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Bell B30D with tracks
LEGO model of the Bell B30D Articulated Dump Truck with tracks. This is another model in the scale 1:17,5 to fit my other models. It features: 3 sets of PF light units, XL powered drive, M motor powered articulated steering, M motor powered dumping and M motor powered air pump to operate the tracks. Of course it all operated remotely with a PF remote control except for the pneumatic switches which are operated manually.
About this creation
It was on a nice day in spring that I was out on my bike when I ran into this amazing piece of machinery. This Bell B30D articulated dump truck (ADT) with tracks realy caught my eye. With a little research I found out that this is only a prototype that is developed by the well known South African company Bell Equipment and the Dutch company Fuhler BV. That is all I know so far but that is enough to start building a model. From the very beginning I laid eyes on these Bells I knew I had to build a model out of LEGO one day. So I went back to those machines, there where two of them, this time I was equipped with my camera and I took as many pictures as my camera could hold.
The most inspiring on these machines where the tracks and the hydraulic system that goes with them. Let me start with it since this was realy challenging and this is what makes this model unique.

First thing I started to get into where the tracks. With the build of the excavator in my mind I knew it is not that easy to get a track system that runs smooth with the new LEGO tracks. From the very beginning I incorporated the turn table to make the tracks able to tilt. I use the Technic Turntable Large Type 2 a lot also to install wheels since this is a very strong solution to simulate hubs.
The pneumatic cylinder is used to tilt the tracks but also acts as a dampener. If the track would be free floating it could tilt unwanted when running into an obstacle.

Both front tracks act as a couple as both rear tracks do. With this I can tilt front tracks differently from the rear tracks and visa versa. I'm not sure whether similar real life dump trucks have all four independently operated tracks. To be honest if so I would not have installed this since there is not enough space anyway. To operate both pairs of tracks I have installed two pneumatic switches. The main switch is used to open or close the pneumatic system. The pump is operated remotely, but the switches are operated manually.

In real life both front and rear tracks are equipped with a single cylinder. Because of the use of air in LEGO pneumatic systems in stead of the use of oil like in real life hydraulic systems I ran into some issues. I started with a single cylinder on all four tracks as well and what happened is that the rear tracks started tilting and the front tracks didn't respond at all. This is not hard to understand since the front end of this model is way much heavier then the rear end.
To overcome this I installed double-acting cylinders on both front tracks. Building with LEGO is sometimes all about being lucky and I was. With a minor correction and the use of a small amount of parts I achieved a huge improvement. The system is quite slow since a lot of air has to be compressed, but it all works just fine.

With the limited space of this model in my mind I came up with this. Why not using the cabin to store stuff in. It is there anyway, it is quite large and can hold quite a lot of parts that I need to operate the tracks. I also wanted the cabin to be open and spacy like the real ones are. As you can see on this picture I located all three pneumatic switches around the drivers seat. At the last minute I came up with a nice detail. With all of its functions the operator needs dials and gauges to monitor all of this so I installed some.









Some people may have noticed that I have been working on an articulated dump truck before. The one I worked on back then had wheels and it never realy happened to be honest, but that is not what I was about to tell. I realy had issues building the dump with its tapered and wedged shapes allover and I sort of gave up. To be honest that was a good thing to do back then, I had so much to learn first. With the build of this model I realy had to get the dump going. So I started with the bottom since it's easy to start with. As you can see the picture shows a little detail of the studs I used to get angled shapes of the dumps walls. I used a bunch of modified tiles 4 x 6 with studs on edges and the old type of hing plates.

What I achieved is a quite strong and even light weighted tapered and wedged dump that is almost studless. To be honest, I'm proud of it!
Another very important issue to me is to get the dump angle for dumping the load as close to reality as possible. Seeing ADT's in action I always noticed the steep angle of the dump when dumping. This angle is 70° in real life so there was the challenge. Real life dumpers have long cylinders which are not available in LEGO so how do I achieve this, that was the quest. I came up with a solution that works quite well and I'm happy with the 62° dumping angle.

Two major keys to this success together with a load of luck again of course were: I geared down the M motor that powers the Technic Linear Actuators quite a lot and I installed two hard spring shock absorber 6.5L. By gearing down I was able to use a M motor, which was good since there is no room for a XL motor. The use of shock absorbers is a different story, I use gravity as a friend. When the dump is lowered the gravity will help it to compress the shock absorbers. The shock absorbers will help the actuators to lift the dump, I tested with and without the shock absorber and it realy makes a difference.

One more challenge for was the articulated steering. Again I want to get as close to reality as possible and of I go. Real life dump trucks of this type have two double-acting steering cylinders. The articulated steering angles with a 45° steering angle.
First designs worked with pneumatic cylinders, but that was a pain in the bud. It looks great when installed, but it works realy crappy.
Next step was to install Technic Linear Actuators since I noticed people using these for steering. I gave it a try for only one minute, but man are these things big. As mentioned before, this model appears quite large, but there is not much room. I've seen people using a single actuator in stead of two, which is a great ides, but for me not an option since this is not realistic.

So one option was left, using the Technic Linear Actuators Mini, but are those strong enough? Since I was running out of options, this one realy had to work. As you can see I came up with a very compact solution. I realy like it and yes it is strong enough! As with all linear actuators that I use I geared these down as well. This gives the actuators more power and a more realistic feel to it.
One little detail I realy like to share and realy helped me to get the job done. Where on earth do I put the M motor to power the steering system. It is behind the drivers seat right up, it's there but you won't even notice.

This image gives you an idea of how I managed to build a model of the Bell ADT. I am realy happy with the results, both looks and functionality, compare it yourself and let me know what you think of it.
I set my self some goals to achieve with the build of this model next to the challenges that are already there with the build of a LEGO model. The most challenging parts where the dump with its wedged shape, the tilting angle of it too, the tracks with there pneumatics, the angle of the articulated steering and of course where do I put all that is needed to make it actually work. This model appears quite big, but there is not much room to actually install and hide all its functions. One nice example is where to hide the IR Receivers...

Building my first truck back about 5 years now I came up with the idea of a limited slip solution for differentials. Unfortunately I never had to chance to implement it till now. To be honest did I use in a 6 x 6 truck before I build back then, but I never took any pictures of it or what so ever. So basically this is the first model with the use of this limited slip system that I have on display. The system is simple but quite effective. Both outgoing axles of the differential are connected using rubber belts with a single axle. So if one wheel start to free spin it helps the other wheel because the rubber belts forces the system to transfer power to the wheel with traction. The more rubber belts added the more the slip is limited, but this also increases the friction in the system.

PICT12
With this image I do like to share a little on how I start on planning a model. As you can see this is the Bell B30D ADT with wheels. There are no official documents on the tracked version of this type. No problem at all since both the one with the wheels and the one with the tracks are exactly the same. With the pictures I took and the info on the wheeled version I had enough info to get it started. This image was used to determine the measures and as you can see I transferred it into studs, the numbers in brackets. For example the dumps length is 5318mm this is 304mm in the scale of 1:17,5 I work in and that equals about 38 studs. This is repeated with all important measures.
One note, since the tracked version has more ground clearance all vertical measures are related to the wheel hubs.





Comments

 I made it 
  July 19, 2014
Quoting Nerds forprez Wow.... just found your stuff. Master of trucks. What I say here goes for pretty much all the stuff on your page. Incredible....hard to match functionality with aesthetics--- but you have mastered it!
Thanks for the kind words!
 I like it 
  July 18, 2014
Wow.... just found your stuff. Master of trucks. What I say here goes for pretty much all the stuff on your page. Incredible....hard to match functionality with aesthetics--- but you have mastered it!
 I made it 
  December 7, 2013
Quoting Nick Barrett A real technical tour de force - I learnt a lot reading this. It's a great looking machine too, I can see why you'd want to build it.
Nice to this one a real technical tour de force…I never looked at it that way… It sure is what I intend to do with this project. Incorporating as many details and even more functionally as possible. Even though the machine looks quite big, the space is ratter limited! Writing this piece was great to do and great to read in your comment that it is useful!!! Thanks buddy and I am looking forward to see more of you creations!!!
 I like it 
  December 5, 2013
A real technical tour de force - I learnt a lot reading this. It's a great looking machine too, I can see why you'd want to build it.
 I made it 
  November 11, 2013
Quoting Tommy S. I love all of the features and do the tracks have suspension ? (Not the phematic cylenders)
This model is build after the real thing and since that one doesn't have suspension this model doesn't have either. Maybe you did understand already, but the pneumatic cylinders are used to stabilize the tracks. Without it the tracks could start swinging and that is unwanted of course… :-)
 I like it 
  November 10, 2013
I love all of the features and do the tracks have suspension ? (Not the phematic cylenders)
 I like it 
  March 27, 2012
I wanna break "likeless" period :) Of course agree with other 28 comments too. Excellent model!
 I made it 
  March 8, 2012
Thank you very much to all for the inspiring comments!!!
Quoting Ray Jacobs This is very good. It looks so close to the real thing.
In my email I received a comment from you with a question. Maybe you changed it because you read about it in the description. Finding pics of this specific machine is very hard since it is a prototype. There are only two of them and the pics are mine. I had the opportunityto see two of them in action up close...
 I made it 
  March 8, 2012
Quoting Vibor Cavor Lot of us have a lot to learn from a guy like you. You always seem to come up with something as complicated as this and looking like it does. Keep it up, man. It's a real treat to see your models, especially when you put an explanation for everything done in the model.
Wow, that is very nice to read...thanks so much. Well that is exactly what I like doing the most, putting as much features in a nice wrap as I can!!! Also nice to see that the story is appreciated since I put quite some effort into it...thanks for letting me know... And yes I'll keep it up that is for sure... :-)
Quoting Malte Dorowski ravishingly beautiful!
Thanks so much, it is great to have a comment from a talented builder as you are. Of course all comments are valued equal, but this is a nice recognition of what I do...and like doing...thanks a lot!!!
 I like it 
  March 8, 2012
Lot of us have a lot to learn from a guy like you. You always seem to come up with something as complicated as this and looking like it does. Keep it up, man. It's a real treat to see your models, especially when you put an explanation for everything done in the model.
 I like it 
  March 8, 2012
Lot of us have a lot to learn from a guy like you. You always seem to come up with something as complicated as this and looking like it does. Keep it up, man. It's a real treat to see your models, especially when you put an explanation for everything done in the model.
 I like it 
  March 6, 2012
ravishingly beautiful!
 I made it 
  March 3, 2012
Hi Nils, great to hear from you again. I know what you mean about the track system. It is very hard to make pictures of it, it is all black you are right about it... :-)
 I like it 
  March 3, 2012
Very nice one again Ingmar! I remember you were thinking about one of these a few years ago already. Would be interested in seeing a bit more details on the track configuration, this is difficult to see in all black, but it looks very good and realistic.
2LegoOrNot2Lego Ingmar Spijkhoven
 I like it 
kenneth rattledge
  March 2, 2012
excellent, first class.
2LegoOrNot2Lego Ingmar Spijkhoven
 I like it 
Chris Melby
  March 2, 2012
Geez, this is possibly the coolest Lego Moc of the year so far! Awesome, 5/5 Chris
  March 2, 2012
This is very good. It looks so close to the real thing.
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Excellent built. Looks great.
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Fantastic design and functions!
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
I never knew dump trucks can be so cool! Fabulous build!
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Awesome! Cool piece of engineering - MOC and original. ~Cheers
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
very realistic and nice functions. Technic models that function tend to not look the best aesthetic wise, but yours looks great! 5/5
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
another brilliant model well done
 I made it 
  March 2, 2012
Well another humble thank you for the very nice comments. I spend quite a lot of time on all features, details and shapes. So I'm glad you like it...
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Cool! I love all the functions. The color scheme is very good and the shape is excellent! 5/5 :-)
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Wow so awesome! There are some very nice features to this truck. I like you track system a lot! That is pretty cool using the turntable as a hub. 5/5
 I made it 
  March 2, 2012
Quoting Senator. Chincilla . Interesting design, although I think it'd be better if the tracks sat on the ground properly. I like the color and shaping on the cabin, looks very nice and realistic. Nice functionality in the dumper bit aswell.
Thank you very much!, About the tracks, you are absolutaly right that is what they are suppose to do. This just demonstrates what it is able of. I've been told that the tracks are angled when ever the machine is about to get stuck in the dirt. It makes the machine sort of crawl out so to speak...
 I made it 
  March 2, 2012
Thanks to all for the kind words, that is very much appreciated of course...
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/309533 Here's a link for my creation. I figured out that you have to be signed in to my account to go to the page on the link in my last comment.
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Interesting design, although I think it'd be better if the tracks sat on the ground properly. I like the color and shaping on the cabin, looks very nice and realistic. Nice functionality in the dumper bit aswell.
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Great fonctionalities and design! Awesome work!
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Hey thats pretty inovative. You should check out my lego creation.http://www.mocpages.com/home.php
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Excellent!So many technical functions and overall look is very nice!Great job 5/5!!
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
I like it very much, not only the looks are very well, you build in a whole lot of technical goodies! 5/5 (if the rating system will ever work again...)
 I like it 
  March 2, 2012
Wow this looks awesome. I will come back after work for a closer look.
 
By 2LegoOrNot2Lego Ingmar Spijkhoven
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Bell B30D with tracksLarge scale vehicles


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