by sun yun

Building joints is probably one of the most difficult aspects of building Lego mecha. Factors such as mass, friction, leverage and a host of other variables all come into play. The directions and possibilities are as endless as the number of elements in the Lego system of parts. This articles covers methods which require no modification to the part or use of non-Lego elements.

Plate Hinges
Uses: Major joints; knees, elbows
I commonly use hinge plates in my elbow and knee joints. The reason why I use it in these areas is because it allows 180 degrees of travel similar to the way our arms and knees bend. New hinge plates also have a suitable amount of friction which help it bear weight. Using a combination of two or three of the hinges together increase the available amount of friction on the joint.

Click Hinges
Uses: Major joints; knees, elbow
Click hinges are great because they are commonly available and allow for fixed position movement. I occasionally use them in major joints such as the knees for some of my High Grade models. I do not recommend using these hinges in models over 2lbs because a considerable amount of slop becomes noticeable when they are forced to bear the weight of larger bodies.

Enclosed Technic Axel with Stud
Uses: Rotational joints; upper arm, upper leg
This is a great rotational joint with a lot of friction. By enclosing the stud end of this axel between two technic bricks the binding action between the three pieces creates a lot of weight bearing friction. I use this joint whenever possible for rotational articulation.

Enclosed Friction Pin
Uses: Rotational joints; upper arm, upper leg
This method of enclosing a friction pin allows for a compact rotating joint. Although it does not have as much tension as the method above it can be used suitably in small creations.

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