Lego Technic

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"Technic" redirects here. Technic may also refer to Technique.
Lego Technic
Technic logo.svg
Other names Expert Builder
Technical Lego
Sub‑themes Pneumatics
Availability 1977–Present
Total sets 100+
Official website
Early example of LEGO Technic.

Technic is a line of Lego interconnecting plastic rods and parts. The purpose of this series is to create more advanced models with more complex movable arms, such as machines with wheels, in addition to the simpler brick-building properties of normal LEGO.

The concept was introduced as the Expert Builder series and originally Technical Sets in 1977,[1] and was renamed Technic in 1984.

Technic sets are often characterised by the presence of special pieces, such as gears, axles, pins, and beams. Some sets also come with pneumatic pieces or electric motors. In recent years, technic pieces have begun filtering down into other Lego sets as well, the power miners, and others, but mostly notably the Bionicle sets (which were once sold as part of the Technic line), as well as a great many others.

The style of technic sets has been changing over time. Technic sets produced since the year 2000 use a different construction method, described as "studless construction" (Studs are the small circular knobs which appear on traditional Lego bricks). This method utilises beams and pins rather than technic bricks.

Mindstorms, a Lego line of robotic products, also uses a large number of Technic pieces, although it is sold as a separate line of products. The latest generation of the Mindstorms range, the Mindstorms EV3 range (released September 2013), as well as the Mindstorms NXT sets (released August 2006), are based on the studless construction method.

"Studded" versus "studless"[edit]

A construction using the old pieces with studs.

Although studless beams (studs are the bumps traditionally associated with Lego parts) have been present in Technic sets for many years, the change from primarily studded to primarily studless construction represented a major paradigm shift and has been quite controversial.

A vehicle using the new pieces without studs.

The primary advantage of studless construction is the addition of new construction methods that were previously unavailable. The new studless beams are exactly 1 unit width high, in contrast to studded beams, which are a non-integer multiple of one unit. It can be awkward to use studded beams in vertical structures because it is necessary to insert plates between the studded beams in order to get the holes to line up. Studless beams allow greater flexibility when building in multiple dimensions, while remaining compatible with "classic" studded beams. Some builders also believe that models constructed with studless beams look nicer than their studded counterparts.[2]

However, studless construction also introduces disadvantages. Studless construction is not immediately intuitive, requiring the builder to think five or six steps ahead.[3] While studded construction follows the classic bottom-to-top building pattern, studless construction requires building inside-to-outside.[4]

As of 2005, Lego has begun to re-incorporate studded bricks back into the Technic line, which can be seen in sets such as 8421 (found on Peeron), The Mobile Crane.

Lego Technic components[edit]

Lego Technic system expands on the normal LEGO bricks with a whole range of new bricks that offer new function and building styles. The most significant change from normal LEGO is that single-stud wide bricks ('beams') have circular holes through their vertical face, positioned in-between the studs. These holes can accommodate pins, which enable two beams to be held securely together, either side-by-side, or at an angle.

Motors[edit]

LEGO Technic system has always included a variety of different electric motors. Broadly, these divide into those powered by batteries, held in a connected battery box, or by mains electricity, via a transformer. Battery-power is the most common.

The very earliest motors (p/n x469b) were 4.5 Volt, and consisted of a modified "Electric Train Motor" (p/n x469) and along with the 4 driven bushes for wheels added an axle hole enabling axles of different lengths to be used. While these were released in kits with Technic parts they were not sold as Technic motors.

The first dedicated Technic motor was a 4.5 Volt rounded brick (p/n 6216m) released in 1977 as part of the Expert Builder Power Pack (960-1) and Supplementary Set (870-1), this output via a small protruding axle that would rotate when the motor was powered. The motor was not geared, resulting in high-RPM, low-torque output. Gearboxes and a square casing were available.

The 4.5 Volt motor was replaced by a similar but square 9 Volt motor in 1990.

Recent motors contain an axle hole enabling axles of different lengths to be used.

LEGO Technic Crane Truck (Power Functions)

Power Functions[edit]

In late 2007, a new motor system was released called Power Functions; it was included within Lego set 8275 Motorised Bulldozer. It comprised a set of motors, two IR receivers, remote control and a battery box, thus resulting in a remote-control model.

With these sets it is possible to build or convert manually-operated mechanical movement to motorised using electric motors which are controlled via switches or IR remote control. Future plans for this set include more parts which will add even more function/control possibilities.[citation needed] Lego has already started to design and sell Lego Technic models (sets) which can be easily retrofitted with Power Functions blocks. For example models like the 8294 Excavator, 8295 Telescopic Handler or 7645 MT-61 Crystal Reaper are sold like classic Lego Technic models with manual motorisation but are designed with free space for the Power Functions components with factory instructions on how to perform the conversion to an electrically operated model.

Number Name Released
870 Lego Technical Motor, 4.5 V 1977 (discontinued)
960 Lego Expert Builder Power Pack 1978 (discontinued)
8881 AA Power Functions Battery Box 2008
8882 Power Functions XL-Motor 2008
8883 Power Functions M-Motor 2008
8884 Power Functions IR Receiver 2008
8885 Power Functions IR Remote Control 2008
8886 Power Functions Extension Wire 2008
8866 Train Motor 2009
8869 Power Functions Control Switch 2009
8870 Power Functions Light 2009
8871 Power Functions Extension Wire 20” 2009
8293 Power Functions Motor Set 2009
8878 Power Functions Rechargeable Battery Box 2009
8887 Power Functions Transformer 10 VDC 2009
8879 Power Functions IR Speed Remote Control 2009
61100c01 Windup Motor 2 × 4 × 213 with Orange Release Button (Power Functions) 2009
88000 AAA Battery Box 2011
88002 Lego Power Functions Train Motor 2011
88003 Power Functions Large Motor 2012
88004 Power Functions Servo Motor 2012

The Power Functions line-up also includes a Linear Actuator currently not sold separately, but already used in many models like the 8294 Excavator and the 8043 Motorised Excavator.

Pneumatics[edit]

Main article: Lego pneumatics

Gears[edit]

Various Lego Technic gears.

Gears have been included within Lego Technic sets as a way of transferring rotary power, and of gearing-up or down the speed. Gears come in several sizes: 8 tooth, 16 tooth, 24 tooth and 40 tooth spur gears; 12 tooth, 20 tooth and 36 tooth double bevel gears; and 12 tooth and 20 tooth single bevel gears. The double bevel gears are cut so they can also be meshed as spur gears. There is also a 16 tooth clutch gear, and a 24 tooth friction gear that slips when a certain amount of torque is put on it to prevent motors from damaging any parts or burning themselves out.

In addition to standard gears, some kits include a rack, a clutch and even worm gears and differential gears. The original differential had a 28 tooth bevel gear, designed to be meshed with the 14 tooth bevel gears (replaced by the 12 tooth gears) to give 2:1 reduction. They can also be meshed with the newer double bevel gears. It was replaced by a newer design incorporating 16 tooth and 24 tooth gears on opposite sides of the casing. The casing holds three 12 tooth bevel gears inside.

As of 2008, an updated version of the original differential has been released, optimised for studless construction.

Chain links were also introduced as an additional way of connecting gears. Tension (resulting from the correct number of chain-link parts used), along with the combination of gearwheel-sizes used, is critical to reliable operation. 8-tooth gears are not recommended for this purpose.

Technic Action Figures[edit]

TECHNIC Figures are figures that appeared in TECHNIC sets, especially from the CyberSlam/Competition line. They were first introduced in 1986 in the Arctic Action line. They are much larger and have several more joints than the standard minifigure, including bendable elbow and knee-joints. Each figure comes already assembled and is not meant to come apart, but parts can be popped off by pulling too hard. They can connect to both standard LEGO System bricks and on TECHNIC parts, and TECHNIC pegs can fit in their hands. 27 different kinds of Technic figures were created,[5] some sets included the same figures but with different accessories and stickers

See also[edit]

References[edit]