3D printing has changed the way things are made forever. Prototypes, one-offs, and recreations of long-lost parts can now be produced at a fraction of their previous cost thanks to computer-aided-design and little plastic granules.
Inevitably we’re now seeing 3D printed pieces appear in Lego creations too, including this one by regular bloggee Horcik Designs. Horcik’s cafe racer motorcycle uses a (very cool looking ) 3D printed front brake disc, which fits perfectly to the front wheel.
Steering, suspension, a piston engine, and a foot-peg operated two-speed transmission also feature, with these all built from standard LEGO pieces.
With LEGO themselves regularly creating new and bespoke pieces for official sets, we’re taking the stance that a model using a custom part doesn’t preclude it from appearing here.
You can see more of Horcik’s cafe racer at both Bricksafe and Eurobricks, the latter of which shows another of his creations that’s has gone (quite a long way) further down the 3D printing route…
It might sound like European cat food, but the Kettenkrat was altogether weirder than that. Half motorcycle, half tank, the Sd.Kfz 2 Kettenkrat was designed by NSU, powered by Opel, weighed 1.5 tons, and could climb slopes of over 24°, even in sand.
A unique drive system delivered power to both tracks simultaneously on hard ground, or – when the driver selected – operated via a subtractor to skid-steer on soft ground, and it was used throughout the Second World War to lay cables, transport troops, tow aircraft, oh – and to invade Russia.
This amazing motorised Model Team recreation of the Sd.Kfz 2 Kettenkrad comes from previous bloggee Samolot, and not only does it feature the most terrifying LEGO figure we’ve ever seen, it also includes a fully working remote controlled version of the real bike/tank’s ingenious steering system.
Exactly how it works is beyond the collective minds housed here at TLCB Towers, so the best way to see if you can figure it out is via the video below. There are also more images of both Samolot’s model and the real 1940s contraption at Bricksafe, and you can read the full build description and join the discussion via the Eurobricks forum here.
This wonderful creation is a KMZ-Dnepr K650, a Soviet Ukrainian motorcycle based on the 1930’s BMW R71. Whilst this version is 650cc, early bikes were fitted with a 98cc Wanderer engine design taken from Germany as part of reparations for World War 2, before KMZ’s own much larger 650cc was used for the rest of the design’s long production run.
Of course the BMW bit of the KMZ-Dnepr pre-dates war reparations, as the Soviet Union officially licensed the design from Germany before the two countries later went to war. In fact Germany and Russia held talks about becoming allies, with only Hitler’s ideological greed preventing Stalin from agreeing. Had they found common ground then this TLCB Writer would probably be typing this in German.
Fortunately Hitler and Stalin didn’t team up, and Germany invaded the Soviet Union just a year after the deal to license the BMW R71 was signed. This led – rather oddly – to the bike fighting on both sides of the conflict; the BMW version for the Axis Powers and the Soviet IMZ-Ural copy for Russia.
Production of the KMZ-Dnepr version shown here commenced in Ukraine in 1946, and continued right up to the fall of the Soviet Union, with both civilian and military versions produced. This beautifully presented replica of the KMZ-Dnepr K650 comes from KMbricklab, making their TLCB debut, and depicts the German-Russian-Ukrainian bike in both civilian and (awesome) military two-wheel-drive sidecar variants.
Gorgeous detailing and clever building techniques are evident in abundance and there’s lots more of KMbricklab’s superb build to see at their ‘KMZ-Dnepr K650’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to make the jump to Soviet-era Ukraine.
White LEGO bricks, like nerds, don’t particularly like strong sunlight.
The gradual yellowing of white pieces exposed to UV is subject to much debate within the nerdier corners online Lego community, from applying hydrogen peroxide to restore parts to their original hue, to – more nerdily – sealing bricks inside darkened rooms or even never taking them out of their box. Which is quite fantastically pointless.
Cue previous bloggee seb71, who has not only allowed his white pieces to yellow, he’s positively embraced their ageing.
Seb’s brilliant classic motorcycle deploys some properly yellowed Technic wheels, matching their sunlight-induced cream to a seventies-tastic brown and white aesthetic for a beautifully period-correct look.
There’s more of Seb’s well-tanned classic bike to see at his photostream, click the link above to take a look and then get out in the sun – it’s good for you and maybe even your LEGO bricks too.
Ah, the cafe in the bookstore; the place to go to meet attractive hipster girls whilst trying to look intelligent. “Yes I did enjoy ‘Infinite Jest’, although I found it strayed towards a wandering narrative in places… Can I buy you a coffee?”
Cue seb71‘s ‘cafe racer’ style motorcycle, which is pictured here on its own but forms part of some rather lovely bookends (see, it all makes sense).
Built for a challenge on a French forum (which if he isn’t French makes this so hipster it hurts), Seb’s motorcycle captures the ‘cafe racer’ style superbly, and there’s more to see of both it and the bookends of which it is part on Flickr.
Click the link above to take a look, and if you’re reading this in a bookstore cafe you can pretend you’re exploring the romanticism of classical transportation in France if you’re asked, before buying that attractive hipster girl a coffee.
You might think that a pair of handcuffs has only one use, whether that be in their deployment by law enforcement or during your Mom’s illicit activities. However previous bloggee Oscar Cederwall (o0ger) shows that even the most seemingly single-use of LEGO pieces can be utilised far beyond its original intended purpose.
By placing several dozen handcuff pieces in a loop Oscar has created a beautifully smooth hub-less wheel, with the ‘Nice Parts Usage’ (NPU) continuing to an upside-down Duplo train/plane cockpit, a fort stone archway, and even a Duplo Train ‘action brick’ forming the rear swing-arm.
There’s more of Oscar’s ‘Cyberpunk Bike’ and the ingenious parts placement within it to see on Flickr – click the link above to put on the ‘cuffs.
Every once in a while a creation appears at TLCB Towers that makes us all think ‘that’s clever’. This is one such model, plus it has the added benefit of terrifying TLCB Elves.
Eurobricks’ piterx has designed this Technic scrambler motorbike, which – whilst not special to look at – is incredible to behold in motion. LEGO’s most powerful motor drives the back wheel, which is controlled via bluetooth thanks to a third-party BuWizz battery.
Said battery not only delivers up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own system, it has been ingeniously used as a motorised sliding counterweight, enabling piterx’s bike to rocket around on its own, appearing to be under the spooky control of an invisible rider.
We’re having great fun terrorising the Elves with this, so whilst we continue the ghostly ruse on our smelly little workers you can check out more of piterx’s cunning remote control creation via the video and link to Eurobricks above!
We were going to title this post ‘Square Heads’, but upon Googling it we learned it’s an offensive term for German, Dutch or Scandinavian persons. That was close. The perils of being an international blog we suppose! Anyway, these micro-scale bikers do have square heads, but we’re going to say they’re American, so we’re alright. They come from Flickr’s jarekwally (who might need to Google his title too…), whose inventive parts usage doesn’t stop at riders’ heads, but continues to both the motorcycles and the road upon which they’re travelling. (Square) head to jarekwally‘s photostream for more!
Ninety-five year old Spanish motorcycle manufacturer Rieju make some great looking off-road mopeds. And so too does previous bloggee Mathjis Bongers, who has recreated their MRT PRO ‘motard’ in Technic form, complete with working suspension, steering, and a replica of the Rieju’s tiny 50cc engine, which likely makes a disproportionately loud noise in relation to the forward movement in provides. Mathjis’ version is therefore our preference, despite how cool the real thing looks, and there’s more to see at both his ‘Rieju MRT PRO‘ album and via the Eurobricks discussion here.
Is there a more dangerous vehicle than a quad bike? Of course there is, because back in the ’80s you could have one with a wheel missing.
The logic was probably of the bar-stool variety, in that three legs don’t wobble. However when an engine and rider are attached, and one of those legs moves about from side to side, wobbling, followed by crashing, was very much the order of the day.
Still, we would totally have a go, because the fear of tipping over and being pinned to the ground by a ferociously hot lump of clattering metal was half the fun!
Flickr’s Pat Lacroix is helping us reminisce, and you can see more of his superb ’80s ‘Dirt Trike’, complete with rear suspension, steering, and a chain driven engine via the link above. Just have a first aid box ready.
We’ve got gas today, courtesy of Dan the Fan, who is here making his TLCB debut.
It won’t be long before finding gas might be rather tricky, as gas stations – so integral to society for almost a century – are about to enter a period of mass extinction.
Ultimately that’s a good thing, but it’ll be shame for the many family-owned businesses that will close, and – sometimes – the gas stations themselves disappearing, as occasionally they can be quite interesting.
Dan the Fan’s in one such interesting gas station, complete with some rather excellent ‘Shell’ lettering, a gas pump, kiosk, elevated tank, billboard, and some cool-looking mini-figure bikers.
There’s more to see at Dan’s ‘Gas Station’ album on Flickr – click the link above to get gas.
‘Twenty twenty one’ sounds futuristic doesn’t it! What better way to kick off the new year then, than with this cyberpunk streetbike by Flickr’s Oscar Cederwall. Entitled the ‘Zyrkowski Surge X500’, which admittedly does sound a bit washing machiney, Oscar’s sci-fi motorcycle was suggested to us by a reader, and it’s earned its appearance here by the utterly ingenious use of an upside-down passenger train part alone. There’s more to see of Oscar’s brilliant bike on Flickr – click the link above to take a peek into the future.
We’ve featured some very cool, very fast motorbikes here over the years. The Honda Mini Trail ‘Monkey Bike’ is not one of them.
However we would take this diminutive 125cc practical joke of a motorcycle over literally any other two-wheeled machine, because it’s hilarious.
Powered by a 15bhp 125cc engine (or engines even smaller), Honda’s Mini Trail is not going to win any off-road competitions, but it going to make the rider look very funny, and that’s reason enough for us to love it.
This near-perfect Technic replica of the Mini Trail 125cc comes from ianying616, and we can confirm that with a TLCB Elf strapped atop, it’s just as funny as the real thing. Click the link above for 125cc of fun!
The lighting kit comes in a cardboard box, black and premium quality, which has only the logo of the manufacturer on it. Because TLCB and Game of Bricks have sent me two different kits, there was an additional identification (handwritten) tag with the number of the set in which to install the light kit itself (left-bottom corner).
Inside the box I found:
Three numbered plastic bags with tiny LEDs stripes and the thin, very thin cables
Two un-numbered plastic bags with the battery box, one “hub” to connect the single part of the LED circuit and the USB connector to connect the LEDs “circuit” to the battery box
One booklet with the explanation of what each component is and its use/purpose
Also for this kit, as for the specific one for LEGO Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger set, the actual building instructions are on Game of Bricks’ website, consisting of a series of “photographic” steps showing where to place the individual “light points” and how to organise (where they have to pass) the various wiring.
Now that I’ve become familiar with the Game of Bricks system and had ways to practice with the tiny connectors I was able to follow the steps for this set very easily.
The fist task is to install the elements included in the plastic bag No.1, by inserting the LED elements behind the trans-clear round tile in the front headlights, simply by “squeezing” them between the tile and the underneath Technic pin. To install these lights, of course, you need to remove the front fairing, not before applying the first of the connection strips behind the handlebars.