I loved Lego as kid, it’s one of the primary reasons I’m a mechanical engineer. The Technic line really ignited a mechanical interest in me and I have many fond memories of assembling complicated sets in record time on Christmas Day. My interest in Lego took a nose dive sometime early in high school.
It’s been over 10 years since I’ve touched a Lego, let alone purchase a set. I thought it would be interesting (and fun) to build a Lego set as a grown-ass man. I figured it would be a fun exercise for the blog now that I have a different perspective on things as an actual engineer. I thought that was a pretty good excuse to purchase something I saw a children’s toy.
I took a few minutes looking at the selection on Amazon and settled on a Technic Tracked Loader (set 42032) that looked interesting and wasn’t too expensive. Two days later the set was on my desk and ready to go.
Here are my reflections on building a Lego set as an adult engineer:
- The box does a very nice job of selling the product. Premium glossy packaging!
- I forgot about the 2-sets-in-1 bonus of the Technic line, they include a second set of instructions to build something different with the same parts.
- Weren’t these boxes noisier? I remember a distinct Lego rattling sound from my childhood that only comes from unopened Lego boxes
- Box is jammed full of stuff, that may have dampened the noise
- What is this red thing? They changed the color on a lot of the smaller connector pieces to make them easier to identify and differentiate. There are unique parts with red, blue, and tan colors that I remember as only being black.
- What are these shafts with end stops? That doesn’t seem convenient, this is definitely a new part.
- These instructions are still excellent. Very clear steps for assembly sequences with no written descriptions!
- Assembling a set is really about the journey. The picture on the box tells me where I’m going but I have no idea where I started from. It’s interesting to start with a tiny piece of the machine with no context and then build out from there.
- These 1:1 scales on the page for measuring shaft lengths are great. I think these existed back in the day but I can’t remember.
- Building these sets from the instructions was always a lot of fun but a completely different kind of fun than the creative building when using the same pieces. Interesting the same set can really exercise both halves of your brain.
- Lego taught me what a subassembly is before I knew anything about assemblies
- These tracks are very tedious to assemble
- Done! Took about 90 minutes.
The tracker loader is pretty neat. It uses a worm gear in the back to lift the bucket and two four bar linkages to actuate the bucket tilt and front jaw piece.
Building the set was fun and a nice burst of nostalgia but it’s not something I need to do again soon. I thought it was a little tedious towards the end and I was slightly underwhelmed with the finished loader. I am looking forward to tearing this thing apart and messing around with the pieces though!