How to Make a Lego Vacuum truck?

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Lego Vacuum

Hey guys this time Abzy shows you how to make a Lego Vacuum Truck for cleaning some LEGO.

Every parent with LEGO in the house has at one time or another felt the agonizing pain that is felt when you step on that lil LEGO block. The most excruciating pain that travels from the very foot that stepped on that block all the way up to the leg on to the body and deep into the insides of the brain where it HURTS, and it hurts BAD. So naturally this project was my idea and I am Abzy’s DAD (btw I still love playing with LEGO).

He was thinking of his next project so we decided why not try making a LEGO Vacuum / Cleaner. It could be an interesting project.

Note to Parents:
This post serves a dual purpose showing you guys how to make such a vacuum and inspire you to give your kids the love and support after which wonderful results will follow. It doesn’t matter if the project works or not. Success takes time, it took Abzy a number of iterations and failures to get to this level. But his learning from all these iterations was remarkable. After all they say “you only fail when you stop trying”.

Now before we get to the actual project lets travel through the various iterations Abzy went through to reach his end goal of making a fully functional LEGO Vacuum. This is an interesting journey which will help parents and kids see how it takes time, patience and perseverance to achieve their goals.

HISTORY AND PROTOTYPES

Iteration 1:

So Day 1, Test 1, Configuration 1.0 😛 (hint ironman), his first attempt at the lego vacuum where he cut a lid to fit in a PC Case Fan. Glued it shut and tried his luck.

DIY VacuumCleaner 1.0

DIY VacuumCleaner 1.0

This is the only picture we have of that vacuum, in this attempt he used a box and glued in the Case Fan but the suction power wasn’t adequate. The reason being it needed to be airtight. It worked once he glued it all to an airtight container. However there was no way it would pull in a LEGO block.

Lessons Learned:

Design Issues

  • Things getting stuck in the fan
  • Suction power very low
Parental Tip:
This would be an awesome point to explore the science behind why the container needs to be airtight and how a vacuum works. You could consult encyclopedias, books and other online resources.

Iteration 2:

Day 10, Test 2, Configuration 2.0 the second vacuum he built was made from completely different materials but he wanted to address those design issues we learned in our previous experience. It is amazing when you see kids make something purely from their imagination. Check out Abzy’s innovative design in this quick DIY video below:

In this iteration we sacrificed the following materials:

  • 7UP 1.5 liter bottle
  • Playdoh cup
  • Case Fan
  • Fine Wire Mesh
  • Portable Rechargeable Battery
DIY Vacuum Cleaner 2.0

DIY Vacuum Cleaner 2.0

Lessons Learned:
Issues Addressed
  • Wire Mesh protects fan from vacuumed pieces
  • Suction Power is reasonable because of small size
  • Vacuum is Highly Portable
Design Issues
  • Very little capacity to keep straws inside
  • Suction power is still inadequate to pull in LEGO Blocks

Iteration 3:

Day 20, Test 4, Configuration 3.0, this time I bought him a bigger plastic container to increase the capacity. He applied the same principle as in the previous iteration. Check out the results in the video below:

DEMO VIDEO:

https://youtu.be/WoKvFWsVjJQ

Issues Addressed
  • Wire Mesh protects fan from vacuumed pieces
  • Container Capacity is adequate
Design Issues
  • Suction power is still inadequate to pull in LEGO Blocks

Iteration 4:

Day 30, Test 2, Configuration 4.0, I came home from work and he had built another one but this time using a big 5 liter water bottle. The principle is the same but due to the round shape of the container the contents inside kept swirling inside which was entertaining for him and his sister Yati.

DEMO VIDEO:

Iteration 5:

Day 30, Test 3, Configuration 5.0, and this time I bought him something super duper 6 high speed casing fans and told him to give it a shot. This time he used this very powerful combination of high speed casing fans together and the results were astounding. The suction power dramatically increased and he was excited to see if it would pull in lego blocks. Oh and these fans are noisy.

>DEMO VIDEO:

He made a quick prototype of a LEGO Vacuum just to check if we could enough power and YaoOOza! it WORKED. We were excited and now wanted to build something better utilizing all the knowledge and lessons learned from these past iterations and projects.

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Final Version:

THE RC LEGO Vacuum

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Finally on the 6th iteration he was able to make the RC LEGO Vacuum. Here he used knowledge and experience from all his past iterations of the vacuum and the knowledge from making DIY Cars. Incase you haven’t checked please do so.

DIY VIDEO:

MATERIAL USED:

Lego-Collector-Material

Lego-Collector-Material

  • RC Circuit with Remote (which can be taken out from any unused old rc car)
  • 12v High Speed Casing Fans
  • Simple DC Motor
  • Wheels
  • Wires
  • Old Truck Chassis
  • Plastic Pipe
  • Plastic Container
  • Other bits and pieces to improvise

TOOLS REQUIRED:

Lego-Collector-Tools

Lego-Collector-Tools

  • Glue Gun
  • Soldering Wire
  • Mini Drill
  • Soldering Iron
  • Measuring Ruler
  • Soldering Stand (Optional)
  • Wire Cutter
  • Screw Driver
  • Marker
  • Nose Pliers

PART 1: BUILDING THE VACUUM

Fan Connections As it is pretty clear from the snapshots, the first step is to make a vacuum strong enough to collect lego blocks.

  • Text 1For this we need to make a cutout to fit our highspeed fans inside the plastic container.

  • Example2Use any marker to trace the fans onto the plastic container to ensure an accurate cutout
  • Text 3A mini drill might come in handy to make the required cutout. The edges can be sanded later for neatness

  • Example
  • 4Connect all fan wires by connecting all +ves together & -ve wires together connecting them in a parallel circuit
  • Text5 Size and trace the pipe circumference on the container to cutout a hole
  • Example6Make a round cutout to ensure the pipe fixes inside
  • Text7Sand the edges of the cutouts as this will make them really neat
  • Example8Use gluegun to seal the edges as the container needs to be airtight otherwise the vacuum wont work
  • Text 9Fix the Fans inside the container using a glue gun all spaces where air can escape from must be glued shut to make it airtight

PART 2: BUILDING THE TRUCK

Fan Connections

Building the truck requires some experience with electronics, since Abzy has done tons of projects on his own so he is able to improve and build such stuff.

  • Text 10He had an old toy truck which he had to converted to one which runs on a motor

  • Example
  • 11He improvised using wooden sticks to hold the motor and gears in place
  • Text 12Ahh ! what a perfect and solid fix and we tested with the battery the truck chassis moved

  • Example13He used another RC car to pull out the circuit so his truck moves with a remote control
  • Text 14Abzy has been dismantling RC cars apart since he was 6 so this was a piece of cake

  • Example15 Finally all the connections are done and the battery compartment connected

PART 3: CONSOLIDATING THEM BOTH

Now that the vacuum and truck are both ready, time to consolidate them both to make our RC LEGO Vacuum.

  • Text 16Using glue gun on the truck chassis to that the vacuum sits on the truck chassis we prepared

  • Example17And now fixing the vacuum container firmly onto the truck chassis
  • Text 18the container was bigger than the truck chassis so another wheel had to added for extra support

  • Example19 Hmm its almost ready but something seems missing
  • Text20 He went into our makerspace and found a portion of the digger, interestingly the color also matched

  • Example21And now for the moment of truth, sweet success, it works!!!

What a feeling it was when his vacuum not only sucked in all the lego blocks with such super duper force but the whole thing was mobile which meant it could roam around as well and collect LEGO.

Fan Connections
Lessons Learned:
Issues Addressed
  • Excellent Suction Power
  • Adequate Capacity
  • Portable Design
Design Issues
  • Truck only moves is unidirectional (forward/reverse), to add ability to turn left and right was out of the scope of this project

We would love to hear what you think about the post. Do reach out to us in the comments below, and if you like what you’ve read then we would humbly request to please share this with your friends.

Have a lovely weekend everyone… 🙂

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