LEGO Technic series came in 1977 and with it came a new world of possibilities. Models came to life and the possibility to develop models with mechanical movement made it possible to construct them with an aesthetic and function more like real models. The gears, axles, suspensions and motors could be applied to the wheels, articulated arms, steering or gear changes. It was like uncovering the case of a new world of possibilities. Due to the risk that LEGO has taken in many times ... we must recognize that this was a milestone at the time, we have now LEGO Technic yet! It is one of the few lines still in place from the beginning. And they are almost 35 years!
Some of the new parts were modifications of existing ones, such as plates or technic bricks, which were the result to make the holes through which pass shafts or pins. Other pieces were entirely new, such as gears, pins, driveshaft, etc. It was with this when we learned that the right distance to anchor vertically two Technic Bricks we had to put two plates between them.
Early Technic models combined the classical pieces with some of the new one in order to give it some new functionality to the model. One of the first models of the 70s was the tractor 851 of 1977 in particular, and belongs to the era in which these models belong to a series called Expert Builder.
The construction was very classic, very structured, based on the form of traditional brick construction, but the innovation was the introduction of motion: moving the steering front wheel could now steer and also rear farm tools fulfilled its mission. The boxes included, however, in another language, the phrase "Technique as in real life." Those big wheels and solid plastic had disappeared following the oil crisis.
In just a couple of years several boxes and models of just Technic parts would be appearing, including the Bulldozer 856. The movement of the blade had a very realistic movement of levers and it was controlled with two gears located in the rear of the vehicle. The caterpillars also opened a new world of opportunities in construction.
The creative possibilities that LEGO had always had were multiplied with the new set of parts: educational possibilities were expanded and with them came a line of products designed for education. What then would eventually be called DACTA now is LEGO Education. Since that time there have been many sets of 8220 "Simple Machines", but one of the first was 1030.
Motors have accompanied Technic virtually since its beginning. The 880 Expert Builder set included a 12 V motor could be coupled to LEGO Technic parts. Since then they have appeared in various strains and forms, and part of other sets or as individual accessories. Modern motors belong to a specialized part of Technic called Power Functions.
Pneumatics appeared a bit after the first LEGO Technic parts. While the parts appeared in 1984, the first pneumatics DACTA educational set awas launched a year later. It was the 9604. The pistons, valves and tanks opened another new dimension to build presses, compressors, air-driven systems, etc. Compared to the number of LEGO Technic sets, the set with pneumatic represents a very small percentage. One of the claimed models was the excavator 8455, made in 2003, perhaps because of the large number of functions than its pneumatic controlled. A few years later pneumatics dissapeared from the market and later reappeared in the educational 9641 set, which is maintained at today`s date. We can see some more complex pneumatics models in other articles, such as the excavators.
As noted above, the first pieces of LEGO Technic resulted from the modification of the existing brick to which they were made holes for the axles. The use of this type of piece did not break with the way previous way to build, but later new parts joined the catalog. Beams or Technic Liftarms , would require design with a different mindset. They initially joined as an additional part with Technic bricks and both coexisted in many models, but today have shifted almost entirely to the original Technic bricks. The new form of construction has the advantage of modeling more realistic and less cubic than older models.
LEGO Technic model with more parts of all time was the 8421 mobile crane, manufactured in 2005 and containing 1885 pieces. The next one is very close: the 8258 Crane Truck, with 1877 pieces.
The challenge of building with LEGO Technic has no limits other than the one we want to make ourselves. We can try to build a bridge or a large construction crane and deal with the design of structures, or reproduce the mechanics of a car, automatic gearbox, suspension system, decide the correct power system, etc. We can add a motor and radio control it by Power Functions system or, if we provide it with intelligence and have an autonomous system, we just need to incorporate a NXT, but that is for another day!