Friday, April 8, 2016

Lego Model for 520 Bridge Grand Opening

For the 520 Bridge Grand Opening - the longest floating bridge in the world - Sealug made a 1:125 play scale 15' long model section of the bridge.  Thanks to all the folks that came to see it - all fifty thousand visitors!

Crowd of People at 520 Bridge Grand Opening

More Pix on Flickr Album

Wow, we're used to some big events, ECCC gets 70K or so people, Brickcon gets 15K or something.  50 thousand people is quite a bit, even if they didn't all stop in our tent!

People in Lego Bridge Tent
Our Lego Tent at 520 Grand Opening
Our model bridge is about 1/125th scale, 2' wide and 15' long (60cm x almost 5m) and took almost 19,000 bricks to build.  When we showed up at 7am it was pretty cold, but fortunately it warmed up to be a great day.

520 Lego Bridge Sealug Tent
Detail of Lego 520 Bridge
The original plan had a kids building area for Duplo and a building table for bigger kids to make cars to put on the model bridge.  After we started arranging things we had a little more space so expanded it to 2 tables.  Once kids started showing up at the most we had to start a 3rd build table!
Duplo Play Area
Kids' Car Building Area @ 520 Bridge

I wasn't sure how the public would react to the Lego area and was eager to see their reaction.  It was a bit disturbing to see the first people rush on past -- until I realized everyone was trying to make the bridge opening speeches in the middle of the bridge.  Even so I fear we may have delayed some families as kids started to build their cars.  After the official ceremony we were packed.

Tons of cars on Lego Bridge
I know that not every one of those 50,000 people stopped in our tent, but at times it felt like it.  We were wall to wall kids and cars were being loaded onto the Lego bridge faster than we could make room for them.  We hope all the kids had as much fun as we did.
Crowd in Lego Bridge Tent
Lots of people looking at Lego Bridge
Factoids:
  • Longest, and only, Lego bridge ever displayed on the longest floating bridge in the world.
  • 15 feet long and 2 feet wide, but still fits in our minivan!
  • 50,000 attendees on bridge day! WOW!
  • Peak capacity: 250 kid-built cars!
  • 50 microfig pedestrians
  • Built by 15 Sealug volunteers and a Lego class over several weekends.
  • Over 1000 antennas used as the pontoon railings.
  • Enough "lightsaber" blades to outfit 168 Jedi with gray lightsabers!
  • Gave away every bookmark we had for Brickcon Madness 2016  (except the one that fell behind a table).
Thanks to Alice's kids for helping build a bridge section, thanks to all the Sealug volunteers for helping to design and build the bridge.  Thanks to Dox and 520GoLong the 520 folks and everyone else for arranging the grand opening activities.  We had fun showing the bridge and tons of people had fun on bridge day!

More Pix on Flickr Album

We hope to show the bridge again for Brickcon 2016:  Madness! in October.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How I Kept From Getting Sick on the Forbidden Journey Harry Potter Ride.

Lots of people apparently get ill or nauseated on the Forbidden Journey Harry Potter ride, but I figured out how to stop that (for me).  The ride's really cool, but not if it ruins the rest of the day at the park!



We rode Forbidden Journey and it was cool - but I felt horrible the rest of the day, like I had a huge headache.  My daughter loved it though, so we went again the next day.  That time I closed my eyes for the movies - and I was fine!  I'd thought it was the robotic benches doing me in with all the motion, but really it's the movie scenes.

So we rode it again.  I was on an edge bench and peeked.  When your bench swoops in to the movie cut scenes, your bench is attaching itself to a rotating set of movie screens.  It looks like there are 5 or 6 or so screens stuck in a circle, rotating like a clock.  Your bench comes in, attaches to a screen, and then follows the screen, rotating clockwise or counterclockwise until the scene is over and then your bench swoops back out. 

How the Forbidden Journey
Movie Cut Scenes Work

In the above photo I've drawn a clockwise rotating set of screens with 3 benches watching the movie as one bench approaches and one leaves (like my blue swoosh lines?) 

With my eyes closed I could "feel" the movement of the bench gently following the screen in its circle - this is a subtle motion that the wild flying motion is on top of.  My problem is that when your eyes are open, the scene in front of you doesn't match that rotation. 

Sometimes in the movie your the scene darts in the direction of the real world motion. Those don't mess up my inner ear too much.  Sometimes the visible motion is mostly forward, but the real world still rotates around it's clock.  That's not too bad.  Sometimes the visible motion jerks completely opposite of the real world motion.  That's really bad! 

Now that I know what's happening I can "feel" the real world and that helps a ton.  If it feels too bad, I close my eyes.

FWIW, the "benches" are really interesting industrial robots attached at the back to supports that travel a preset path.  You can sometimes see the huge bit behind a neighbor's bench if you look off to the side.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Lego Cruise Ship is Back on Lego Ideas!

Take 2

We've stuck the Lego Disney Wonder back on Lego Ideas - Please support it now! https://ideas.lego.com/projects/128153.

And don't forget to check out the original article about it's construction.

We need your help!

We reposted it on Lego Ideas due to several requests, however last time it didn't even get 1000 supporters. Most of that is probably because it lost visibility on the Lego system.

If you really want to reach 10,000 votes and see Lego consider this project, we're going to need a LOT more social media support. Tweet about the project, share it on Facebook. Get your friends to support it. Blog about it. Anything!

The link is  https://ideas.lego.com/projects/128153

The Gang with The Lego Wonder
Lego Wonder and The Gang

Saturday, May 2, 2015

How do I mirror an LDD / LDraw file?

THIS ONLY WORKS FOR BASIC BRICKS/PLATES (and some others) on a boring orientation.  I don't try to figure out how to find a left ring for a right wing, etc., so this won't work for all models.

I made part of a Lego model that I wanted to "mirror", just flip about an axis.  It's "just bricks" so I didn't have to worry about wings or funny shapes or anything.  I'm surprised Lego Digital Designer doesn't have this.

Anyway, I figured the easiest way to do this was to export it into an LDraw (ldr) file, then since that's plain text, just flip the - signs on the appropriate coordinates.

Here's the little program I used to do this (C#, Windows).  After compiling, just say something like:

SimpleLcadMirror infile.ldr outfile.ldr y

Hmm, don't know how to "compile" it you say?  On Windows it's reasonably easy.

Open cmd (win+r, type cmd, press enter)
notepad SimpleLcadMirror.cs
Copy the stuff below into that file and save it
Type this into the cmd and press enter:
    %windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\csc.exe SimpleLcadMirror.cs
It should compile and give you a SimpleLcadMirror.exe

Then 'just' run it from the cmd line:
SimpleLcadMirror.exe yourfile.ldr newfile.ldr x y

// Simple utility to mirror an LCAD file
using System;
using System.IO;

class MirrorLCad
{
    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        String filenameIn = null;
        String filenameOut = null;
        bool mirrorX = false;
        bool mirrorY = false;
        bool mirrorZ = false;
        bool round = false;

        if (args == null || args.Length < 3)
        {
            return;
        }

        filenameIn = args[0];
        filenameOut = args[1];
        for (int i = 2; i < args.Length; i++)
        {
            if (args[i].Equals("x"))
            {
                mirrorX = true;
            }
            else if (args[i].Equals("y"))
            {
                mirrorY = true;
            }
            else if (args[i].Equals("z"))
            {
                mirrorZ = true;
            }
            else
            {
                PrintUsage();
                return;
            }
        }

        PrintWarning();

        var inFile = new StreamReader(filenameIn);
        var outFile = new StreamWriter(filenameOut);
        String line;
        while ((line = inFile.ReadLine()) != null)
        {
            // Very boring in line detection, only type one, and only if syntax has no strange stuff
            line = line.TrimStart();
            if (line.StartsWith("1 "))
            {
                string[] parts = line.Split(' ');
                // We care about x, y, z, - 2, 3 & 4
                // 1  x y z a b c d e f g h i 
                if (mirrorX) { parts[2] = mirror(parts[2]); }
                if (mirrorY) { parts[3] = mirror(parts[3]); }
                if (mirrorZ) { parts[4] = mirror(parts[4]); }
                foreach (var part in parts)
                {
                    outFile.Write(part);
                    outFile.Write(' ');
                }
                outFile.WriteLine();
            }
            else
            {
                // Don't do anything to strange line
                outFile.WriteLine(line);
            }
        }
        outFile.Close();
    }

    static String mirror(String value)
    {
        Console.Write('.');
        if (value.StartsWith("-"))
        {
            value = value.Substring(1);
        }
        else
        {
            value = '-' + value;
        }
        return value;
    }

    static void PrintUsage()
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Usage:");
        Console.WriteLine("SimpleLcadMirror   [x] [y] [z]");
        Console.WriteLine("y is vertical, z is depth, x is horizontal");
    }

    static void PrintWarning()
    {
        Console.WriteLine();
        Console.WriteLine("ONLY ARRANGES PARTS POSITIONS, doesn't swap parts (eg: left/right wing, etc)");
        Console.WriteLine("Intended for simple brick/plate structures on a simple axis, square to the grid");
    }
}

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lego Disney Wonder is a Lego Ideas Project now!

You can support the Lego Disney Wonder project on Lego Ideas.  In addition to the Wonder you will be able to build the Magic, Dream or Fantasy too!  We're 1% of the way to the 10K supporters we need.  Support and share!

Support the Lego Wonder Cruise Ship Now Please!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Working on building an L3-G0 from Lego Bricks

We've started to build an R2-D2 style astromech droid out of Lego.  His name's "L3-G0" (Elthree-Geezero).  I thought that maybe he'd have enough interesting stuff to get his own blog, so he's at http://l3-g0.blogspot.com/ - not sure if that's the best idea, but that's where to find more.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Space Needle Was Destroyed? Again?!?!?!

What The Ferret!?!?!?!  Now this just isn't fair.  My Lego Space Needle has been standing for about 4 years, with only one major "accident" as I learned about moving it.  It collapsed almost a month ago as I turned it Green ago due to differences in the brick sizes.

But now it's been destroyed again in less than a month :(  Someone at work accidentally knocked it over, and neatly cleaned up the parts into a recycling basket.  I wonder what her expression was as it came crashing toward her?

Because I never want to have to do this again, I made a time lapse video of rebuilding it this time.  It turned out pretty cool:


In order to take the time lapse pictures I had two options:
  1. I could've bought $100 camera thingy from the store (cheaper ones were out of stock).
  2. Or I could build a Lego Mindstorms robot to trigger my camera using my existing remote trigger.
Guess which I chose? :)


We're getting better at this.  This is probably the most damaged it's been, but it only took 4 hours to get all 4500 pieces back together again.  I feel like I spent longer trying to get the camera trigger to behave!  It took a frame every 13 seconds or so, and was surprisingly reliable.  It was also surprised that neither the camera nor the RCX needed it's batteries changed.