TECHNIC is a LEGO theme with a primary focus on creating model machines and mechanical toys with specialized beams and connectors. The theme is orientated for ages 9 and up, and was first introduced as the Expert Builder series in 1977and later in 1984 it was renamed to "TECHNIC".
The TECHNIC theme is characterized by the presence of axles, gears, connector pegs, and many other parts rarely seen in typical LEGO System sets. TECHNIC is still an active theme to this day, and one of the longest-lasting themes in LEGO history. In recent years, System sets have begun to adopt previously TECHNIC-exclusive parts, particularly in Exclusives and Star Wars sets. Many modern sets, including TECHNIC sets themselves, blur the distinction between the two systems to a considerable degree.
Mindstorms, a LEGO line of robotic products, also uses a large number of TECHNIC pieces, although it is sold as a separate line of products. The next generation of the Mindstorms range, "Mindstorms NXT" (released in August of 2006), is based on TECHNIC's studless construction method.
The major parts in LEGO TECHNIC are listed below:
- Beams - Beams are long blocks with rows of round holes. All beams are one stud wide, but they can have varying lengths. They constitute the basic structure of the TECHNIC system. Before 2000, TECHNIC beams had studs like ordinary bricks; while modern sets have rounded edges and no studs (officially known as "studless construction.")
- Pegs - Pegs are small cylindrical pieces that latch into holes in beams. The two most common types of pegs are called connector pegs, which join two beams together. Black and blue connector pegs hold the two beams together stiffly, while grey and tan connector pegs form loose hinges. Pegs have also been seen in System sets.
- Axles - Axles, sometimes known as cross axles, are cross shaped rods. They are most often used in rotating parts. When inserted into beam holes, they can turn freely. Like beams, axles are measured in stud lengths; axles with even lengths are colored black, and axles with odd lengths are colored grey. There are some specialty axles that are colored differently.
- Gears - Gears are flat cylinders with holes in the center; most have teeth. A large majority of gears can fit snugly onto axles. When used with rubber bands or strings, some gears can form pulleys. Most of the modern gears are one stud wide and have peg holes in them.
Other components Edit
- Rubber bands - Rubber bands can have various uses in TECHNIC sets. They can be used for pulleys by connecting two gears, and can form tire treads if one loops a small rubber band around a single large wheel.
- Pneumatic elements - Some special elements of this sort rely on "pushing" and "pulling" air to create resistance or slow movement.
- Springs - Springs are used for shock absorbers and suspension.
- String - String is used for cranes and winches.
- Decoration - Decorative elements, e.g. stickers, are used to decorate a model or label controls.
TECHNIC has always included a variety of different electric motors. Some are connected via built-in batteries, others use connected battery boxes, and still others run on mains electricity using a transformer. Most modern sets use batteries.
Early TECHNIC motors were classed in a 9- or 4.5-volt bracket, and consisted of a large brick with a small protruding axle. When the motor is activated, the axle rotates. The output rotation has a high RPM, but low torque, so it cannot be used to turn heavy objects without additional gears. Later motors contained a hole into which an axle of any length can be inserted.
In late 2007, a new motor system was released. It was named Power Functions, and was first used in the set 8275 Motorized Bulldozer. The system consisted of a set of motors, two infrared receivers, a battery box, and an infrared remote control. One receiver would connect to the battery box, and the other would connect to the motors.
TECHNIC Figures Edit
TECHNIC Figures are a form of minifigure that are used in some TECHNIC sets ranging from the mid 1980's to 2001. They mainly appear in the Arctic Action and Competition themes. TECHNIC figures are much larger than conventional minifigures, and have more joints.
TECHNIC Figures have not been used in recent sets; it is not known whether they will see continued use.