Tutorials -

Rocket Man

Today we're having  a look at the mini set released by the LEGO Ideas brand - set 40335 the Space Rocket Ride.

This awesome little model clearly wasn't big enough to be a stand-alone product but was still made by LEGO and provided as a freebie with purchases of larger products.

Here's how it looks:

Image (c) The LEGO Group

The Model

This model is a recreation of the coin operated kids rides you find outside supermarkets and the like.  It was designed by LEGO fan Mark Smiley from Texas and has 154 pieces.  

It's a lovely set with a bar at the back you can turn by hand to make the rocket gently move.

Adding Lights

Well this kind of model is just crying out for lights!  And although it's a small ride there's only one thing to do with a fairground ride - and that's add lots of lights!

For this set we decided we need three sets:

  • Nose cone
  • Side green/blue lights
  • Rear engine lights

We also looked at adding lights to the base.  The design with three yellow stars looks good but doesn't lend itself to lights.  We could do this by changing out some parts but for now we're leaving the base as it is.

The Nose Cone

The nose cone was a simple start.  There was a grey 1x1 round stud here but we removed that and just put a single White 30cm Bit Light under the red stud.  The wire went through the clear radar dish and the dark blue cone and then out the side behind the rocket where you can't see it.

Note we used a static light for this.

The Engines

Similar to the nose cone, we placed a Flashing White 30cm Bit Light on the end of each grey cone at the rear, routing the cable down through the middle of the cone.  The two 1x1 Trans Red studs then went back on top.  Again the cables just route to the rear of the set where you can't see them.

Flashing LEDs here work great - they're slightly random so don't flash at quite the same rate which adds a nice effect.

The Side Lights

This is really the  main event.  6 coloured trans 1x1 studs on the side of the rocket.  We fitted a White 30cm Bit Light under each and routed the cables through the base of the rocket and out the back.  We ran the wires individually - not bundled together - to make it easier to fit the seat and other parts on top.

These lights need to move in sequence so we hooked up the three green lights to a 6 port Expansion Board, the three blue lights to a different 6 port Expansion Board, and then connected both of those to a Multi Effects board.  This allows us to control the movement and speed of the lights.

Once all this was done we braided the cables together to make a single umbilical out of the rear of the rocket.  We also brought in the wires from the front and back lights and wrapped those into the same bundle.  This works great and prevents them hanging down where they're visible.

Wiring it Up

Here's our standard simplified diagram of how to hook this up.

Making it Move

We only have a few Power Functions parts so used what was to hand - a 8883 motor and a 88000 battery box.

The Technic bar sticking out from our model isn't very long so not ideal for connecting the motor directly.  So we started to look at changing it for a longer bar.

The standard part turns out to be a funky little crank shaft - with a small technic bar connected to a little technic connector - but less than a standard unit apart.  

We replaced that with a standard technic connector as shown above.  This makes the ride move more which is great, but the larger part now hits the yellow curved end piece.  This was easily solved by removing the two 1x4 yellow plates and using just 1x1 plates to fill in the gaps in the wall at the front.

Here's the before and after (note this was only required on one end of the model)

 The new Technic connector was joined to the existing part with a standard Technic pin and a longer axle connected through the rear wall and into the motor.

With the walls re-assembled we then temporarily removed the black base to insert a grey 10x4 plate to hold the motor firmly in place.  And as shown in the following picture we built a little box around the battery pack to hide most of the cables.  It's as neat as you could want really and could easily be disguised inside a building if wiring this up into a LEGO City.

Parts List

This project used the following additional bits and pieces:

And various LEGO parts as shown for hooking it all up.

Afterthoughts

We're very happy with the result here.  The only thing we could improve would be using green and blue LEDs for the side lights.  We used white because it's easier when mocking this up and seeing what works, but could go back and do this with the correct colour.  White lights under coloured LEGO studs works great - but you get a stronger colour and more vibrant by using a coloured LED as well as a coloured LEGO piece on top.

The Videos!

Here's the ride looking awesome:

And here's the ride when you turn the dial all the way up...

 

Until next time - Happy Building!

Oliver
Elegant Bricks


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Rocket Man