Today we're beginning a new series of blog posts, the Component Corner! This new series will highlight individual components to give the Light My Bricks audience a better understanding of just what exactly their favorite kits are made up of! We'll aim to give insight into how each different component was created, from concept, to design and function.
First up in this new series, we're putting the spotlight on one of our more interesting and unique components, the NC Push Board!
The NC Push Board is made up of a tiny circuit board measuring 10mm x 10mm, featuring both IN and OUT ports and of course, a push trigger. When connected to power via the IN port, once the trigger is engaged or pushed in, it will cut power to whichever lights are connected to it's OUT port.
This obviously makes it perfect to emulate door operated interior lights in Technic auto builds. But also with a little imagination, can be used on any number of hinged doors, escape hatches and draw bridges to name but a few uses!
What differentiates the NC Push Board from other effects boards, is the fact that it is operated by physical interaction with the LEGO pieces themselves. Whereas all other boards are typically engaged by manually turning, adjusting, or switching on by the operator.
Recently the NC Push Board was used to operate the interior lighting in the LEGO Star Wars Razor Crest 75292. The design of the side opening hatch was perfectly suited to house the board, which features an adhesive backing to make sure it can be positioned correctly for maximum functionality.
However even with this in mind, always be careful when designing your own lighting system as we've found that certain LEGO Technic doors do not 'snap' closed with enough force or weight to allow the trigger to be pushed in, no matter where the board is placed. All part of the design challenge!
The genesis of the NC Push Board came about soon after our very first automotive light kit, the Volkswagen Campervan was completed.
Our then head designer was considering possibilities on how to improve and enhance future automotive kits as there were then many that we hadn't lit and were eager to at the time.
After taking a midday break and heading to the tearoom at LMB HQ, he opened the fridge, prompting the interior light to blink on - revealing what was for lunch. At the same time a light also flashed on in his mind- surely this simple mechanism could be recreated on a miniature scale?
Some quick discussions with the technicians soon followed, proving his intuition to be correct and not long after the NC Push Board went from concept, to prototype, to final adjustments just in time for the LEGO Ford Mustang light kit design to be completed. Making the Mustang the very first Light My Bricks light kit to feature the unique component!
Over time the NC Push Board has seen revisions and improvements with each generation of manufacture, building on the original ideas and functionality with each revolution. The most important and beneficial to Light My Bricks builders is the physical changes to the push trigger itself. The first trigger was very thin and strong, but as a result, quite stiff and required some focus and concentration to push in.
The current model has been redesigned, where now the pin itself has a marginally larger surface area with the same level of sturdiness, however it pushes in with complete ease offering almost undetectable resistance. The result produces a realistic lighting effect and the most satisfying display and demonstration experiences.
Hopefully this gives you some insight and inspiration for your own NC Push board ideas, can you think of a LEGO set where the component could be implemented? Head over to our DIY Store to pick one up and let us know how you intend to use it!