Friday, 5 April 2013

Review : Lego Technic 8065 Container Truck

We’ll return to see what happened on the third day of the Watford Grand Opening soon (1), but in the meantime, we take a break from our usual programming to actually look at some Lego!





Having started on my Technic journey with the 9390 Mini Tow-Truck, I had read several comparisons with an another, similarly sized set, the 8065 Mini Container Truck.  It had got favourable comments, so when I saw it on the shelf in one of our shops (2) I picked it up.

And recently, I actually got round to building it.

o o o o o

Review : Lego Technic 8065 Mini Container Truck

The 8065 set is another pocket-money priced (3), sit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand sized set, like the aforementioned Mini Tow-Truck.  It’s priced at £8.99, and looks like this…

Lego Technic 8065 Container Truck

Emptying out the box reveals 119 pieces, mostly in a couple of plastic bags, plus the actual container itself and a couple of loose beams. 

The contents of the box

In addition are the three manuals.  For some reason, which I am unable to fathom, Lego seem to do two smaller manuals for the ‘A’  model on these sets, and yet do one large manual for the ‘B’ design.  Neither one seems to be significantly more complex than the other, or involve a lot more steps, so why not two large, single manuals?

Who knows?

Anyway.  On with the build.

It was fairly straightforward, and a mistake-free build this time (4), so didn’t take long at all.  

The build starts of, understandably, with the chassis, and I was interested to see that there was a worm gear involved in what was to become the mechanism that moves the container off the back of the truck.  I’m something of a novice when it comes to engineering, which is one of the things that attracted me to Lego Technic in the first place.  It may be a toy, but it uses sound engineering principles as a basis for making things work.

I’d been given a copy of Pawel ‘Sariel’ Kmiec’s book ‘The Unofficial Lego Technic Builders Guide’ as a birthday present (5), and he starts off with some basics, things like explanations of torque, gearing up and down and so on.
So as it was, when I was installing the worm gear, I knew that it had to be a driver gear (i.e. the shaft that it was on would be powered, either by hand or a motor), and that the gear it was connected to would be the follower gear, i.e. driven by the worm gear.

How did I know this?

Because as Sariel points out, the unique thing about a worm gear is that it can only be a driver.  If you have two regular gear wheels together and they’re both free to spin, then turning axle A will spin gear wheel B, and conversely, spinning axle B will turn gear wheel A.

However, while turning the axle that a worm gear sits on will move the gear that’s connected to it, if you try and move the axle with the gear wheel , it won’t be able to turn the worm gear.

Maybe a picture would demonstrate it better…

I made this, partly to demonstrate this example and partly to justify the money I'd spent on sets for spares.

Turning wheel B rotates the axle that the worm gear is on.  This in turn drives the grey gearwheel, and so wheel A rotates.  However, wheel A cannot be turned by hand, as the wormgear effectively locks the grey gearwheel.

I explained all this to my wife, who was watching me build the set, and she was immediately impressed with the level of practical knowledge I was gaining through the use of Lego Technic, and gave me carte blanche to spend what I liked on it in future. (6)

But I digress.  
As you may have noticed, I do this a lot.

On with the build!  Again!

The chassis itself was fairly basic, because, I was rather disappointed to note, the front wheels don’t steer. All four are simply fixed.  After being impressed with the elegant steering solution of the Tow Truck, I guess I was expecting them all to be the same.  However, while 9390 had the cool steering and a simple ‘hook on a piece of string’ as it’s technical party trick, 8065 relied on its very neat container lifting mechanism.

A few pieces more and the arms of the lifting mechanism were in place, and the chassis was finished.

Once the chassis was built, the cabin of the truck was done as a completely seperate unit.  This solid little cab had an axle running down the back of it, with a gearwheel at each end.  The top was the HOG (Hand of God) wheel for turning, to activate the container mechanism, and the one at the bottom connected, at 90°, to the axle with the worm gear.

Once complete, the cabin sat, in an apparently quite wobbly fashion, on the front of the truck body, until I realised that the two pins sticking out of the sides at the front of the chassis weren’t in fact there for decoration, but now popped in, securing the cab.

Drop the container into place on the back of the truck, and the job is done!

The finished model

As mentioned, there’s no steering, the only ‘technical’ bit of this model is the mechanism to raise and lower the container, and it’s extremely neat!

Lowering the container

Overall, I’d have to say it’s as interesting to build as 9390, and about the same from a mechanical point of view, but from a ‘driving it round the dining room table’ point of view, 9390 edges it.

Having half an hour spare the next day, I decided to strip it down and try the ‘B’ model, which is described as a Pick Up Truck, but is better descibed as a Tow Truck.

The chassis is a distinctly simple affair, as is the cab.  With a tilted bonnet it has the look of a 1950’s American Pick up, although instead of having a flat bed on the back, 8065 has a (I have to say) rather ungainly mechanism which fits under the wheels of the vehicle that’s being towed.  To my eye it just looks like it sticks out a bit too far.

The completed 'B' model

Again it utilises the worm gear to elevate the tow arm, which is neat, but then I think the model’s rather spoiled by sticking some unnecessary pieces on.  I guess it’s to utilise some of the remaining parts - one piece is presumably supposed to be an exhaust pipe, but the two gear wheels stuck on the other side… really not sure what they’re there for.

Raising the towbar

Overall though, a very nice little set indeed.  I’d be tempted to dig some parts out of the spares box and try and incorporate a steering rack at the front, although that might make for a rather elongated chassis.  

Still - it’s what’s Lego’s for, after all!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(1) It’s not giving too much away to suggest that some Lego may have been purchased.
(2) Any time Mrs Boo and I want to buy something, our first thought is ‘Can we get it from John Lewis?’  
Love that discount!

(3) I say pocket money.  Not having any children, I have no idea what the going rate is these days.  When I first started receiving pocket money from my parents, it was the princely sum of 12½p.  As time went on, this got doubled to 25p, then 50p and so on.  I think by the time I was 16 I was raking in £2.00 a week, at which point I got a paper round.  For a while I was living the sort of wild, hedonistic life that £8.00 a week brings, but then I reached 17, started having driving lessons, which cost £7.50 per week, and went back to a life of abject poverty, scraping by on 50p a week.  Not long after that I got my first Saturday job and never looked back.

(4)  I’ve figured out why I’ve occasionally gone wrong in the past.  Each page has a large diagram showing where you’re putting the new parts in that step of the build.  At the top of the page, there’s a smaller diagram, listing which parts you need for that step (1 of these, 2 of those etc).
Having ‘bloke dna’, I obviously just look at the big picture, grab the bits and get on with it, which has previously resulted in having to disassemble bits of a model to fit a part I’d missed.  But if you look at the smaller diagram, and get the parts out first, then you know, when you’ve got no more parts left, that you’ve completed that step.


Don’t know why nobody’s thought of it before...

(5)  Excellent book.  Reveiw later.

(6) Actually, this last bit may not have happened.  She was interested in the gear explanation though.

1 comment:

  1. OMG yes welcome to the worm gear bro... And yes GRAB THE PARTS OUT AND PUT THEM IN A BOWL AT THE START OF A BUILD STEP... Id suggest get into lego mindstorms, then your missus would be really impressed...