Hybrid Rescue Tank Cockpit Redesign

I have finished the first attempt at redesigning the cockpit of the tank vehicle of the LEGO Exo-Force 8118 Hybrid Rescue Tank. As I mentioned the other day, the existing cockpit design seemed pretty badly done and so I went ahead and tried to improve it. I’m still not entirely happy with the results yet, but I think it’s a fairly big improvement. There is now a rear wall behind the pilot, the canopy is more conventionally situated and provides actual protection for the pilot, there are actual control surfaces instead of a blank tile, and I think it just looks a bit better.

The mechanical linkage between the left upper track hub and the gatling gun is unfortunately still visible in the new design, but not nearly as much as it was in the original.

Here is the original design from the instructions:
Somewhat unfortunately designed cockpit

Here is my design:
2008-04-26 002

Close-up view:
2008-04-26 003

Front view:
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With the canopy opened:
2008-04-26 005

The thing I am least happy with currently is that the movement opening the canopy is fairly stiff and can only really be done by using the small clip to the right. Originally I had used two 1×2 free-spinning axle blocks but moved to fixed axle blocks when the canopy would flop open simply by looking at it. The fixed axle blocks mean that the rotation is happening in the pins used at the ends of the axles and aren’t really designed to turn easily. Ideally I want to put a control on the body opposite the turret spin control that will open and close the canopy. I’m going to have to rework the motion on that front axle before that will be really possible though.

Next step is to fill the gaping cavity behind the cockpit. The initial idea is to use the V6 motor parts from the LEGO Technic 8421 Mobile Crane that I got a few years ago but I will have to see how well it fits the space.

LEGO Build: Technic Road Bike

So I was inspired to build a fairly neat looking bike this morning while playing with LEGOs with my girlfriend’s kids. There was a set of interesting balloon tires (43.2 x 28 Balloon Small according to the LDRAW parts list) near the top of the bin and they obviously needed to be put onto a motorcycle of some sort.

Technic Road Bike

The original intention had been to make the bike primarily out of Bionicle parts, but the scale just wasn’t working out. I might be able to pull it off with the much larger wheels I have in my Technic parts at home, but not with these. The build went relatively quickly, even with a couple of tricky angles and I decided to finally take a crack at one of the LEGO CAD systems to record the design for posterity. Or just in case one of the kids asked me to rebuild it again someday after they took it apart. Looking around it seemed that LeoCAD and MLCAD where the most recommended packages to sit on LDRAW, so I tried both of them out. Of the two I can say that for me LeoCAD is by far the superior package. Where I was was futzing with MLCAD for 45min just trying to locate the parts that I wanted and manage to get them put together, within 10min in LeoCAD I had found the first few parts I needed and had started to assemble the model. It’s hard to say for certain since I had so much trouble getting around in MLCAD, but it seems like it might have slightly more advanced features, but the interface is such that I doubt I’ll ever know that for certain.

If you’re interested in seeing the parts list you can get the LeoCAD file here.