Jan 30 2012

Linear 4-finger grabber

Category: Lego,TechnicsSpiller @ 20:02

I originally made this design for a small scale pneumatic robotic arm which included a multiplexed pneumatic control station. I here present you a revamped version of it:

Photo of grabber

(LDraw file available soon, my Brickshelf account is under maintenance apparently)

This design works with both with pneumatics and linear accumulators. The tubing will be a bit tight for the pneumatic version, but if you are worried you can just remove the axle which is in the way. It might also work with the small pneumatic piston which would create a very compact design however I don’t have one of those so I can’t try it out.

In the design each finger is a section of its own and every section is completely the same, just rotated 90 degrees each. I like it as it is something I rarely see in Technic models; mirroring is quite common however rotating is much less seen.

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Jan 30 2012

Another – first impressions

Category: AnimeSpiller @ 19:16

I try to keep anime off this blog, but I still wanted to bring this series up.

There isn’t really that much interesting anime this season, actually there is only one series that I’m looking forward to and that is “Another”. It is a horror series which started airing this month and the fourth episode is to air the 31st.

I’m not really a horror fan, mainly because they usually are too predictable and therefore not really that scary, and I do not expect this series to be much different in that regard.

Plot

The plot isn’t really that unique at this point. A young boy moves to his grandparents because of family reasons and therefore transfers into class 9-3 at the local school. However that class happens to have a dark history… 26 years ago one of the students died in an accident but as she was popular and loved by the class they started denying her death and pretended that she was still alive. However their actions prevented her to rest in peace and at the time of graduation she shows up in the group photo.

Returning to the present this particular boy tries to fit into his new class only to learn that they are holding something hidden from him which appears to be the cause of the uneasiness that spreads throughout the class. In addition there is this girl in the class that just feels out of place which catches his interests.

That is pretty much the main point of the plot without spoiling too much. The outline is set by the end of episode 3 and I suspect that “accidents” will play a major role in the story.

Animation

The main reason for my interest in this because how well it is executed. The visuals are in my opinion on a level rarely seen in weekly series. Not only is it well drawn, it manages to create a mood which matches the series well. This is where many other animations fells short, however Another still manages to excel in this area.

The series director have also made a decent job on this which combined together with the level of the visuals really creates something special.

Screenshot Screenshot

Screenshot Screenshot

Screenshot Screenshot

Screenshot Another logo

If the animation wasn’t good enough, the soundtrack is well done too. The soundtrack have some of the qualities as Ga-Rei Zero, the actual music isn’t great by itself but when used together with the video and sound effects manages to bring out emotions that it can’t do by itself. While it is not on the same level as in Ga-Rei Zero, it is still fairly good.

Conclusion

The plot doesn’t appear to be anything special but it has potential to be interesting if it does not spoil too much too soon. The main strength of this series so far is the execution of the plot. The direction is decent, the visuals are great and the sound is decent too which when combined really makes this an experience to watch.

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Jan 29 2012

Mechanic NOR gate

Category: LDraw,Lego,TechnicsSpiller @ 19:20

Several years ago I tinkered around with making mechanic logic gates, so the LEGO Answers question: Is it possible to build simple logic gates with LEGO mechanics? caught my interest.

Keshav Saharia blog post Mechanical computation from Lego bricks was interesting, but I was not quite satisfied with his NOR gate. First of all the OR gate in it looks rather shabby in my opinion but most importantly it does not reset its state. It starts out in the TRUE position, but when an input becomes TRUE and the output becomes FALSE it will stay FALSE even it the input changes back to FALSE again. So I wanted to try making my own version based on Keshav´s design and the result is shown below:

Top view of my NOR gate  Bottom view of my NOR gate

(CAD file available, I just can’t upload it to WordPress and Brickshelf appears down at the moment.)

My version is a bit smaller as the frame is 6×8 instead of Keshav´s 6×10, but it does use a few more pieces. I’m not quite satisfied with my OR gate either as I’m not sure how much force it can transfer before becoming unreliable.

A rubber band have been added so the gate properly resets itself however it does create a new problem, more force is needed to go through the input in order to operate the gate. This is not a problem with just one gate, but imagine 10 of these stacked together and this force will become rather large.

So I believe that the axle approach will always be limited with that, because while most gates pushes, insert a NOT gate and it will start pulling which could pull the axle out of what might be connecting it.

I tried making an AND gate where the NOT gates are combined with the NOR gate (in order to make it smaller) but I didn’t succeed in making up a good design for the combined double NOT and OR gate. But inspiration have struck me and I have an idea how to make a XOR gate which will end up being about 6×12 and about 5-6 stud high. This will be my next goal.

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Jan 28 2012

9392 Quad Bike – review

Category: Lego,TechnicsSpiller @ 20:38

One of the new Technic sets, the 9392 Quad Bike, looked rather interesting to me since it has 3 springs, chains links and that the price is low as it is a small set. So I went ahead and bought one.

Assembled Quad Bike

Building

The build was fairly straightforward and if you know what you are doing it shouldn’t cause much trouble. If you are new to Technic it might be a bit tricky at times I guess, as the chassis is constructed of angled beams in an way which isn’t straightforward and there are sub-modules which again isn’t always straightforward to combine with the main model. The instructions are however clear about these areas and does also at times include extra clarifying illustrations of the assembly to make sure you did it correctly.

I don’t like how the pieces were sorted in the backs though. There were a lot of cases were I thought it should be in one bag, but it actually was in the other. For example, the 3m Technic pin was not in the same bag as the 3m Technic pin with Stop Bush, which makes no sense at all. There were 3 bags and they were NOT ordered.

The unboxing and construction of the main model took just under a half hour.

The model’s construction

I was positively surprised of the construction of this model. I have previously been a bit disappointed with Lego’s newer models which just feels weak in my opinion. This model only contains 182 pieces (+26 chain links), yet it manages to impress me. I really like how the chassis is constructed by angled beams and how those angles are used to add details to the construction. I also like how the front is made, it manages to get a cool looking suspension with steering while keeping the piece count down.

There are a few things in the construction which isn’t optimal though. The motor block is rather loose but most importantly, the chassis hits the ground before the front suspension is fully compressed. While I could live with the first, the latter is definitively a flaw in the design.

At times the part usage appears a bit weird, for example a 4m axle with stop is used where a 4m axle without stop actually would have been better, but I guess it is to make the available parts better.

But all in all I like it as it packs a fair amount of features using only ~200 pieces and looks rather nice at the same time.

Parts

This sets contains a lot of angled beams, in fact it nearly doesn’t contain any straight beams at all. I rarely don’t use those parts though, in fact I have a whole box of them which I never touch.

The tires, springs, motor block and chain links are a good plus, but it would be nice if there had been 4 springs instead of 3, as this would have made it possible to create a fully suspended car.

The rest is pretty much just normal pieces, but most of them are only in the 1-3 amount so there is a great variety, including some more special pieces.

Conclusion

While there are a few flaws this is definitively a good set and worth buying. The model is cleverly constructed and packs a decent amount of features, at the cost of being a bit more tricky to build. There are about 210 parts in it which are rather varied which makes it a good buy if you have a few sets already and want to spice your collection up.

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