Lego


Here are a couple of my more interesting Lego creations, along with some random other Lego musings. The official Lego website is at www.lego.com.

Warning: Some of these pages have lots of images, and may take a long time to load.

YATI (Yet Another TIE Interceptor)

This is a model of the Star Wars TIE Interceptor. (Like we needed another one?)

(I removed the Lego Ogre from this page due to storage considerations.)

Lego Storage

For bulk storage, I use the Contico Portable Work Box. It measures 21"x13"x20", is made of nice tough plastic with a locking lid, and costs about $20. I currently own two for Lego storage, and one for other purposes.

For compartmentalized storage, I use the WorkForce Organizer-166. It's 14.4"x11.5"x2.5", tough plastic, with a handle and a clear plastic lid. The compartment walls go all the way up, so parts stay put even if you invert it. It has about 16 compartments of varying length. All the compartments are just a smidgen over 8 Lego dots wide, so you can put an RCX (or two battery boxes side-by-side) into the big compartment without modifying anything. They cost about $4 each. Both the Organizer and the Work Box are available from Home Depot in the US.

Lego Reflectivity in the Infrared Band

Yet another collection of utterly trivial Lego data.

One of my potential projects involves channeling the IR signal from a Lego RCX through a duct and around corners. So, I was curious about which bricks reflected the best. I assumed the limited-edition 25th Anniversary silver bricks would, but I didn't really have any proof. A chrome finish doesn't necessarily reflect infrared.

So I set up an experiment. I mounted a light sensor to the bottom of an RCX, and arranged a framework to hold two standard bricks at the requisite 45 degree angles. Light from the IR transceiver would bounce off one brick, then the other brick, then hit the light sensor. I set it up so that the tops of the bricks were the reflecting surfaces. There were good reasons to use the sides, but [shrug].

The test software involved sending repeated IR messages for 10 seconds. While this was going on, I watched the return from the light sensor using the View button. The "zero" return, when nothing was being transmitted, was 30. The first test revealed that the return fluctuated widely, so I recorded the highest value for each 10-second test.

ColorTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Test 5AverageAdjusted
Silver969698979897100
White66646465646552
Yellow62626162626248
Red60616261646248
Blue59595960595943
Green56565556565639
Gray54545354535436
Dark Gray49495149505030
Black44444545484522

The Average column is the average, to two significant digits. The Adjusted column assumes that a reading of "30" is a 0 return, and that the silver pieces are perfect reflectors. (It's computed as (Avg-30)/67x100.)

I hope this data is of use to you, but it doesn't seem likely. [grin]

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Jonathan Woodward, woodward@prismnet.com

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