Remember when Legos was pretty much a blank canvas that any child with an imagination could go crazy? I mean, it was about doing things from different rooms, and the fun was creating whatever you could think of. Being such a huge toy company, Lego has always expanded its product line, from full movie links and even licensed cars. The Technic line has always been the most complex but the most satisfying to build, and with things like lights, transmissions and even electricity, these high-end Lego “toys” are far from their humble beginnings. But sometimes they satisfy the interior reducer.
As with everything on YouTube, if you can think of it, there will be a channel for that, and Sariel’s Lego Workshop focuses on very neat stuff. In this video, he takes us through a continuously variable transmission (CVT), all built entirely from lego parts and a power source. It’s incredibly similar to what we have in modern cars, and the pulley system with the shafts and the belt is executed in their Lego way. The reports are simulated by the belt which interacts with the parallel cones but oriented opposite one another. There are no fixed gears, it’s clutchless, and all you get is maximum or minimum, and all you have to do is move the mechanism forwards or backwards to speed up or slow down.
Now it’s not perfect, and as Sariel points out in the video, the Lego CVT system is effective at low loads and low resistance. The belt moves along the cones so gently that the band tends to slide out of the “train” when it encounters an obstacle or a slope.
Sariel also mentions that this would not happen if Lego made rubber cones for higher friction to hold the belt in place, or perhaps even a little further by creating cones and toothed belts. In any case, it’s still very satisfying to watch.