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Monorail Mk7: Cargo Terminal

Another Monorail creation, features a single station track with a cargo terminal controlled with a Technic Control Center, and a cargo boat.  


Completion date: 25/02/2014
Power: 9V (Monorail) / Technic Control Center

As a kid, I used to spend hours looking at LEGO catalog admiring sets I couldn’t have. Much of this time was devoted to looking at various harbor crane sets, with trains, boats and trucks and a lot of cargo to move between them. Now, having had the LEGO Technic Control Center for quite a while, I decided to make my childhood dreams come true.

The whole set-up was based on a simple gauntry sitting on top of my bathtub, with a single Monorail track integrated into it, and with holes in the base allowing to lower containers onto a boat located inside the tub. The boat itself was remote-controlled, with a single propeller and a simple bow thruster. Its manoeuvrability was limited, partially by the size of my tub.

There was a single Monorail track, consisting mostly of ramps that went from the top of my bathtub down to just slightly above the floor level. There was just one Monorail moving on it, with one car housing the battery box and the other capable of transporting two containers. The Monorail would stop inside the gauntry, where the containers could be picked up and moved onto the gauntry platform or lowered onto the boat.

The gauntry itself was rather unusual, as it was build to achieve best accuracy possible. That meant no strings, no pulleys, but plenty of racks and worm gears. The gauntry car included a long vertical beam with a hook on the lower end that could be moved up and down, and it could move sideways inside the car by 6 studs. The whole car could travel on top of the gauntry from one end to the other – roughly 80 cm of travel total. Three motors were used to move the car, move the crane inside it, and lower the hook beam. There was no special mechanism for grabbing the containers – instead, each container had a simple catch that the hook would be guided into. This allowed to control the whole gauntry using the Technic Control Center,which can have 3 motors connected to it. The Center could also record up to two separate “programs”, or sequences of movements, that could be stored in its memory and executed later. Using one default starting position for the gauntry, I have recorded two such programs, one for loading the container from a Monorail onto a boat, and the other doing the exact opposite. The first program can be seen being executed near the end of the video.

The gauntry was interesting to play with, and the Technic Center’s programs proved accurate enough to carry out complicated operations without problems. The only issue was that the programs were executed “blind”, without any methods of checking for success or failure – so when, for example, a container would be occasionally slightly tilted and the hook would miss its hatch, the gautry would carry out the complete loading/unloading operation with an empty hook. Still, it was fun to watch it working without any human input. At the same time, it was challenging and exhausting in the long run to make sure that no electrical elements went into water, and that nothing valuable has drowned. Operating this creation was risky because of the presence of water, and e.g. a structural collapse of the gautry would be catastrophic. In general, I don’t recommend playing with so many electric components near water.


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  1. Sariel
    April 17th, 2014 at 09:11 | #1
  2. Witherley
    April 17th, 2014 at 09:08 | #2

    I had a look at the drive propellor not he boat and noticed that it had a double peg with axle hole to secure the propellor that obviously had a pin hole to the driveshaft. Do you think it would also be a good idea to secure it by any other means as well?

  3. Ev3fan
    April 16th, 2014 at 22:41 | #3

    I like all your Monorail creations – the detail is really funny – but this one is best. The idea of using the control pad controlling and “programming” it is really good. I Wonder wheter you could use the control pad for other issues like steering vehicles?

  4. March 13th, 2014 at 20:59 | #4

    Hi, next 22 and 23 march, i’ll partecipate to a lego meeting in Empoli, Tuscany, Italy,
    this are the official links:
    i’m going to show some technic’s moc. a pair of that are inspired by your models and ideas…
    i want to write your references or something you prefer…

    Can you write me your contact, or something like that?

    Thank you!

  5. MonoNick
    March 3rd, 2014 at 20:17 | #5

    Yeah ! Great ! Control Center II is a very good Lego part 😉 And there are only 26 of them to sell on BL…
    Code Pilot is another one of these not enough exploited part in MOCs, especially with the timing wheel that allow to program actions in time (not really but it does count the number of 1/8 of a turn)

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