BayLUG at Maker Faire 2007

We had a great time at Maker Faire again this year.

BayLUG Group Photo

We had a train layout like usual, around 23 feet square, featuring a city downtown, CJ’s Hollywood diorama, a suburban area, farm, Bruce’s 10 foot bridge, rail yard with lots of rolling stock on display, James’s Goofy Train, and a new feature, with Jim and James collaborating on a double-figure-eight loop with Mindstorms control preventing any wrecks at the crossover tracks, and featuring Jim’s Hogwarts castle diorama. In addition we had several tables along the perimeter of the room with several items on display, including Jim’s Mindstorms/pneumatic calculator.

Click the big picture to go to the set page on Flickr, or click on an individual photo. Or, you can view a slideshow of the photos.

I also had a chance to wander around Maker Faire and take pictures of some of what I saw. You can find those pictures on Flickr (slideshow) as well.

BayLUG Group PhotoPhoto ShootJames In Photo ShootJim's CalculatorDC-3Johannes's Ancient BuildingsJeremy's LEGO TownPaul's CathedralJim's Santa Fe TrainsCJ's Hollywood Diorama IICJ's Hollywood Diorama IDowntown/HollywoodDowntown, featuring Johannes' skyscraperDowntown IIDowntown IDowntown/Figure Eight LandFigure Eight LandFigure Eight/HogwartsATATRide'em DinosaurboyHogwartsGoofy LandGoofy Trains ParkedYard 1Yard 2Yard 3Yard 4Yard CornerCraneFarmSuburbia 1Suburbia 2Suburbia 3Suburbia 4Suburbia OverheadJim Pointing to CalculatorDC-3 with Engines RunningDC-3 Front ViewJeremy Town during showJohannes' Ancient Buildings during showDesert Fort?Santa Fe Engines 1Santa Fe Engines 2Santa Fe Train CarsSanta Fe Trains by JimPagoda and Cathedral by PaulBruce's BridgeMeeting on the bridgeTrains on the bridgeIndustrial areaConstruction siteBig yellow crane by LindaYard during showRolling Stock on display during showGoofy LandHogwarts/Goofy Land during showHogwarts during showHogwarts and DinosaurHogwarts ExpressFast Train on Figure EightDowntown from Figure Eight during showTrain station and DowntownPark and CondoStreet SceneLooking UpLooking Up AgainJohannes' SkyscraperCJ's Hollywood DioramaParking LotTraffic Jam in SuburbiaHiking along the tracksView from InsideSuburbia/DowntownSuburbua with Finger PointingSuburbia/FarmFarmCowsBridge with Speeding TrainsSign

[tags]lego,baylug,bayltc,makerfaire,makerfaire2007[/tags]

Join us at Maker Faire!

This weekend, BayLUG will be taking part in Maker Faire, a celebration of creativity – from electronics to sculpture to sewing. We took part in it last year (see my blog entry including pictures from that event) and will have a bigger, better layout this year! Come by and say hi![tags]lego, makerfaire, baylug, bayltc[/tags]

Next BayLUG Meeting: April 15

The next Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group meeting will be April 15, 2007 at Museum of American Heritage. Please come by and see what people have to display, as well as buy/sell/trade.

Don’t know yet what I’ll be displaying, but I’m hoping to build some stuff before then. I’ll probably have stuff for sale too. At the moment, however, I’m on vacation in South Carolina (if you’re in the area and want to meet, let me know!), so I won’t be posting much LEGO stuff for the next week or so at least.

Caltrain F40PH Locomotive

I keep building stuff and using it in BayLTC displays but not posting them online! Here’s another example. This locomotive was built a few years ago, not long after I first got the Super Chief, which sadly has long been discontinued. Like the Super Chief, the top lifts off and it has a control cab with prime mover motor modeled inside. I also added a head-end unit.

Key features I’m particularly proud of are the cockpit windows (mounted on plate hinges) and cooling fans (made from 4×4 turntables, taken apart – the base is mounted on the top of the roof, and the top of the turntable is placed underneath to represent intakes). The nose is also mounted at a difficult angle; this is achieved by a combination of hinge elements.

The color scheme is based on the Caltrain commuter trains which run between San Francisco and San Jose, CA. The exterior detailing is minimal, and not terribly accurate (for one thing, the real thing has red and white stripes on the nose, not yellow and black), but at most of our train shows people have immediately recognized it as a Caltrain so I consider it a success.

View the pictures on Flickr (or view as a slideshow)

BrickFest PDX 2007

I’m very excited by the recent announcement that BrickFest PDX 2007 will be held next spring (March 30 – April 1) in Portland, OR. I missed the last one (in 2004) and after attending the big BrickFest in Washington, D.C. I’m very excited about all things BrickFest. I’m definitely planning to go, and hoping some of the other BayLUG members will take part as well. It’s unlikely we’d do anything as organized as schlep an entire train layout up there the way we did for the BricksWest 2003 convention, but hopefully we can make our presence felt in some way…

Mark your calendars now! Will I see you there?

Track Layout Geometry

Three years ago (on November 21, 2003) I wrote a page on my old site about
Track Layout Geometry showing some of the interesting things you can do with LEGO train track, for example, this method for running track on the 22.5° diagonal:

diagonal-22-turn

I was browsing my favorite blogs today and noticed that the page got mentioned on Mike Walsh’s blog (link removed, as his site has apparently been compromised). That prompted me to take another look at it, and I decided it really would be better to put it here on the Brickpile site. So I moved that page to this site, and changed the page on the old site to redirect to it with a 5-second delay using JavaScript. Thanks for the link Mike (and sorry for changing it out from under you)!

United Air Lines DC-3

When my father left the Navy and joined United Air Lines in the late 1950’s, he flew this plane, the DC-3.
DC-3

Like my Lunar Mobile Lounge, this has been at several BayLUG meetings, and now I am finally posting about it here.

Also like that model, it is motorized. There are two motors, located in the fuselage: one which powers the propellers and the other which makes the landing gear go up and down. There is a battery box in the fuselage that powers the propellers, and a wire coming out of the entry door leading to a battery box that controls the landing gear. In both cases, a Technic axle passes through the fuselage and the base of each wing. For the props, there are bevel gears in each engine which drive the propshafts. For the landing gear, the axle is mounted directly to the mechanism. A roof panel is removable to view the mechanism inside. Here’s a video I made to illustrate how it works (it’s also available as a QuickTime movie on Brickshelf):

There are other parts that move as well: the ailerons, elevators, and rudder are all freely hinged. Oh, and the wheels rotate :-) The wings and vertical tail can be removed easily for storage and transportation.

The fuselage is designed using half-stud offsets to achieve the desired shape. This means the walls are very fragile as they cannot be properly interconnected.

On the leading edge of each wing are “de-icing boots” which are made of rubber in the real plane. These are modeled using a curved brick that I got at LEGOLAND California in their “build it and buy it” area in 2003. I don’t know if they were ever part of an official LEGO set, but I never saw them anywhere else. It’s the same shape as the trans-light-blue spotlights in the Soccer sets. These “boots” are attached at an angle using plate hinges and plates, and have half-stud offsets to follow the desired wing angle.

Overall this was an interesting experiment in half-stud offsets and integrating a Technic mechanism into a realistic looking model. I learned a lot making this and hope you enjoy it.

Click the photo above to see more, or click to look on Flickr (slideshow) or on Brickshelf.

Micro Moonbase Monorail

At long last, here is the blog entry about my micro moonbase monorail.Micro Moonbase Monorail Last January, I got together with other members of BayLUG to install a “microscale space” display at the Valley Fair Mall LEGO store. I posted pictures and a description of that on my blog back then, but I always meant to post details about my model that was featured in the display. So here they are, eight months later – sorry!

Here we see two buildings connected by a monorail. At the right is a sort of office building which has an opening for the monorail to enter the building, inspired by the way they do at Disneyland (or is it WDW) where the monorail goes into the hotel (or at least, I think it did when I was a kid – does it still?). At the other end is a standalone station with a micro moonbase connection. In both cases, the monorail fits into the building closely enough that you can imagine it is an airtight connection (something that matters a lot on an airless moon…).

For the track I am using the straight 16-stud long track of the type originally produced for the 4.5V and 12V trains from long ago, but which has lately been available at the LEGO store Pick-A-Brick (in New Grey, natch). I designed a monorail car that fits nicely on the track. The only problem with the design is it would never be able to take any turns, so it’s a good thing I only have straight track of that type! :-)

Click the photo above to see more, or click to look on Flickr (slideshow) or on Brickshelf (pending moderation).

Dresdner Frauenkirche by Holger Matthes

Holger “HoMa” Matthes raises the bar yet again.

This is a model of the Dresdner Frauenkirche (or “Church of Our Lady in Dresden” as you might say it in English), a Lutheran church in Dresden which was bombed out during World War II. It was left in ruins for decades and recently rebuilt to match the original. The parts modeled in dark grey represent the ruins that were incorporated into the new building; the tan parts are the new parts that were added to restore the church. The model is 1.45m or 4’9″ tall!

He posted about this on LUGNET two weeks ago so it isn’t exactly news but I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a while and am only now getting around to it.

Apparently, LEGO’s master builders had made a model of the church before, which was on display in a department store as part of a fundraiser to pay for the reconstruction. The one from LEGO was about twice as tall, but I think HoMa’s is at least as good. For pics of that model and more info see this sub-thread from LUGNET.

I have a personal connection here: I visited HoMa and a few of his friends during my trip to Germany in 2001. I was impressed with his talent then, but he’s really excelled in the years since! The detail work on this model is just exquisite.

So if you’ve seen this already, click the pic and take a closer look. It’s impressive enough to deserve a second glance. And if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

No NWBrickCon for Me

It’s official, I’m not going to Northwest BrickCon. Having just gone to BrickFest a month ago I really can’t justify another trip right now, and besides BayLUG is having a meeting that weekend.

I was really hoping to go to NWBC to meet some of the folks who weren’t able to come to BF. I met a lot of west coast LEGO folks at BricksWest 2003, but haven’t seen any of them since, except for a few who made it to BF this year. Hopefully next year, NWBC and BF won’t be so close together!

I am still hoping to make it to BrickSouth next spring in Atlanta. I met a few of the Georgia classic space guys at BF and am looking forward to that event. Hopefully I can build some kind of impressive spacecraft to show there.