Lego Technic 8043 Excavator

The new 2010 Summer models were made available on the Lego@Home store a little while ago, I got the flyer in the mail last week and placed my order! £143ish plus shipping makes this one of the most expensive models I’ve bought to date, but it has a lot to offer.

8043 Excavator

8043 Excavator

Here it is in all it’s glory. You get a lot for your money, two remotes, 4 motors, and two IR blocks. 4 Linear Actuators are supplied, and the excavator is capable of doing a full 360, round and round and round! This is achieved by a single centered shaft, and using the gear changing cogs to stack up round a central shaft, allowing the central shaft to move independantly of the gear changing cogs. One runs the left track, the other the right. The downside to this however, is that there is a degree of takeup, and the excavator does “creep” when spinning round & round. The remote controls need you to flick round the motor polarity on one channel when using the boom, and annoyingly the driving control needs a different motor polarity when you’re playing with your bulldozer!

I did a time lapse set of pictures when building it this time, 102 images taken at 2.5minute intervals which is about 4 and a half hours for the build, all done in one hit this evening. Has to be the fastest I’ve built a model of this complexity. Watch it on YouTube by clicking below:

Comments on Useability after the initial build:

Whilst this is the best RC unit since the bulldozer, I have had some thoughts on it’s limitations since building it.

1) The main dual actuator boom has the ability to lift a bit over 400G in weight, but much more than that causes issues.

2) The speed at which the unit moves is very slow.

3) Takeup in the right hand track is delayed by about 1-2 secs due to the drive arrangements through the turntable.

4) When slewing, the excavator creeps (as the gears lock up on the motors, and thus when you spin, you drive the tracks).

I’ve played with it a bit since building, and my thoughts on a possible rebuild are thus:

1) Buy 2x XL Motors and rebuild the base to house it’s own battery case and IR brick. The XL motors can then directly drive the tracks as they do on the bulldozer.

2) Rebuild the 4-motor drive to remove the switching mechanism, as you can then use the 2 IR bricks and 4 M Motors to perform all the upper body tasks, including the 360 Slew.

In my opinion, this should be a fairly minimal build, as you can drop a lot of the gearing that goes into driving through the turntable out, and instead concentrate on the arm and turntable slew.

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