LEGO Digital Crawler with EV3 Controlled Gear Box

This LEGO remote controlled crawler uses a sequential gearbox from Sariel and a Mindstorms EV3 to control the car. The remote control used force feedback and offers proportional control over speed and direction. It also allows you to change gears and change the forward and backward drive. The two EV3 Mindstorms communicate using Bluetooth. The remote uses two rotation sensors to measure speed and direction.

The building instructions are available for LEGO Digital Designer and Please notice that I had to replace the 35188 Technic Changeover Rotary Catch with another gear in the digital model and I could also not include Mindsensors Glide Wheel Rotation Sensor. These bricks do not yet exist in digital form. I also put up the model are ReBrickable and the inventory there is almost complete. Feel free to also use different wheels. In the LDD model I also had to use other shocks.

Here is a video that explains the model’s function:

And here is the crawler in action:



Race3 Extreme Offroad Car

I built a new version of my Race cars series (Race1, Race2) with the logical name Race3. This time I am using the SBrick to control the car which gives its proportional steering control. This is great for driving curves. Race3 features individual suspension, ball bearings and a very low centre of gravity. You can drive it up and down pretty much any rock or mountain. Here is a video of what it can do.

And here are some photos of the model. Building instructions are also available. I also put up this MOC over at Rebrickable.

Comparison of LEGO Render Tools

Building LEGO digitally has many advantages, such as having an unlimited number of bricks at your disposal. While these digital models can be shared it is also desirable to create a photorealistic rendering of the final model. There are currently three major software packages to build digital LEGO:

  • LEGO Digital Designer
    This is the most comfortable editor for all platforms, but LEGO’s support for this software is in doubt. The build in render engine is not the best, but you can use Bluerender that in turn uses PovRay for rendering your model.
  • LDraw
    Draw is the oldest software and it is maintained by the LEGO community. There are several different editor and render tools available.
    This software was developed by Bricklink and it uses LDraw for its parts and PovRay for the rendering. In its newest Beta version is using a new render engine called Eyesight.
  • Mecabrick
    This online software runs in your browser and you need to pay for having your image rendered on theirs server farm. They did not have the L-Motor in their library and hence I could not render my model there.

So lets compare the results of the render engines. Below you find the rendered images of all software packages set to their maximum quality level. I also uploaded these images to Flickr. It is very clear that the new rendering engine from is far superior to all other rendering engines and this alone might motivate you to adopt this software as your default LEGO digital design tool.

It is also interesting to notice how efficient uses the computers computing power to render. Here is a screenshot of my CPU load during rendering: