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My computer. Note the full suspension mountain bike on the left, with the front suspension only model next to it. Bottom left is the compressor, bottom right a barcode reader mounted on the rubber tracks from 8414.

My desk... covered in mess but fairly lego-centric. The model is the front stabilising arms off the forklift/ handler model. The arms are down here, but lift somewhat over 90 degrees and also pivot about a vertical axis to allow ajdustment. The cables are a bank of Technic switches that connect to a mains 9V power supply to let me power decent numbers of motors (I have about 15 or 20 motors...).

Swing your eye left 90 degrees and it's just as bad. And there's a PC as well. Erk! From the bottom left of the image working clockwise we have: a home-made lowloader trailer with the model team big rig on top of it. The big rig can also tow the lowloader. Then the big yellow box trailer for that rig. behind that is an 8865, the old red technic car chassis. On top of the monitor is a more-or-less standard dragster from 1999 and the Belville windurfer babe. Free dolphin with every model!

Here's a small technic tractor I made in about 1990 and put into my own PostScript Lego drawing system. Now it's available in LDraw because there's a standard! Click here Notable for the mobile front axle, working PTO and three point hitch at the back. I made various accessories for it, a mower and front bucket were the most cool.

The Telescopic Handler model

The is the current prototype of the main lifting arm, in its retracted/horizontal position. The lifting gear (black) is just there to show that that idea can work, it's not very good at this stage (can't go below horizontal, for instance.

In the raised/extended position it's a little nicer.

Note the heavy gearing on the lifting motor in the center of the base. This is the internally-geared 9V motor, geared down another 1: 81, with dual 24/8T gears on the final stage. I'm trying to avoid breaking any gears. I'm using motors rather than pneumatics to get fine positional control, which is quite hard with pneumatics, and pretty impossible if you want remote control. The only way I've thought of is getting various positions by having multiple sets of cylinders - if one set lift through 60 degrees, and a set on top of that through 30 degrees, you could get 0,30,60,90 degree positions without needing to worry about fine control. But I want real infinitely-variable positioning.

Note that I've had to give up on the idea of a micromotor on the end of the arm, they're just not strong enough. This model will lift a standard paperback book, but the micromotor would only tilt the forks. So there's another new motor out there to do that. An older 9V motor extends the arm, via the two way gearbox you can see on the left below:

Drive goes up the back (left) of the arm, then through the gearbox and onto one or other of the axles that run up to the right and extend the arm. These use worm drives to stop the arm sliding back when drive is removed.

The double bent liftarm is part of the rachet mechanism that stops the center arm from sliding back when both sections are extended. What happens is that as the center arm extends fully a liftarm pops out the side, stopping it from begin retracted again. As the middle section is pulled back, however, the bent liftarm is pushed by a grey sloping brick and forces that liftarm back in. This photo has it in the fully retracted position.

I took these photos in a bit of a hurry with a disposable camera, which is why they're so badly lit and the composition leaves a lot to be desired (I wasn't sure of the exact minimum focal distance). The only photo taken inside that came out was the computer one, the ones with the layout of my room and the big pile of Lego were too dim to be used. I'm going to get a decent camera and do this all properly soon- ish :-)

And here's the original photo that I used to design the model.