With other members of the Bay Area LEGO Users Group, I helped install a new [tag]aquarium[/tag]-themed display at the Stoneridge Mall [tag]LEGO[/tag] store in [tag]Pleasanton[/tag], CA on Feb 20, 2006. My contributions to this display were two fish and some seaweed.
The fish that appear to be floating in air, and the seaweed that I created (on the left side of the “tank,” made out of LEGO palm frond pieces) are suspended by threads, at the other end of which are magnets that cling to the shelf above the display. The large octopus is suspended by threads too, but it’s too heavy for magnets so the threads are wrapped around the shelf supports.
See photos on Flickr or on Brickshelf.
This is another model that I built 3 years ago but only recently posted the pictures online.
This, along with the recently posted Road Bridge, was built for the BayLTC train layout in 2003.
The cliff module was designed to come apart into several sections for ease of transportation and storage. Each section connected to the next one using Technic pegs. At one end, I built a peninsula with a space for Russell Clark’s lighthouse. It had an opening, recessed by one plate’s thickness, to accomodate a 16×32 stud baseplate.
The launch ramp road piece, like the road pieces on the bridge, came from LEGO’s 6600 Highway Construction set. It had stairs leading down to a small dock.
The lifeguard tower and beachgoers were contributed to the layout by club member Mark Benz.
In 2003 (or maybe 2002) I built a bridge for the BayLTC train layout. But it wasn’t a train bridge, it was a road bridge (for cars and trucks).
The road pieces came from LEGO’s 6600 Highway Construction set, and the bridge’s structural elements were built of Technic bricks.
Most of the angles in the bridge truss design follow some multiple of the 3-4-5 triangle. This is one of the most useful laws of trigonometry: if you have a triangle with sides 3, 4, and 5, or any multiple of that (such as 30, 40, 50) then they will form a perfect right triangle (a triangle where one of the angles is exactly 90 degrees). Why? Because of the Pythagorean Theorem: in any right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the 90° angle) is always equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. And it so happens that 32 + 42 (9 + 16) is equal to 52 (25).
In LEGO, the 3-4-5 triangle is achieved by attaching pieces in distances of 4-5-6 studs. Why? Because of the “fencepost effect” – if you make the connection on the 1st and 4th stud, that’s actually a distance of 3 (since 4-1=3). The same goes for the 4 and 5 unit length sides. In this model, the center trusses are formed by 3-4-5 triangles scaled up by a factor of 6. So the “4” sides (the vertical) are really 24 (actually 25, because of the fencepost effect) tall. The angled trusses are made by sheer guesswork, however. Luckily, there’s enough slop in LEGO connections to make it not really be necessary to always get it just right. When working on this, I built what I called a “Pythagorometer” – a model of the 3-4-5 triangle at various scales – to try to make the angles work out. I’ll post more about that later.
I recently discovered a batch of pictures of this bridge that had never been posted online, taken at the July 2003 GATS layout. You can see them at a Flickr gallery.
Today I met with other members of [tag]BayLUG[/tag] to set up a new display at the Stoneridge mall [tag]LEGO[/tag] store in Pleasanton, CA. We had a display there for the past month with a Christmas theme, but I wasn’t involved in that. The new theme is miniature models of [tag]San Francisco landmarks[/tag]: I made [tag]Transamerica Pyramid[/tag] and [tag]Lombard Street[/tag] models, which are now on display along with a Coit Tower model from Russell Clark and a waterfront scene by Paul Sinasohn that included a tall ship and the car ferry Sausalito.
My wife Holly took photos of the event and put them on Flickr. UPDATE 21-Feb-2006: Photos also now available on Brickshelf.