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Taking the bite out of Lego construction discrepencies.

Posted in Design, Fun, Miscellaneous, Technology, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 31, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Well, this has been an interesting week for me in learning about the dynamics of building with Lego and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to blog about on the subject in the future. But for now, I’ll just share what I discovered recently.

I am near completion of  working on a project that will aid in showcasing some MOC’s to be shot on video so I can feature them here and on youtube. Yes….I know, I did mention a while back that I will be featuring video “how-to-build” of my MOC’s. Life just keeps getting in the way, but I’m just about near the point of making this whole video thing, a reality. I’m just waiting on parts for the complete assembly of my project which started to arrive yesterday as a matter of fact and I should be getting the rest in the next few days.

The gears are grinding…literally.

A grinding halt....almost.

I should point out that this is my first ever MOC that involves the use of gears and bushings and that I could not wait to develop a project where I would be able utilize these pieces. Since I was a child in the single digit age, I was always fascinated with gears, sprockets, cogs and pulleys, thanks to the board game – Mousetrap. I enjoyed watching things in motion and how they affect their neighboring parts.

The functionality of this project, relies solely on gears and how they mesh together. So one could imagine my disappointment when I was experiencing grinding and locking while the gears were in motion only after almost 1 revolution. I wasn’t sure why my project was being hampered with this problem, but then again….since I’m new to the whole Lego gears universe, I could not begin where to start troubleshooting.  After about an hour or so of getting nowhere, I decided to take a break and come to a stopping point before my own gears between my ears started to smoke, grind and come to a halt of its own.

The next morning after a good night’s sleep, I am blessed with a reassurance that I will not only solve my “gears” problem on that day,  but I will solve it in about an hour or at least an hour after my morning ritualistic cup of Sumatran Reserve. I kept telling myself that the problem was already solved and the project was just waiting for me to execute the correction.

After careful re-examining the problem area, specifically the gear that rests vertical, I begin to  remove some of the  bryxx that exposes the axle that it’s connected to. I notice a slight lift of the axle itself. It’s not very noticeable to the naked and untrained eye, but I happen to be very anal retentive and see it plain as day.

Somehow, I was remembering visions of  the bryxx that are “salt & peppered” in all my Lego bins that feature bite marks, thanks to my now 8 year old son. I started to rummage through any given bin and found a brick that would best describe what I’m about to show.

Tasty brick....needs salt.

Hopefully, by this photo, you can see the bite mark that rests towards the left of the pic on top portion of the bottom Lego plate. (Click on photo for a slightly larger pic).  As you can see, the bite mark left an imperfection on the plate itself which created a “lip” of some sort and it prevents the top plate to properly snap to the bottom plate, creatiing a rift or a raise to the top plate. Notice that the gap between the 2 plates is larger toward the left vs. the right side??? Properly locked bryxx illustrate a clean and even hairline gap from one side to the other which is clearly missing in the above photo. It wasn’t these 2 plates that were featured in my project but you can start to get the idea that any bryxx that were resting on the slightly askewed top plate, would indeed affect any and all adjoining pieces that were supported by this plate to begin with.

That’s what essentially caused the lift of the axle that was connected to the gear that laid vertical. Great! Woo-freaking-Hoo! But now the question is……..which piece has the imperfection?

The search for block.

Yep, time to get up and walk around to wake my legs up because I’ve been sitting “indian-style” for nearly 30 minutes while playing Sherlock Holmes in figuring out the culprit to my grinding gear problem. Since I’m up, another cup of joe wouldn’t be bad either. Ok….back to work. It’s at this time that I start meticulously eyeballing literally every piece of brick on the main section of my project and start looking for imperfections which only took about a minute or so. The faulty piece was resting toward the bottom of the main section, so with my trusty brick separator, I begin to deconstruct the main body and making my way to affected brick to swap it out with a newer conditioned piece.

Problem solved and a lesson learned.

After reconnecting the last piece of the main body, I test the gears by giving the crank arm that the axle is connected to, a few turns and what-d’ya-know…the sound of gears meshing and spinning continuously with no grinding is achieved. One step forward the completion of this project and a lesson gained of checking each proposed piece to be used in upcoming projects for bite marks and other imperfections, before going into any MOC from here on out. This Lego “newbie” is forever grateful of this and the upcoming lessons that I will learn in working with these wonderful bryxx.

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