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Amazing LEGO Technik Caterham Seven

Kamil Kaluski May 17, 2013 Diecast Delights 14 Comments

LEGO Technik Caterham

My parents tell me that in my childhood I have made some amazing LEGO creations. I don’t know about that, because apparently my creations were not amazing enough to take pictures of. All of my creations were limited to what we today refer to as the City Collection.

Things changed dramatically when I received my first Technik set; a red sports car with a mid-mounted engine and pop-up headlights. Everything was different about it and how it came together, and frankly after I assembled it I was very limited as to what I could do with it. I ended up turning it into a super tank for CITY people but that was about it. Technik and I never really took off. Even today, I still haven’t finished my Unimog which I got for Christmas two years ago – caveat being that I’m working on it with my little daughter.

People who create original Technik pieces get my respect. When they make something is rather unbelievable, such as this amazingly detailed radio-controlled Caterham Seven with a working, uhmm, EVERYTHING… I just watch, sit back, and realize that I will never amount to much. Check out the video after the jump.

  • boostedlegowgn

    Looks like a…

    bumpy ride.

  • MVEilenstein

    You're not alone. I had buckets of Legos, and a bunch of complete sets (I remember dropping 45 of my birthday dollars on a space shuttle one year), but Technik never really caught my attention.

  • Dean Bigglesworth

    I love Technik LEGOs… I saved for at least half a year to afford the submarine with pneumatic claws. I used to attempt building real things out of the stuff, but the 10 year old me didn't quite figure out how to make a funtioning pneumatic scissor lift. But i did repair the steering on a NIKKO rc car with lego, and made a remote for my parents Technics stereo out of lego and some string. Mom didn't much care for the dozen or so strings going right across the livingroom at hip height, from the stereo to the sofa.

    If i ever have kids I'll find some way to get them interested in Technic lego. So I'll probably just build some myself, say "no you can't touch this!" and then eventually give in; make them think they've won. Am I doing this hypothetical parenting totally wrong?

    • JayP2112

      Son gets 2000 piece Lego kit for birthday.
      Son asks dad to 'help'.
      On page 45, son loses interest.
      Dad plows on with damned determination.
      Dad finishes 2000 piece Lego set at 2am while son is asleep.
      Son poses for picture with finished 2000 piece Lego car.
      Dad posts to FB and proclaims. "My son is a genius!!"

      • Dean Bigglesworth

        Maybe your son needs some Scalextric next?

        • JayP2112

          He got a few SCX sets over the years. Inspired by the 24Hrs of LeMans, one evening he set up the track and ran his Ferraris into the ground. Ran them for 4 or 5 hours straight. When he was done, the cars and track were covered in rubber. Just like real cars.

          The cars never worked the same since.

          We get the track out on occasion and play with the camera in the dark.

          • Dean Bigglesworth

            We used to watch in awe at the tracks available at toy stores, until we had saved enough to buy a set. The first two cars me and my brother had were Ferrari and Benetton F1-cars. The Ferrari was slightly quicker but he Benetton was faster in the corners. Those car's didn't last too long either… Later I got a XJ220 for christmas. The F40 always beat it, though.

            Now i have more than enough parts to build an awesome track, but it's all just sitting in boxes somewhere. Along with all the Lego.

  • ptschett

    In defense of Technic: I bet I learned more about the process of developing and testing a design from my experiments with Technic than I ever learned on that subject while going to college for an engineering degree.

    Example: during Christmas break of my sophomore year of college, I decided I wanted to build a bulldozer. I didn't have tracks so it rode on all 6 of the 8-stud-diameter, 3-stud-wide wheels from the 8868 air-claw truck. The basic chassis, without wheels ended up being about 40 studs long and 16 wide; it took 2 of the old 4000RPM torqueless 9V motors, running through an 81:1 overall gear reduction plus the gear reduction of the forward/reverse gearbox. (Forward/reverse shifting was through quasi-planetary transmissions based on the newer-style differential carriers, set up so the output was faster in reverse than forward.) A completely separate transmission ran a worm gear winch to raise and lower the blade. The result was a dozer with a 24-stud-wide blade that could barely move its own weight. Not really what I wanted.

    The next summer I ordered a set of the rubber tracks and decided I could do better. The new version was single-motor powered with the central chassis sized to the rubber tracks, about 25 studs long and 10 wide; with tracks and track frames it was 18 studs wide. This forced me to downsize the transmission, which ended up being based around a pair of counter-rotating 16 tooth gears. The blade-lift winch used the same set of gears. The narrower chassis let the blade be 20 studs wide, and the tractor was so much lighter that it actually could pull or push something. With a single motor I could use the small single-9V battery box rather than the big 6x-1.5V box, and the small box fit on the tractor.

    The rubber tracks weren't great however. The ground contact patch was too small so it was nose heavy. I redesigned the gearbox to take a stud out of its length (doesn't sound like much, but it affected a lot)… it helped, but still wasn't enough. So I ordered the chainlink tracks and the big 40-tooth gears.

    Now I had to design new track carriages again. Version 1 was with frames built up from beams having a coil spring suspension at the front of the tractor, and didn't work well; but at least I was able to take 2 studs overall width out of the track frames and the blade decreased to 18 studs width. The 2nd version track frames were built up from parts that slide onto the Technic axle shafts, pivoting on the drive sprocket axle and using another Technic axle shaft as a 'leaf spring' to support the front end of the chassis; the 3rd, current version is built up from beams and is rigidly mounted like on modern ~15-ton dozers.

    Here's the final tractor with version-2 chainlink tracks…
    <img src="http://oi53.tinypic.com/2isxgeo.jpg&quot; width="500">

    • skitter

      *standing ovation*

    • RSDeuce

      That looks awesome.

  • RSDeuce

    Gotta disagree, Technics is what kept me playing with Lego long after I should have stopped. We didn't have much money for set… When I did get one I would build it "right" once, and immediately go to town on something much crazier.

    I have recently been rediscovering my Lego. I bought that same Unimog and finished it in a few days. It is truly awesome, but I haven't had the time (or the patience from my girlfriend to coat the counter with Legos in our small apartment again) to build something new. I want to re-use the "transmission" in it for something really big… Dunno what yet though.

    • RSDeuce

      By the way, I left my first comment before watching the video. That car is awesome. Disc brakes? Great stuff.

  • I can see some serious LEGO investment going down at Rusty Towers in the near future. I had the "Test Car" set with the three-speed shifter and V-4, but used a fair chunk of it to make a rough demonstration prototype of a retractable suspension system for an amphibous car at Uni. And lost it, of course.

    I think it may be eBay o'clock.

  • Sky_Render

    I really need to start playing with LEGOs again.