Cool cave-crawling creature: 42049 Mine Loader

The LEGO® Technic 42049 Mine Loader is one cool cave-crawling creature! We wanted to get as many working mining functions into the model as possible. But how do you find room for the necessary mechanics for these functions in a model as low as the Mine Loader?

Technic designers Alfred Pedersen and Lars Krogh Jensen explain.

A real-life Mine Loader is a highly specialized machine. How did you decide which functions you wanted in this model?

Alfred: We don’t back down from a challenge to build more and better functions into any size model. Our Mine Loader is a good size model, and a real-life mine loader can be pretty big, too.

In the real world, it has to drive through low, crooked tunnels, steer around tight corners, and lift heavy cargo at the same time. So it can’t be too tall, and it needs a low center of gravity, a powerful engine, and a chassis to support the weight of both sturdy wheels, tires and cargo. It’s a mean machine. The functions in our model had to reflect all those things.

So the functions we ended up with were:

  • A working grabber you can use to pick up and transport the barrel or other fun things. The barrel elements are used as engine panels on the alternative model, the Mine Cutting Machine, by the way.
  • Articulated central steering, with a giant turntable and gear wheel turning mechanism – I like the way this works!
  • A working engine with moving pistons – this was the the most challenging to make room for. The frame and chassis had to hold a set of huge wheels and tires as well.

The trick is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. When you build the model, you will see the engine itself is built with relatively few elements, and placed at the very front of the vehicle. We kept it narrow and flat, and yet it has enough “power” to turn the fan in front as well!

  • Detailed driver's cab with orange warning beacon: the beacon doesn’t light up, but I’m sure you can still imagine it warning other miners as it makes its way through the tunnels!
  • And, of course, the big wheels, framed with new elements: the wheel arch panels.

You said it’s a “good size” model – how big are we talking?

Alfred: The Mine Loader is just over 9cm (3”) high, 37cm (14”) long and 11cm (4”) wide.

Lars Krogh Jensen designed the alternative model, the Mine Cutting Machine.

Lars, how did you make use of the different elements in the main model to create functions in this one?

Lars: A mine cutting machine is less compact, and both taller and wider than a mine loader, so I had a little more room to play with. This one is is about 11cm (4”) high, 39cm (15”) long and 13cm (5”) wide.

  • I used the fan from the main model as the front cutter, and the giant turntable to frame the gear mechanisms that make it spin.
  • The wheels are mounted a little differently than the main model to make the frame wider.
  • And this one has articulated central steering, too, of course.

But no warning beacon?

Oh, don’t worry, you’ll hear AND see this baby coming from tunnels away!

It all sounds a little complex – are these models hard to build?

Lars: We break each section of the model down to easy building steps in the building instructions. We always try to show functions as clearly as possible. And if you want a little help, you can find both instructions in the 3D LEGO® Building Instructions app.

What is your Mine Loader working on? Show us in the Gallery!