Friday, December 19, 2008

AlphaRex with LEGO Rechargable Battery

First of all, Merry Christms to all blog readers!! To celebrate, I have created instructions for installing the LEGO Rechargeable Battery into the Alpha Rex, without a complete overhaul of the model!


After you have built the Alpha Rex, here are the extra parts you will need: 

We will only be modifying the torso of the Alpha Rex:

Step 1:
Step 2:
Step 3:
Step 4:
Step 5:
Step 6:
Step 7:
Step 8:
Swap Batteries here:
Step 9:
Step 10:
Step 11:
Step 12:
Step 13:
Amd that's it!! This minor modification worked for me, however, if it doesn't work for you, tell me and I will trry to solve any issues. If you find an issue, solve it, and send it to my e-mail address, I will credit you with your find.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

NXTLog Holiday Building Challenge!

With the coming up of various holidays, NXTLog have released a new competition, to build a  seasonal holiday related robot!!

The bot can be anything to do with seasonal holidays, Christmas, Thanks-Giving, etc,  and you have until the 31st December, 2008 to submit it.

All entries must be tagged with "NXT200812"

The same rules as other NXTLog competitions also apply
To see the article on NXTLog, click here

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Model Inspiration

Hey all, you may have seen articles like this on the NXTStep, but I hope to give you some other ideas for building NXT models in this quick post:

1) Films - After watching a film or Television program, you might remember a few "trademark" images, for instance, a vehicle or machine. These can become great NXT models with some imagination and practical building skills. Examples of these include, Jungle-Cutter from Indiana Jones, Batpod from "The Dark Knight", "WALL-E" from WALL-E, etc.

2) Machines - Machines are often very good for replicating with NXT, as both their design and functions can be copied using the various sensors, motors, and other elements from LEGO. Examples of these include; Whac-a-mole, Robotized Bulldozer, etc
3) Vehicles - These are probably some of the easiest and most common creations to build, as many require only the basics of NXT building and programming skill to make. Some examples include; Drag Racer, autonomous robots, etc

4) Vehicle/Machine Hybrid - a mixture of the two, these are usually more advanced than a vehicle, and can be very technical, using gears, motors and sensors to get the job done. These are models like bulldozers, mobile cranes, etc.
5) Household Equipment - This group is very similar to the machines classification, but are used for household purposes, e.g. hover, blender, treadmill.
6) Fighting machines - Also branching out of the machines category, fighting machines can be challenging to make and be very entertaining to watch and play around with. Classic examples of these are Sumobots. Have a look at some here

7) Challenges – A challenge such as those on NXTlog can give you an idea for a model you might otherwise have never built. Check NXTLog for some great models from such challenges here, and have a look at previous challenges from NXTLog here

See what else you can think of. There are still many good ideas for building models waiting to be found. Think of what you have, what functions your creation would need, what sensors and other hardware you can/have to use.

And most of all, have fun challenging yourself!!!

More inspiration can be found on the NXTStep.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NXTLog's Cool Creature Building Challenge

Hey all, it has been a while since I last blogged or built anything, and this will continue to be so for about another 3 weeks due to exams, but I will still try to update this blog site when ever possible. This next article is probably quite old by now, but I will quickly mention it here anyway.

The Challenge? To build the coolest creature possible using LEGO MINDSTORMS! As quoted from the official NXTLog page on this competition:

Creature" for this contest means animals of any sort. So go out and build the most creative robotic animal you can imagine.

The competiton closes on Friday 31st October, 2008, and your entry must be tagged with "NXT200810" to be able to compete in the challenge. You must also explain how the robot is an animal in your NXTLOG documentation.

The Official NXTlog page for this challenge is here

Thats all for now, I have a few ideas for my next MINDSTORMS creation, which will hopefully be posted here after my exams.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hi-Technic's new EOPD Sensor!

Recently Hi-Technic released their new Electro Optical Proximity Decetion sensor, or EOPD, a sensor that can:

"accurately detect objects and small changes in distance to a target . The EOPD or Electro Optical Proximity Detector uses an internal light source to detect the presence of a target or determine changes in distance to a target. By generating its own light source, the EOPD is able to filter out all external light signals so as a robot moves from bright areas to dimmly lit areas or through shadows, the EOPD automatically compensates and only returns a signal based on its own light source. Targets can be accurately detected over distances up to 12 inches (30 cm)"
(Hi-Technic's Website)

I will fully review this new sensor when I can get my hands on one ;-)
Meanwhile, check out Hi-Technic's webpage here for more information. This sensor currently costs $73.94USD to order and ship to New Zealand, or $46.99USD for the sensor excluding postage etc. To place an order, visit HiTechnic.

Also, if you didn't already know, there is a new HiTechnic IR-Link PowerFunctions block, that allows the NXT to control a PF motor's speed and direction. This NXT-G block can be found here

Friday, August 1, 2008

NXT Jungle Cutter

Straight from "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" comes the NXT Jungle Cutter! As seen in the film, the NXT Jungle Cutter can cut down trees using its' front saw blades (Exo-Force Wheels), and crush stray branches and twigs with its' 'Grinder' mounted just above the front triangular 'shield' (See Pictures).The NXT brick is mounted behind all of this inside the cabin of the Jungle Cutter.The NXT Jungle Cutter uses two NXT Servo Motors, as well as 2 PF Motors (One PF Motor is a dud, and is mainly a cosmetic and used to keep the model symetrical and balanced). The PF motors are connected to the NXT Brick using a converter cable that was made by cutting a PF Motor wire and a NXT cable wire in half, and then soldering them together. One PF Motor controls the front saw, and the other the Grinder mounted just above the saw.

The Saw and Grinder,

The 'Saw' of the NXT Jungle Cutter was made using two wheels from the Exo-Force model "Mobile Devastator (Set# 8108), and is powered using one PF Large Motor (The other PF motor is a 'dud', and is used to keep the model symmetrical). As one wheel turns, powered by the PF motor, it meshes with the other wheel, allowing it to rotate as well. A castor wheel has been attached to the Exo-Force wheels to help them balance and mesh.

The Grinder is mounted just above the saw, and is powered using a small PF motor and a worm gear.

The Tracks

The Tracks of the NXT Jungle Cutter are both powered by individual Servo Motors, and are connected to the front of the model either side of the 'saw'.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NXT Batpod - Videos

I have just uploaded a video of the NXT Batpod being autonomous on YouTube, here it is:

Another video of the NXT Batpod in action can be found here

Monday, July 14, 2008

NXT BatCycle ( Batpod )

To celebrate the release of Batman’s latest film, “The Dark Knight”, the NXT BatCycle was created! Armed and dangerous, the BatCycle can handle any opponents it may encounter with its’ hidden rocket launcher that expands from the body of the bike. With its’ large wheel area, the NXT BatCycle can also stand and move unaided! (with minor turning exceptions)

The BatCycle is a possible NXT (NeXT) generation of the Dark Knight’s vehicle collection, and has been designed in terms of style to be as similar to Batman’s other vehicles (Batmobile, Batwing, Batboat, etc) as possible (Black TECHNIC panels)

The BatCycle’s documentation has been split up into four main modules, as well as a small section on the NXT BatCycle’s weapon, and how to construct the black TECHNIC panels from the TECHNIC Tow Truck (Set No. 8285). An .LXF file of the basic construction of the BatCycle as well as a basic program, have also been provided on the NXTLog page for this model.

For more information on the NXT BatCycle, please check out its' NXTLog page here

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NXTLog Summer Olympics Challenge!

With the upcoming Summer Olympics almost upon us, NXTlog has released a new Building Challange! The Summer Olympics Building Challenge requires the competitiors to create a NXT robot that would be able to compete in the Summer Olympic Games. An excellent inspirations list has been compiled on the NXTLog page if you are stuck for ideas. The usual competition rules apply, and the projects that wish to be entered into the competition have to be tagged with "NXT200808". All entries have to be submitted before Sunday 31st August, 2008.

More information on this new challenge can be found at the NXTLog page here

Monday, July 7, 2008

NXT NXT Competition - Results

The results of the NXT NXT competition are in... and the NXT Whac-A-Mole recieved the creative use of NXTlog award! Here are the judge's comments:

"One of the most creative projects submitted to this challenge, a NXT Whac-A-Mole! The idea of this model is to push, or hit as many moles that pop in and out of the "Mole Whacking Platform" as quickly as possible. When a mole is hit, a score indicator mole that is attached to the score tower will be raised. The NXT Whac-A-Mole is controlled and powered by two NXT bricks, one controlling the mole's touch sensors and motors, and the other controlling the score tower and indicator, light sensors, and any other sensors and motors that cannot be plugged into the first NXT brick. LinearActuator provides excellent pictures, a detailed NXTLOG and screen shots of the master and slave prgrams. We would love LinearActuator to share an LDD file and a video of the robot in action. (This is LinearActuator's 2nd project on NXTLOG.)"

I am pleased that the NXT Whac-A-Mole has won an award title, but I am going to try and aim higher during the next competition and try to achieve the Champion award!

More info on the results of the NXT NXT Competition can be found here

More Information on the NXT Whac-A-Mole can be found here

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New LEGO Account system

Hey all,

Recently LEGO updated their User Account System, and if you already have a LEGO account you need to activate it. Once this message appears after you have logged in, you will have TWO weeks to activate your account or it will be deleted.
Also, have a look at the LEGO Universe MMOG webpage and check out the "Creations Lab" and Competitions section if you are looking for some more LEGO competitions to enter.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

NXT Whac-A-Mole

After blogging about the latest NXT competition, I decided that I might as well enter it. My entry? A NXT Whac-A-Mole! All of the details can be seen on NXTLog(

Here is a link to a YouTube video showing the NXT Whac-A-Mole in action!

The NXT Whac-A-Mole uses two NXT bricks and an assortment of motors and sensors to create an excellant entertaining and amusing game machine that the whole family can enjoy.


The score tower was made using the Catapillar tracks also from the Techic Bulldozer. When a point is scored, the tracks move, causing an attached score indicator to be raised or lowered.

When the score indicator reaches the top of the tower, an Ultrasonic Sensor tells the master NXT brick to lower the score indicator and begin a new, faster, harder game for the player.

The Light sensors and Hi-Technic Colour Sensor are used to help create an exciting atmosphere, and can easily be programmed to light up in a series of patterns when the player scores a point.

Using Bluetooth, the "Slave" NXT brick tells the "Master" brick whenever a mole is hit. The moles are made out of many engine chassis from such models as the Technic Bulldozer. When hit, the engine chassis pushes down onto a touch sensor, which tells a NXT brick to add a point to the player's score, raising a point indicator attached to a score tower.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NXT NXT Challenge!

The NXT NXT challenge is the latest building challenge from LEGO! Your model has to incorperate two NXTs, but only one has to be built into your creation, so the other one can be used as a remote control, etc. The NXT bricks HAVE TO communicate with each other though, so some knoledge on how to program a NXT brick to communicate via Bluetooth may be useful. All participating models have to be uploaded complete with write-up, .RBT file, LDD file(!), pictures and the Tag "NXT200805" by Monday the 30th June, 2008.
Making an LDD file with LEGO Digital Designer is a rather off putting thought though, as that element of the submission will probably take the longest time to complete (After the physical model of course!)
Here's a link to the Official LEGO website for this challenge:

New LEGO PowerFunctions Winch Block

While browsing through a shop in a mall, a new LEGO Creator Model caught my eye, the #4995 Cargo Copter. With this set comes the new LEGO Power Functions Winch Block, an interesting new addition to the Power Functions series of LEGO elements. (Sorry bout the bad quality of the Pic - I will try and get a better quality one soon)

The PF Winch Block looks like the PF Sound Block with a spool of thread attached to the side. I presume that the PF Winch Block works slightly like the PF Sound Sensor, when the button is pressed the winch lowers or raises.As I do not currently own this new PF element I can't say much about it, but when I compared the size of the PF Battery Box to the length of the PF Winch's thread on the box's picture, it didn't look very long.

The Cargo Copter set currently costs around $40NZD, which, when compared to what you get, is slightly overpriced. I personally will wait and see if the PF Winch is included in another, better value for money set, before purchasing.

A Link to the Official LEGO Creator page for the #4995 Cargo Copter:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finally, a Blog!!!

Welcome to my new Blogspot page. Here I will post my LEGO MINDSTORMS creations and review the latest LEGO TECHNIC and MINDSTORMS elements and books.