects came in my mind shortly. Once I tried to build a Purple Pickup with parts from 42069 set. Well, I was not happy enough with the overlook of Purple Pickup, but I modified the front part of it to use if the next project, namely Wilde Beast. Now I wanted to modify the front part once more to fit my current project. I wanted to build the car in purple colour once again, but Lego does not produce many parts in purple. I found a great 3-d party set containing a plenty of purple! Namely this was a Sembo Technique 701028 set. Summary Before saying my verdict I want to mention the driving tests I made for Pathfinder. All the following tests are presented in the video. Max speed test: max speed is about 10.5 km/h Turning radius test: 0.86 m Stability and handling test: I tried to dive between cones in Zig-Zag trajectory on max possible speed. After 10 minutes training I was able to drive it with average speed over 5 km/h. Low speed suspension test: The car did not performed good here, to pass it a softer springs required. High speed suspension test: Suspension absorb high speed bumps greatly. High stair test: Due to off-road geometric passibility and high torque Pathfinder passed the test even with open differentials. Almighty hill test: I tested the maximal backward roll-over angle, and car was capable to climb into 60 degree hill. You might say that crawlers can do better, but come on guys, this not a crawler, but a short wheel base SUV! Multiple driving tests showed that such placement of a motor protects it from dirt and dust. However I made an underbody protection and custom mudguards to protect the transmission and the cockpit of the car. Now I can give you the conclusion: This project costed me a lot of money and time to finish, but at the end I get myself a robust RC Lego car, which is very fun to drive around. With this project I showed to the community what is not possible to achieve with pure Lego bricks.
  2. Hello Eurobricks! A few months passed since I shared with you my creations. Well, I was working hard on two RC projects and now I am proud to introduce you one of them! It is called "Hornet" and it is an Ultimate 4x4 Baja Buggy. Technical specs: 4-wheel drive, open differentials Full independed suspension Brushless motor, 3S Li-Po, GeekServo Custom wheel hubs with metal bearings Carbon-fiber axes, metal U-joints Transmission sits on the metal bearings Positive caster angle, kingpin inclination, Ackerman Anti-rowbar at the front axel 98 mm RC wheels understeering Light tubular frame A story behind the build. Half a year ago I bought myself a Brushless setup adapted to Lego. It can provide a strong and stabled stream of power to my RC Lego cars. In two days after the motor arrived I build a first project with it to test its capabilities. Of course, this was a buggy! The main goal was achieved, I was able to test the new system and it performed greatly! Though I was not happy with the car itself. It had technical problems with both front and rear suspension, steering, overview and proportions... During the winter holidays I found a great set of RC wheels on AliExpress. They looked ten times better then all the other RC wheels I had, so I bought them and at once started a new 4-wheel drive project (which will be revealed in my next post). All I will say now, it has solid axle suspension and no planetary wheel hubs. So it appeared to be quite fast and somewhat unstable due to the soft suspension and high center of gravity. I decided to postpone that project and build a fast and more stable Baja truck with the front in-depended suspension and the solid rear axle. The fist prototype can be seen of the picture below (half-way dismantled) and it looks totally weird, especially the placement of the Brushless motor! With such layout I tried to load the rear wheels, but did not succeeded. Despite a completely failed project, I get two important ideas from it. 1) My custom wheel hubs allows to build an advanced front suspension and steering with king-pin inclination, positive caster angle and Ackerman geometry. Also I learned how to use a half stud off-set for the attachment points of the lower suspension arm. 2) The placement of the Brushless motor behind the rear axle greatly load the rear wheels. I was not ready to give up, and decided go bigger next time and use my favourite 98 mm RC wheels. By widening the wheel base significantly I decided to solve the front wheel drive problem! It is well-know that steering rack is usually interact with a differential. Also the steering rack must be placed behind the front axle to achieve the Ackerman geometry. So I decided to move the front differential one stud to the front. The first sketch of the front axle looked very promising, so I decided to "copy" it for the rear axle. Well, to keep the same wheel base as at the front i needed to use the half-stud off set once again and this time on both lower and upper suspension arms. That is why the rear differential is covered with a mess of connectors and beams... Solving all problems with axles, I connected them together via central driveshaft and had to decide how I should place the Brushless motor. The problem is that the motor has a size of a PF XL motor, and so it requires a 24 to 24 tooth gear combination to connect it to the central driveshaft (and place the motor on a side or on top of the driveshaft). I was not happy with it because big gears would stick out from the flat bottom of the chassis. The brilliant idea came right in time! I decided to place the motor behind the rear axle and place the another driveshaft over the rear differential. This allowed me to use a 12 to 20 tooth gear combination! In addition it loaded the rear axle to achieve the understeering feature. It took me another day to finish up the first prototype, and I took the Buggy to an extensive driving tests. These tests took me over a month to complete, since they were interrupted with a melting of the snow. The following improvements were made (one by one): Reinforcement of the upper suspension arm. First version of the front suspension was falling apart on each big bump. Lowering of the suspension by one stud. This was made to increase the stability on the straight line and make the overview of the buggy closer to references. Also I widened the tubular frame for the same reason. Playing with gear ratios: differential swap and swap from 12:20 to 16:16 gear combination in between the driveshafts. Adding an Anti-rowbar with a carbon-fiber axe to the front axle. It was added to increase the stability on the fast corners. Making 3.5 L axes to solve the problem of the front U-joints falling off from the differential. The results. A tremendous efforts had been applied to finish this Buggy. A lot of hard work, tricky decisions and big regrets... Does the Hornet worth it? - NO! As a result I build myself a balanced RC car with a precise control, decent speed (about 15 km/h), enduring transmission and good-looking bodywork. But I would not suggest anyone to follow my way, because it will cost you a lot! If you want to get a good driving experience you would better buy an RC car! LOL.
  3. Bit reluctant to post this, since this boat is made of a 3D printed hull, the RIBs are made of insulation tubes, the electronics are all RC parts and the motor is a brushless drone motor. NEVERTHELESS ..... It looks like a LEGO boat, don't you think?! And it works great! Happy to share more details if there is interest, happy to remove it, if it's too little LEGO for the forum.
  4. Hello everyone! I want to share with you my Monster truck that I build for an outdoor winter driving. It has a lot things to improve, but even this imperfect build gives a lot of fun! Yes, this post is mostly not about technical aspects, but about the whole concept and the driving experience it gives! Some highlights: All wheel drive and steering Solid axle suspension with permanently locked differentials Planetary wheel hubs Strong transmission with metal U-joints and metal bearings Brushless motor 1000 kv 3S Li-Po for power 2 GeekServo for steering 120 mm RC wheels with great grip Removable body Together big wheels and powerful motor makes this Monster Truck a real beast. It has both torque and a decent speed. Planetary wheel hubs give enough reduction to obtain the precise control of torque (that is rather unusual for Brushless motors). All wheel steering with deferent steering modes (made as an option of my RC transmitter) bring more fun to the driving. It also increases the climbing abilities of the Truck (as it is shown in the video).
  5. Hello everyone! I am glad to introduce you my Mercedes Unimog U4000. I made it last autumn for trial competitions and it became my first successful RC Lego model with Brushless RC motor. Technical aspects: - Brushless RC motor 1000kv with a custom 3D-printed planetary gear. - Custom 3D-prined planetary 2-speed gearbox with remote control (by Geek Servo) gear ratio 1:1 or 1:5 - RC remote control - 3S Li-Po for power - Geek Servo for steering - Transmission with metal bearings - Planetary wheel hubs - 4-link live axe suspension at the front - 3-link live axe suspension at the rear with free articulation - 85 mm RC tires - Light-weight bodywork, total mass is about 1.2 kg I tested this car on various terrain both indoor and outdoor. It reaches about 8 km/h on normal speed and about 1,6 km on low gear. Since the transmission has several reduction gears (made with planetary gears) Brushless motor feels good in this trial car. It gives the truck more power than it will ever need, so the truck can take a significant weight on board (if one change shocks to the hard one). Oscillating real live-axe and grippy tires provide a constant contact with road, so the truck climbs rocks easily both with closed and open differentials. Due to the reference, the gravity center of the truck is moved to the front, so it struggles a bit with going down the hill, but appears to be a great climber. It can beat Lego Zetros both on low and high gear!
  6. For those not afraid to mix LEGO with RC components, you might like this one: iWD4. A 100% LEGO chassis and body, driven by 4 brushless drone motors placed inside the wheel hub. In-wheel drive or independent wheel drive. The result is spectacular. Great speed, great control, and hardly any wear-out, since there aren't many moving parts. The rims are LEGO compatible and 3D printed, the electronics are drone based, steering is done by a LEGO compatible Geek servo. Rest is all LEGO, including suspension and removable body. Please have a look at this short intro video. Happy to share more details.
  7. Finally finished a first version of a LEGO RC Car with 2 in-wheel, brushless motors. While I know some of you hate the combination of RC electronics and LEGO, others enjoy these hybrid models (hence this post). If you are more the purist type and in favour of LEGO only, please skip this. If you like stretching the envelope using (RC) electronics please have look and let me hear your thoughts. While searching for brushless in-wheel motors I ran into the ideal product: Turnigy Multistar 4225-610Kv. It mounts easily onto LEGO (same measurements) and fits almost any 56-rim. The result is spectacular. Great speed, no wear-out, all traction goes to the wheels, no gears necessary. Sadly, it turns out this motor is no longer available (working on an alternative). Car also includes an (adjustable) software differential running on an Arduino Nano, works surprisingly well. When fully applied the car has serious oversteer, when turned to 0 the car has understeer. The body of the car is a 54100 modified boat hull . It took some cutting but ended up nicely. Please have a look at the video here:
  8. Here is my first attempt of building a rc trophy truck: Thanks to @brickosouch for the Inspiration and sharing the stl files for ball bearing lift arms!
  9. This buggy contains a 3600KV brushless motor (2838). It has a pinion made from a LEGO axle and it runs a seriously good working drive-train. Together with the new 42109 differential and a (new?) 2D suspension method it turns out to be a fun car to drive. Please watch a video here. Especially the suspensions are worth having a look. More and more I'm using custom springs to create all sort of applications. Useful and useless. Almost useless is the spring-lock to open the hood. Very useful are the long front springs and the two-dimensional rear springs. Please let me know your comments. No building instructions available yet. If there is a need, let me know.
  10. Chanced upon this video while browsing youtube just now... I'm not in any way promoting the use of 3rd party parts () here (it's individuals' tastes after all), but I thought this video pretty much gives a rough gauge to all of us what pure Lego, when combined with brushless motor (i.e. no lubrication, no bearings, no other metallic 3rd party hobby-grade RC structural/mechanical components), can do... how Lego parts (especially differentials and universal joints) survived at such speed, for a roughly 1 kg model (my own model weighs 3 kg and if I accelerate it hard, the rear-front-middle differential and universal joints will complain)... and the control range to be expected using rc-grade transmitter/receiver. and if the speed claimed is accurate, the 68.8 mm wheels would have to be spinning at close to 6k rpm - depending on weather conditions this is probably the top limit before Lego axles melts (this limit will go down the heavier the model is).
  11. Hi folks, This is not for purists. Contains modified and non-LEGO parts. My urge to build a super fast LEGO RC Car often stopped at the stage where the body needed to be build. Seeing all the great designs on forums like this, it somewhat discouraged me building my own. Besides the fact that these bodies come with some weight and will not hold a crash a higher speeds, I had to come up with something else. As a result of an earlier project (building a fast LEGO boat) a had some damaged LEGO Hulls (54779). Since a car body works basically the same as boat hull (but 180 degrees rotated), I thought I'd give it a try. Have a look at the result in the YT video. It works fine. Gives strength to the car, the aerodynamics work well for good driving stability and it is not that ugly :) Called it The LBOW (Lego Boat On Wheels). Included standard RC components: ESC, brushless motor, 3s Lipo battery, digital steering servo and .... a Gyro. Resulted in a very fast RC Car. Theoretically this should be able to reach 100 km/h. Speed test will follow (need to find a good track first). For those trying to do similar things, I'd strongly recommend to add the Gyroscope to your car. It prevents the car from breaking out at higher speeds. Very useful.
  12. Inspired by Lego's Ferrari 599 and Enzo models, I've created something 'beefier' . Main characteristics: Measurements - 50 cm (L), 25 cm (W) and 15 cm (H). Weighs 2.5 kg. All wheel drive (AWD) with 3 open differentials. Full independent suspension. Steering - KPI, Caster, Progressive Camber, sharp steering up to 40 degrees. Towerpro MG995 Servo. Powered by a brushless 4370KV motor at 9 volts . For fun and laughter .
  13. Hey Guys, In this thread I'll introduce my race/trophy truck It features caster, kpi, long-travel suspension (front independent, rear fixed-axle) with damping, RWD, manually functional LED lights, hood, doors, extendable door steps, and moon-roof. Rather sizeable, at 4kg, and 65 (L) x 31 (W) x 30 (H) studs in dimension. Weight distribution is 50:50. And here's how it looks underneath... There was no modification to LEGO pieces, and no 3D printed parts were used. However, I've opted to use 3rd party components (mainly the electronics) because where I live, TLG does not deliver. There is a local shop selling LEGO stuff, but is often poorly stocked when it comes to Technic/PF components. While I do realise that these won't integrate readily with LEGO Technic pieces, and wiring will be messy, I was willing to give it a shot because they offer better performance and configurability. I started off wanting to include a gearbox (at least semi-auto if possible), camber and ackermann, full independent suspension, 4WD, etc. But as you'll see in due course, I encountered challenges either directly or indirectly due to my use of 3rd party components . I will provide more details about these later on. For now, suffice to say that there is some sort of a dilemma here - With LEGO PF, I can probably incorporate all these features, but I'll end up with something that drives like a tortoise (which defeats the purpose of having these features in the first place). However, with 3rd party electronics, I'm able to drive much faster, but that also resulted in the need to build a stronger model to withstand occasional crashes, and stronger drive-train to handle greater torque, and all these bits and pieces add to the resulting weight and size (don't forget that I need additional pieces to act as 'bracing' for the 3rd party electronics too). More details later on... For now, I've prepared a short video: In subsequent posts (assuming that there is sufficient interests), I will describe the challenges that I've encountered, and how they contributed to my current design decisions. Roughly, I'm thinking of elaborating on these areas: - Steering Axle/Hub Design (including how I incorporated a 3rd party servo) - Drive-train Design (why and how I gear down the brushless motor way before the wheel portals) - Suspension Design (why do i use this part, among other things) - Any other areas that you guys want to know more about...