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Big Bucket Wheel Excavator cancelled

November 10th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


Due to increasing difficulties I have decided to cancel my largest project up to date.

For more than two last months I have been occupied with a single large project, a model of a big bucket wheel excavator. Unfortunately the model proved bigger and much heavier than anticipated. At the moment of cancelation it was 1.01 m tall, 2.07 m long and weighed almost 7 kg. Many elements started to bend under such weight, especially in the chassis, and the drivetrain was already at its limit. Test-drives at this weight have shown that the whole chassis is unstable and needs a major redesign to support the model’s weight. Basically, I would have to build half of the model from the scratch, and I simply do not have the number of parts needed to build a much more massive chassis.

My apologies to everyone interested in the model – I believe it is better to give it up now and focus on next projects than to waste more time on something that has a minimal chance of success. I simply wanted to build too big. Anyway, there already are better Lego models of such a machine than I could possibly build – like the ones by Benjamin Ventura.

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  1. luc
    July 15th, 2012 at 21:46 | #1

    i’m building a bucket wheel excavator too, it’s almost done and it’s about 2,3 m long and over 1m tall, i didn’t really care about the dimensions so it is not exactly as the original machine made by krupp

  2. luc
    June 26th, 2012 at 22:01 | #2

    that isn’t the part he used, take a better look and you’ll see it is the wheel from the 4481 hailfire droid set not the wheel from the ninjago set

  3. Sariel
    December 30th, 2010 at 11:29 | #3

    Yes, I’m thinking of building a little smaller one some day.

  4. December 30th, 2010 at 10:05 | #4

    i thought u would give up on this model, the size of this model would be better built with k’nex (i have never used those, but i have seen pretty big stuff on youtube) maybe a smaller scale model of the next time, no?

  5. Kshomiv
    July 13th, 2010 at 04:23 | #5

    Wow that is awesome

  6. Parax
    December 23rd, 2009 at 21:04 | #6


    The 59521 part is now available in black too.

  7. December 5th, 2009 at 19:22 | #7

    Sorry to see you gave up the bucket wheel excavator project. I understand strength issues made you do so. I also understand that you let the size of the hail fire droid wheels determine the scale of the model. (like I did for my Bailey crane model). See http://www.technicbrickconstructions.nl.
    Did you consider the use of part no. 59521 Wheel Hard Plastic Spoked Giant Thin (160mm D. x 28mm)? I think the colour is awfull for this kind of machinery, but they are not so huge. After my next project, a lemniscate crane, now in the process of finding drawings and pictures, a bucket wheel digger may be next!!

  8. Sariel
    November 23rd, 2009 at 17:02 | #8


  9. bexy
    November 23rd, 2009 at 15:19 | #9


  10. RjbsNXT
    November 19th, 2009 at 15:00 | #10

    Fantastic work!
    Hope the rest continues to go well πŸ™‚

  11. Sariel
    November 19th, 2009 at 14:39 | #11

    It has slowed me down so much, I can only vaguely remember publishing my previous construction πŸ™‚ But no worries, the Scania is almost finished. Its publication date is up mainly to the last parts delivery.

  12. RjbsNXT
    November 19th, 2009 at 14:19 | #12

    Looking back over your projects, i realised it was 6th september since you last completed a proper (non-spontaneous :P) model and made me appreciate how much this project has slowed you down :O!

  13. NxT bUiLdEr
    November 18th, 2009 at 02:30 | #13

    :0 it is!!?? i looked good in the main picture, but then again i am not good with technic pieces so i shouldn’t really know

  14. Sariel
    November 16th, 2009 at 18:49 | #14

    Of what? It’s taken apart already.

  15. November 16th, 2009 at 18:39 | #15

    make a video

  16. November 15th, 2009 at 03:01 | #16

    Well…I can safely say, with a tiny smile on my fact, that I was given the 8294 (Large Excavator, that you mentioned in your last message…I note NO ONE thanks you for that effort, I do so now. It took me 2 1/4 weeks to put together-then-trash-then start all over again until I built the bloody thing so that it works as it is supposed to. It is a wonderful machine with a lot of new elements,that I needed badly, the two, inter-related, inter-relating actuators. once I understanding how it is used, in not only simple, and string, but quite beautiful in it’s operation. Sorry, you decided to not build the unit, for Like myself, I got a lot of ideas, that you could enhance other projects with. Happy LEGOing, Brother !

  17. Sariel
    November 13th, 2009 at 15:20 | #17

    Sure. The work on Scania is going pretty fast and I expect it to be complete this month. The excavator was a serious slowdown πŸ™‚

  18. sverre
    November 13th, 2009 at 15:17 | #18

    Sad, but nevertheless I think isΒ΄s a good for us fans. WeΒ΄ll see more creations from you insted of just pressing F5 all day waiting for updates on the bucket wheel excavator. Looking forward to your future builds!

  19. Legomaniacman
    November 13th, 2009 at 04:45 | #19

    It may fail once, but you will come back stronger than ever. I see that there is downsides to soft plastic.

    It looks fantastic!

  20. November 11th, 2009 at 22:44 | #20

    That’s sad news bro. I would have really liked to have seen this completed. Oh well… Good luck with your future projects!

  21. smithy
    November 11th, 2009 at 12:50 | #21

    I had a similar problem when I built a 3m high crawler crane. I eventually added some M4 threaded rod to the base of the model to hold it together. The M4 rod is about the same size as the Lego technic threaded rods but you can buy it in any length

  22. Sariel
    November 11th, 2009 at 11:21 | #22

    Thank you, I’ve added the photos.

  23. karoolc
    November 11th, 2009 at 10:16 | #23

    Dear Sariel,

    You created this site to document your own creations in a way that could inspire people. And so you do.

    I have seen so many more pictures of your Big Bucket Wheel Excavator in Future Projects section – please share them with us once again on your main page, becouse even if not finished, your BBWE is also and inspiration to us.

  24. Sariel
    November 10th, 2009 at 21:22 | #24

    @Eric Albrecht
    Thank you Eric πŸ™‚

  25. November 10th, 2009 at 20:29 | #25

    You have run into the classic engineering challenge: the delicate balance between structural strength and weight. As an aerospace engineer, this balance is the bane of my existence every day, and getting it right is extremely complex. Congratulations for making it this far, and I am quite sure that you will return one day with the solutions to your problems and conquer this monster! In a way, your challenge is more complex even than full scale engineering because you are forced to work within a palette of existing parts.

    By the way, don’t forget to check out the marvelous bucket wheel excavator by Holger Matthes:

  26. Sariel
    November 10th, 2009 at 13:02 | #26

    Thanks. Hopefully I have two secret projects in store that may make it up for you πŸ™‚

  27. tl8
    November 10th, 2009 at 09:40 | #27


    I think you deserve a pat on the back for making it this far.
    I feel quite assured that you will return and finally crack it, only if to prove you can. I am also sure it was not done in vain and that we have all learned a bit more.

    It would be quite an awesome sight to see this model hacking into a lego mine but even Lego has its limits. As an engineer and amatuer lego builder I am alway truly astounded at your creations. This has some real heavy duty engineering in it and you really should be proud πŸ˜‰

  28. Sariel
    November 10th, 2009 at 08:15 | #28

    I think they should be this long. My main point of reference in determining the scale was the size of the bucket wheel.

  29. icanhaslego
    November 10th, 2009 at 01:41 | #29

    yeah, i hate breaking parts. it’s an awful feeling when you have to throw away a previously useful differential or cv joint. oh well- i wish you luck in your upcoming projects…

  30. RjbsNXT
    November 10th, 2009 at 01:34 | #30

    I was going to ask you why you built the masts and jibs so long because they seem much shorter in the real thing?

  31. Sariel
    November 10th, 2009 at 00:32 | #31

    Thank you. One of good reasons to give up was the growing risk of parts damage. This model was simply not designed for this sort of weight, so I was running into a dead end.

  32. RjbsNXT
    November 9th, 2009 at 23:09 | #32

    I am disappointed, but I’m sure your reasons justify that. I understand it incredibly difficult to build such a large model with success and I greatly appreciate the attempt you gave it.
    Despite the disappointment, I am aware it was slowing a lot of other projects down and look forward to many more creations in the future.
    Personally I believe you did much better than I could ever do and I am impressed with how well you managed to do what you have done.
    Well done and good luck with future projects πŸ™‚

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