LEGO Engineering Fundamentals – Interactive eBook | Review

It’s been a Technic-filled day at TLCB, but are you looking at some of the models featured here and wondering how they work? From steering and suspension, to ratchets, walkers, gearboxes – LEGO Technic can be used to create any mechanism you can think of. And probably a lot you can’t.

And that’s where Jorge Moreno Barrios’ eBook ‘LEGO Engineering Fundamentals’ shines, as the first 3D interactive guide to creating incredible mechanisms (and the basics too) from LEGO Bricks.

We were given access to an early copy of Jorge’s eBook, which is available to purchase through Apple Books, to assess how it works. And how it works is rather brilliant.

‘LEGO Engineering Fundamentals’ is divided into five chapters, each of which features 3D interactive renders of the subject;

1. LEGO brick alignment (effectively the measurements needed to build)
2. A complete 3D catalogue of LEGO Technic parts, sorted by use (e.g. ‘steering’, ‘gears’ etc.) with part numbers
3. Simple machines, consisting of levers, pulleys, wedges and screws
4. Basic mechanisms, including gears, ratchets, cams, chains, and junctions and linkages
5. Basic structures

Each render can be rotated on any axis, allowing the reader to see it from any angle, with the moving components rotating/sliding/lifting on a loop as if they were built from real bricks. Rotating the subject also reveals Jorge’s explanation of the render in question, with key words highlighted to ease understanding. If that sounds complicated it isn’t, and it works wonderfully. Naturally we can’t share the interactive element here, but hopefully the static images we’ve included will provide some insight.

In the examples above the inputs and outputs turn on the screen, with all the components of each mechanism following suit. Many of these are very simple pulleys and levers, taking readers through the basics of both Technic building and machines in general, but some – despite the ‘basic’ in the chapter titles – delve into advanced physics, recreating the beautifully intricate designs by noted engineers and kinetic sculptures. Again, each of these is completely interactive, and is ‘alive’ on the screen running through its mechanised loop to demonstrate how the design works in practice, with some looking really rather incredible indeed.

It’s mechanisms such as these we think readers will find most useful, as ‘LEGO Engineering Fundamentals’ provides a toolbox of options for ‘I want my creation to do [this], but I don’t known how’.

So is the eBook perfect? – It is Version 1 after all.

Not yet, as there are a few of refinements we’d like to see for v2, chief among which is a contents page. The ‘How this book works’ animation also didn’t work on our copy, and there a few official LEGO sets rendered within the book that are – we think – used as examples of either parts or mechanisms in action, but without any explanation. A brief ‘Set No. [xxxx] uses pneumatic cylinders and a basic lever. You can find details of these on pages [x]’ would definitely help to explain their context. The same is true for a few mechanisms that don’t have descriptive text – often because it isn’t needed, but we would prefer at least a title for every render as a minimum.

Verdict
Despite a few obvious improvements, the basics behind ‘LEGO Engineering Fundamentals’ are superb, and the first time you rotate a moving mechanism on screen to see the explanation appear you do go ‘Ooooh!’. Well we did anyway.

It’s also the first book we’ve received here at TLCB that has actively made us want to try creating new things, things we would never have thought of on our own, nor had the engineering capability to do. For that reason alone we can’t recommend ‘LEGO Engineering Fundamentals’ highly enough.

For now, this is a four star book. With a few tweaks for v2, it’ll be an easy five.

★★★★

Buy LEGO Engineering Fundamentals eBook via Apple Books here

Tagged , , , , ,

Big Red

The halls of TLCB Towers were a bustling place today. Several Elves have recently returned with finds, TLCB staff were pretending to be busy to avoid sweeping up the cage room, and the Le Mans 2020 livestream was ticking over in the corner. All of which meant we were thoroughly distracted from the Elf proudly riding atop this rather brilliant remote control Caterpillar D10 bulldozer until it was too late.

‘Too late’ in this case means we now have a bit more than sweeping up to do, as several Elves have been smeared across the corridor (and over the front of the bulldozer) thanks to builder keymaker‘s inclusion of four Power Functions motors and a third-party BuWizz bluetooth battery, controlling the drive, steering, and ripper and blade mechanisms.

Individual suspension on the tracks’ jockey wheels plus track tensioners meant the blade stayed at Elf-smearing height even if one of them went under the tracks, whilst a working V8 engine, detailed cabin and engine bay, and opening doors and tool compartment add to the realism, if not the Elf-smushing capabilities.

We now have some considerable floor cleaning to do, as a number of our smelly little workers were caught off guard and fell victim the the D10’s blade, then tracks, then ripper, which doesn’t sound fun at all. Whilst we get on with that you can see more of keyworker’s most excellent creation at both the Eurobricks forum via the link above, or on Bricksafe, where over forty high quality images are available to view.

Lastly, if you’re wondering how mechanisms such as those found on keyworker’s ‘dozer work then come back to The Lego Car Blog later today where we’ll be sharing an awesome new tool that does just that!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Lime Horse

Painting a Ferrari in Lamborghini green will probably get you a ‘Cease and Desist‘ letter from Ferrari’s over-zealous legal department, but seeing as this one is constructed from left over bits of Lamborghini, it makes sense. Flickr’s James Tillson is the builder behind this lime green Ferrari Dino 246, and he has form, winning TLCB’s Lock-Down B-Model Competition with his previous Lamborghini-to-Ferrari conversion. His Ferrari Dino features the usual Technic Supercar functions and there’s more of the build to see at his photostream – click here to take a look before Ferrari write him an angry letter.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Striped Skyline

It’s an entirely Technic day today here at The Lego Car Blog, starting with this; LoMaC‘s neat Nissan Skyline R34, complete with a working six cylinder engine, steering, and opening doors, hood and trunk. Oh, and some Shelby-esque racing stripes, which means it gets the Elves’ seal of approval. Building instructions are available and there’s more to see on Flickr via the link.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Neon Swooosh!

Which is like a regular ‘Swooosh!’, only with more noble gas. This is Sylon-tw‘s ‘Cyber Neon Circuit’ racer, complete with ginormous glowing engines, a pair of rather interesting looking mini-figure pilots, and the coolest directional road sign we’ve ever seen. Click the link above to join the race!

Tagged , , , , , ,

By the Hammer of Thor

The wise words of Ron Burgundy there, as today we have a recreation of one of the final two Koenigsegg Ageras built before production ended, the FE Thor.

Built by the aptly-named 3D supercarBricks of Flickr, this incredible recreation of one the worlds rarest, fastest, and most expensive hypercars includes opening front and rear clamshells, a removable roof, and custom LEGO-compatible 3D-printed wheels and windshield surround pieces.

There’s more to see of the Agera FE Thor at 3D’s photostream via the link above, plus you can buy the building instructions and the custom pieces used to create it at 3Dsupercarbricks.com here.

Tagged , , , , ,

Air Pirate

Is there anything cooler than a fighter jet with a skull and crossbones painted on it? The answer is no, and thus here’s Lennart Cort‘s Grumman F-14 Tomcat resplendent in VF-84 ‘Jolly Rogers’ livery. See more at the link!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Game of Bricks – Light Kit (10271 Fiat 500) | Review

It’s review time here at The Lego Car Blog, and on this occasion we thought we’d share the love and offer the product we were supplied to one of our readers. It just so happens that the reader in question owns a considerably more professional Lego site than we do…

So, over to Balasz at the brilliant Racing Brick, as he switches on one of Game of Bricks newest kits, bringing LED lighting to the lovely LEGO 10721 Fiat 500 set;

TLCB kindly offered me a light kit by Game of Bricks for the Creator Expert 10271 Fiat 500 kit. This happened months ago, but due to some logistical issues on both sides (thanks Coronavirus, Ed.), I only had a chance to try it now.

The 10271 lighting kit comes in a nice black box, but it only has the logo of the manufacturer on it. I’m not sure if you get any additional identification if you order multiple light kits, but mine didn’t give any clues as to which LEGO set it belonged to.

Inside the box I found five numbered plastic bags and a battery box, and as you can see there’s not any extra documentation or anything in the box besides the hardware, which is a good thing if we think about the environment, but it makes the project a bit challenging if we are looking for some building instructions.I tried to go first to the web page of Game of Bricks and the product page of the Fiat 500 light kit, but there’re no instructions there.

As the text says I can ask for pdf instructions, but I was hoping to find them without the need to reach out to the team.As always Google helped me out; apparently Game of Bricks have a page for their instructions and I managed to find the one for the Fiat 500. I already installed some light kits from other manufacturers and the instructions were very similar, I can say that the steps for this set are pretty easy to follow.

The tiny LEDs and the cables are also familiar, if you ever saw a 3rd party light kit then there won’t be any surprises.

Installing the front lights is a pretty straightforward exercise, although I was a bit surprised that only the upper lights got a replacement piece instead of the LEGO pieces, the lower ones had to be squeezed under the transparent round 1×1 piece.Under normal circumstances there’s exactly zero space between the transparent piece and the stud below it, so even with this super thin wire it will be a bit off and you need to push it in place carefully.

The rear section has similar challenges to solve, and we get a light strip for the roof with an adhesive tape to attach to the sunroof. I decided not to attach it, as the cables can be arranged to hold it in place.All cables will meet at the bottom, where you need to attach them to a splitter piece, although the tiny connectors are not the easiest to handle, and you need some extra arrangement if you want to keep your model movable.

The battery box requires 3 AAA batteries and includes a USB connector. If you have a smaller power bank or something similar then it might be a good idea to change it, as the one in the kit barely fits in the model. It is also challenging to turn on and off, as you need to remove it to be able to access the button.

However the end result looks great, and can really spice up a display model. The modular design is a big plus, all my previous light kits were hard wired together so it was not possible to add only certain sections of them to a model. For example, if you don’t want to use the cabin light in the Game of Bricks kit then you can simply detach it whilst leaving the rest of the LEDs in the model.

The only thing I’d like to change if I wanted to display the set permanently with LED lighting installed would be the power source, if only to make the on/off button more accessible!

Thanks to Balazs from Racing Brick for taking a look over Game of Bricks lighting kit for the 10271 Fiat 500 set. You can find this kit, along with all of the Game of Bricks kits for official LEGO vehicles, at their website, and you can check out Racing Brick too by clicking here!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Le Mans 2018

This spectacular array of racing cars is the entire Le Mans 2018 GTE Pro grid, just one of the four categories that compete side-by-side at the world’s greatest motor race.

Built over two years by Lasse Deleuran, all teams and driver combinations from the GTE Pro class of 2018 are present, with Ferrari, BMW, Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Ford, and the race-winning Porsche squad recreated brilliantly in Miniland scale, many of which have featured here individually over the last two years.

Instructions for every single GTE Pro car are available for free, and you can see more of each racer and find the link to recreate your very own Le Mans 2018 GTE Pro grid via Lasse’s photostream by clicking here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rat Cat

Heavy duty applications such as pick-ups, trucks, boats, and trains all benefit from the fuel efficiency and torque that diesel engines offer.

However the passenger car market, which here in Europe was once around 50% diesel, was sold a lie. Now realised, the diesel car market has collapsed, and manufacturers can’t get rid of their diesel products soon enough.

However an engine type that’s noisy, dirty, and obsolete may be wholly unsuited to a small European shopping car (apart from to dodge CO2 taxation), but it’s literally everything you could want in a rat rod!

Cue Sin City Motors’ wild Caterpillar diesel engined half-track rat rod, recreated here by TLCB favourite Redfern1950s in superb form.

Red’s Model Team interpretation of Sin City Motor’s spectacular creation captures the insanity of the real rat rod beautifully, and there’s a whole lot more to see on Flickr via the link!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Lego Loader


Fuku Saku’s latest vehicle is massive, ungainly, and able to take a big load, but we’ve already done a ‘Your Mom’ line today. Moving on, this is Fuku Saku’s front loader, and much like today’s other post it is quite brilliantly detailed, despite only being Town scale.

There’s a raising bucket arm, pivoting chassis articulation point, and some rather cunning tyre usage too. A wealth of excellent imagery is available at Fuku Saku’s photostream and you can take a closer look by clicking here.

Tagged , , ,

Lego Lumberjack

Jonathan Elliott’s latest vehicle is large, heavy, and can handle a lot of wood. Just like your Mom. It’s a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U1700, fitted with a Hiab crane, stabiliser legs, and grabby-claw-thingy, enabling it to pluck felled logs from the ground for transport.

Jonathan’s model captures the real deal in beautiful detail, despite being only six(ish) studs in width, and there’s more to see of his brilliantly presented Lego lumberjack on Flickr – click here here to make the jump.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Return of the Mav


This is an F/A-18 Super Hornet, and it is definitely not a car. But it is awesome, and it comes from Lennart Cort, who has recreated Maverick’s training aircraft from the upcoming Top Gun 2 movie in beautifully smooth fashion. There’s more of Lennart’s F/A-18 to see on Flickr – head into the skies over the Navada desert via the link above.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Chocolatey Contraband


The humble Kinder Suprise egg – one part tasty Italian chocolate, one part crappy plastic toy – is illegal in the United States. Appalling animal welfare and firearms are fine though.

Fortunately for our American readers, the Kinder contained in the back of this superb Scania 1-Series truck and trailer by Vladimir Drozd is all tasty Italian chocolate and no crappy plastic toy (which is the way we prefer it), so you can have munch too.

Recreated in 1:22 scale, Vladimir’s beautifully detailed Scania includes Power Functions remote control drive and steering, suspension on all wheels, and an automatic trailer hitch.

There are more top quality images of Vladimir’s Kinder delivery truck available to view at his Flickr album, and you can find full build details and a link to building instructions at the Eurobricks forum here.

Take look via the links above whilst we work on our elaborate plan to smuggle deadly Kinder Suprise eggs into the U.S inside some harmless assault rifles.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

300 ‘Z’s


Nissan’s current range of vehicles is about as interesting as a Brothers Brick parts cataloguing evening. Still, it used to be more noteworthy, particularly in the ‘90s when the brand made several sports cars and sports sedans, including this, the 300ZX.

This excellent Speed Champions style recreation of the 300ZX comes from regular blogger SP_LINEUP and there’s more to see at his photostream. Click the link above to view a Nissan that won’t send you to sleep, a maybe dream their rumoured new 400Z heralds a sports car return.

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: