LEGO Technic along with LEGO System is one of The LEGO Company’s main lines. It is based on creating detailed model machines and mechanical toys with specialized beams and connectors to create details more accurately and smoothly. The theme is primarily designed for ages 9 and up, and was first introduced as the Expert Builder series in 1977, was renamed as “Technic” in 1984 and briefly introduced a new kind of figure, the Technic Figure. Most Technic themes are now discontinued. A new type of constraction figure called Ultrabuild was released in 2013. Modern minifigures have never apeared in a Technic set. The Technic theme is characterized by the presence of axles, gears, connector pegs, and many other parts rarely seen in typical LEGO System sets. Technic is still currently an active theme, and is one of the longest-lasting themes in LEGO History. Almost all Technic sets are vehicles, and thus use pieces to mimic real vehicles, such as engine pieces, suspension, pneumatic, and transmission pieces. In recent years, System sets have begun to adopt previously Technic-exclusive parts, particularly in the Exclusives and Star Wars sets. Many modern sets, including Technic sets themselves, blur the distinction between the 2 systems considerably.
Mindstorms, a LEGO line of robotic products, uses an enormous number of Technic pieces, although it is sold as a separate line of products. The next generation of the Mindstorms range, “Mindstorms NXT” (released in August 2006), is based on Technic’s stud-less construction method. Technic has always had a massive variety of electric motors. Some are connected via built-in batteries, others use connected battery boxes, and still others run on mainly electricity using a transformer. Most modern sets use batteries. Early Technic motors used the standard 4.5V system, interchangeable with the Trains theme and consisted of a large brick with a small protruding axle. When the motor is activated, the axle rotate. From 1990 onward, this was changed to the 9V system in line with other LEGO themes. The output rotation has a high RPM, but low torque, so it cannot be used to turn heavy objects without additional gears. Later motors contained a hole into which an axle of any length can be inserted in. In late 2007, a new motor system was released. It was called Power Functions, and was first used in the Motorized Bulldozer Set 8275. The system consisted of a set of motors, 2 infrared receivers, a battery box, and an infrared remote control. 1 receiver would connect to the battery box, and the other would connect to the motors.
The main components of LEGO Technic:
Beams: Beams are long blocks with rows of round holes. All spokes are a pin wide, but can have varying lengths. They form the basic structure of the Technic system. Prior to 2000, Technic beams had studs like regular bricks, while modern sets have rounded, studless edges, officially known as “studless constructions“.
Pegs: Pegs are small cylindrical pieces that fit into the holes in the beams. The 2 most common types of pegs are called “connector pegs“, which join 2 beams together. The black or blue connector plugs hold the 2 beams firmly together, while the gray or brown connector plugs form loose hinges. Pegs have also been seen in the System sets.
Axes: Axes, sometimes known as transverse axes, are cross-shaped rods. They are most often used in rotating parts. When inserted into the holes of the beams, they can rotate freely. Like the beams, the planks are measured in stud lengths. Axes with even lengths are colored black and axes with odd lengths are gray. There are some special axes which are colored differently.
Gears: Gears are flat cylinders with holes in the center. Most have teeth around the edges. A large majority of gears can fit the axles perfectly. When used with rubber bands or cords, some gears can form pulleys. Most modern gears have a wide pin and feature anchor holes.
Bands: Bands can have various uses in Technic sets. They can be used for pulleys by connecting 2 sprockets and can form tire imprints if you wrap a small rubber band around a single large wheel.
Pneumatic System: This system mimics real-life pneumatic and hydraulic systems using compressed air to move linear actuators.
Springs: Springs are used for shock absorbers and suspension.
String: The string is used for cranes and winches.
Decorations: decorative elements, such as stickers, are used to decorate a model or add a label to the controls.
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