We're bringing back the Monorail - 3D printed!

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Comments

  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 470
    ^ should be added to the main LDraw lib then, too (Stud.io uses a derived library)
    MattDawsonkiki180703
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    On a side note, here's the extension car I designed earlier for the Airport Shuttle - this way, both end cars can be constructed in a similar (but mirrored) fashion.
    catwranglerIstokgLowa
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    @MattDawson and @masterX244
    We can certainly do that at some point, but for the moment I'm lacking the time to do this...  I'm focusing on getting the basic automation for train and monorail ready.
    MattDawsonkiki180703
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    For those that are interested and have not checked the homepage recently, I added a review of these parts.
    gmonkey76PeteMMattDawsonkiki180703AllBrick
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    edited January 2017
    I managed to take a photo of the in-progress 3-car Airport Shuttle. I've uploaded photos to Flickr: Action shot 3
    I wrecked the end car to built the middle car using the design 3 posts up, and then have slowly worked my way through the end car, rebuilding it as a mirrored image of the original end car. 

    Aside from some roof pieces, lack of yellow seats, a 1x1x2 panel piece (in red for the cab), the 1x2x3 panel pieces for the ends, and window pace glass pieces (I pick and chose what windows to have glass in for the photos), it's pretty much complete. 
    SprinkleOttercatwranglerLegogramdavetheoxygenmankiki180703LowaAllBrick
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114

    We're currently working on a number of additional track types for the monorail system.  Over the last few months we had a few requests for a 'monorail track tile': a tile with a monorail rail on it.  Integrating monorail track into the pavement of a city layout is be one the potential applications.  

    The tile itself is pretty straightforward, getting that tile connected with the standard monorail track is not.  You can see a first prototype of these tracks below.  On the right you have a prototype of a 4x8 prototype tile; on the left you see an adapter to connect that tile to the standard monorail track.  It works but the ramp is too short and it's rather bumpy when the train goes over it.  We're going to redesign the connector as a 4x16 ramp.  The final ramp would also be printed at a higher resolution to have a smoother surface.

    Making curves with this system would not be straightforward either, the main issue here is that different sections along the curve all would require different connectors to match the stud pattern below.   But that's not unfeasible to make, but it would be a bit of a puzzle to assemble the track.  Another idea that I had was to add a 'narrow gauge train track style connector' to the tiles, as such you could assemble them without needing a base plate; that might be handy for the curves.

    These are just prototypes to explore the possibilities of this system.

    What do think ?



    gmonkey76kiki180703preveredavetheoxygenmanMattDawson
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 1,443
    Makes me wish I had a monorail set. Looks good.
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    The issue I have with 'street running' is that it will cause a huge disparity with the track system, hence the need for the adaptor. Personally I think the easier option will be custom ramps which allow the existing monorail track to blend into a raised pavement section. 

    However, one solution would be creation of a imitation railway track piece with studs for attachment of ramps, and have this as, say, a 6 wide x 8 long piece.

    The main issue with integration into street running would be the 'tooth' rail - this is a brick high(?) so would still look out of place, even if the sides were integrated, unless the objective is to lower platform height (2 brick height to monorail car floor better than 2 brick + 2 plate)

    But IRL, the cost isn't worth it.
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    edited January 2017
    (updated)

    The issue I have with 'street running' is that it will cause a huge disparity with the track system, hence the need for the adaptor. Personally I think the easier option will be custom design ramps (or moc'ing using existing pieces) which allow the existing brick height monorail track to blend into a raised pavement section. 

    However, one solution would be creation of a imitation railway track piece with a row of studs either side for attachment of ramps, and have this as, say, a 6 wide x 8 long piece.

    The main issue with integration into street running would be the 'tooth' rail - this is a brick high(?) so would still look out of place, even if the sides were integrated into a pavement, unless the objective is to lower platform height (2 brick height to monorail car floor better than 2 brick + 2 plate of full height track).

    As for curves, would making these as half curves be better? That way you can also create diagonal track and not have to create 2 items (2left and right half curve pieces and diagonals as required)

    But IRL, the cost isn't worth it. But, this isn't real life...
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,393
    The monorail tooth rail is about a plate high, I believe - not a brick :)
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 244
    So for those of us who don't have monorails, can these tracks be used? Is there anything special about the monorail motor?
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    edited January 2017
    sid3windr said:
    The monorail tooth rail is about a plate high, I believe - not a brick :)
    It IS a tile/plate. It always looks bigger in photos... 


    gmonkey76SumoLego
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    So for those of us who don't have monorails, can these tracks be used? Is there anything special about the monorail motor?
    The monorail motor has a cog to propel the train.  These tiles are designed to work with that motor, it would be hard if not impossible to use them with another LEGO motor unless you create a custom adapter carriage for that.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    (updated)

    The issue I have with 'street running' is that it will cause a huge disparity with the track system, hence the need for the adaptor. Personally I think the easier option will be custom design ramps (or moc'ing using existing pieces) which allow the existing brick height monorail track to blend into a raised pavement section. 

    However, one solution would be creation of a imitation railway track piece with a row of studs either side for attachment of ramps, and have this as, say, a 6 wide x 8 long piece.

    The main issue with integration into street running would be the 'tooth' rail - this is a brick high(?) so would still look out of place, even if the sides were integrated into a pavement, unless the objective is to lower platform height (2 brick height to monorail car floor better than 2 brick + 2 plate of full height track).

    As for curves, would making these as half curves be better? That way you can also create diagonal track and not have to create 2 items (2left and right half curve pieces and diagonals as required)

    But IRL, the cost isn't worth it. But, this isn't real life...
    Sorry Matt but I don't really understand what you mean.  Maybe a little sketch could help me understand...
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    edited January 2017
    Lowa said:
    Sorry Matt but I don't really understand what you mean.  Maybe a little sketch could help me understand..
    Ignore the stuff about it not blending in, that was based on the middle 'cog' section being a brick high rather than a plate/tile. As for the curves, this was sort of what I was suggesting:


    Alternatively, you could make a 'odd cut-out' version (so the track ran to the closest 2 to 3 studs either side of the rail) which could save on printing time and materials.
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 244
    Lowa said:
    The monorail motor has a cog to propel the train.  These tiles are designed to work with that motor, it would be hard if not impossible to use them with another LEGO motor unless you create a custom adapter carriage for that.
    So what are the chances you're making a custom piece to allow a monorail that uses a PF motor? :)
    gmonkey76
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,393
    How would you see this working? Are you not just building a PF train?
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Lowa said:
    The monorail motor has a cog to propel the train.  These tiles are designed to work with that motor, it would be hard if not impossible to use them with another LEGO motor unless you create a custom adapter carriage for that.
    So what are the chances you're making a custom piece to allow a monorail that uses a PF motor? :)
    YESSS!
    gmonkey76
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 244
    sid3windr said:
    How would you see this working? Are you not just building a PF train?
    I guess it would be a special gear or mechanism or housing that you'd insert an M or L or XL pf motor into. Not the regular train motor, if that's what you're thinking.
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    I'd doubt a PF motor would be good - too big to match the existing motor.
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,393
    ^^ Ah, I was thinking you meant making special tracks for it instead of a mount to put it on monorail tracks. Had thought myself about trying to fit an M-motor on a regular monorail base with some sort of technic gear but that's not going to fit... :)
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    edited January 2017
    You'd probably be alright with a medium motor and driving the motor bogie via a universal joint mechanism between the bogie and the 'coach', which would work fine... except for slopes (which need to shorten/extend the drive mechanism length at the start and end of a ramp respectively).
  • legoteacher10legoteacher10 Katy, TexasMember Posts: 1
    I use pf on my old monorail right now.  Lego makes a PF to 9V.  I attach a RF receiver to my PF battery, then to the motor and I control the monorail through the remote.  I like being able to control it, but it is bulky.  You can also use a smart brick to control the monorail with PF.  As for making curves I would put a plate attachment to the bottom of the curve on each end and a plate in the middle to secure the track.  That way people could just tile under it and the track would just run across the top.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    Sorry for the late replies; we had a very hectic period...
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    MattDawson said:


    Not a bad idea, but that would be very, very expensive prints...  With 3D printing need to print a support under the piece you're making, the larger the footprint of the part the larger the support/raft.  This one would need a massive support...
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    So what are the chances you're making a custom piece to allow a monorail that uses a PF motor? :)

    @MrShinyAndNew, @sid3windr, @SprinkleOtter, @MattDawson

    This is a question that has come up a few times and I have been thinking about it.  We would need something like the black base of the current motor but with some technic peg holes to mount a motor.  The medium PF motor has nearly the same size of the monorail motor, so It might be possible to make a variant of the current motor cover for the medium PF motor.  The main issue that I see is the connection between the cog and the motor.  The cog is not in the center of the bogey and if you put the PF motor directly on top of the cog, it's too far off center to still get it in a 4 stud wide train.  So the motor has to be placed in the center and we need some additional gears to get the cog in the right position, that complicates matters...  I also wonder if the medium motor is strong enough...

    A first test could be to take the bogey of the extension car and modify  it so we can put a PF motor on top of the cog (off center).  That might not be too complicated and would allow us to test whether the medium motor is strong enough or whether we need the large motor.


    SprinkleOtterMattDawson
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    I use pf on my old monorail right now.  Lego makes a PF to 9V.  I attach a RF receiver to my PF battery, then to the motor and I control the monorail through the remote.  I like being able to control it, but it is bulky.  You can also use a smart brick to control the monorail with PF.  As for making curves I would put a plate attachment to the bottom of the curve on each end and a plate in the middle to secure the track.  That way people could just tile under it and the track would just run across the top.
    Interesting...  I heard that before but it's always interesting to see how everything is integrated into the design.  I wouldn't mind seeing some picture of your PF monorail!
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    edited February 2017
    Lowa said:

    Not a bad idea, but that would be very, very expensive prints...  With 3D printing need to print a support under the piece you're making, the larger the footprint of the part the larger the support/raft.  This one would need a massive support...
    The only other options are therefore:
    1. 'jagged edge' curved rail tile:


    Which would mean less support, but a need to configure the tiles around the curved track; or
    2. Create the rail as a 'tile high' add-on piece that would fit onto 'jumpers' and other pieces at select locations.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    I have no input for the mono-tile discussion, but how is that baseplate so dirty? My job lot finds are oft cleaner.
    AllBrickCCCkiki180703Dedgeckojosekalel
  • AllBrickAllBrick UKMember Posts: 1,404
    I have no input for the mono-tile discussion, but how is that baseplate so dirty? My job lot finds are oft cleaner.
    I was going to say a similar thing, my OCD recepticles are screaming.

    Must, clean, baseplate......
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Are tile bends even that useful, they wouldn't fit with anything built near them, as inadvertently demonstrated with the jagged edge above. So in those cases the standard curve would be almost as good. Straight and crossovers would be the only useful tile pieces in my mind. Not just for city layouts but because you could closely integrate the track with lego structures which wouldn't work with the jagged layout anyway.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    The only other options are therefore:
    1. 'jagged edge' curved rail tile:
    Which would mean less support, but a need to configure the tiles around the curved track; or
    2. Create the rail as a 'tile high' add-on piece that would fit onto 'jumpers' and other pieces at select locations.
    Maybe we could have 'curved edged' monorail tiles but provide custom jagged edged tiles, roughly something like this below.  That would allow to make your 2 options: 
    1) Put the curved edged monorail tiles on pavement level and fill the gaps with the jagged edged tiles
    2) Put the curved edged monorail tile on top of the pavement.

    MattDawsongmonkey76
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    Are tile bends even that useful, they wouldn't fit with anything built near them, as inadvertently demonstrated with the jagged edge above. So in those cases the standard curve would be almost as good. Straight and crossovers would be the only useful tile pieces in my mind. Not just for city layouts but because you could closely integrate the track with lego structures which wouldn't work with the jagged layout anyway.
    I agree that there are most likely more applications for the straight tiles, but I see applications for the curves too.  There are quite a few AFOLs using monorail to make light rail / tramway type transportation systems in their city.  With curved tiles you could for example run the track parallel to the streets on pavement level.  On the street side you keep the curve, on the other side you connect to the side walk...  but you're right that, in general, integrating curved tiles will always be trickier.
    MattDawson
  • TikiLukiTikiLuki ChicagoMember Posts: 60
    I'm really hoping that now that LEGO is doing expanded stuff with Disney that they release a Disneyland or WDW monorail set. It would be spectacular. Personally I'd love to see the Mark II but any of them would be great, and would provide an influx of new, authentic pieces for existing monorail owners.
    rd1899
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    @TikiLuki
    IF Lego do introduce a monorail, it won't be with any of the original pieces, and will likely be using brick built track.
  • TikiLukiTikiLuki ChicagoMember Posts: 60
    @TikiLuki
    IF Lego do introduce a monorail, it won't be with any of the original pieces, and will likely be using brick built track.
    What makes you say that? I would think that would be fairly difficult since wide curves would require elements that don't exist currently. And since the existing (previous) monorail track / engine combination worked on inclines / declines, a new method of achieving the same thing would be needed. Would it not be easier to just go back to the old system?
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,348
    TikiLuki said:
    @TikiLuki
    IF Lego do introduce a monorail, it won't be with any of the original pieces, and will likely be using brick built track.
    What makes you say that? I would think that would be fairly difficult since wide curves would require elements that don't exist currently. And since the existing (previous) monorail track / engine combination worked on inclines / declines, a new method of achieving the same thing would be needed. Would it not be easier to just go back to the old system?
    The same reason why a monorail has not been made for the past 27 years: Cost. From what I gather the Monorail track parts where made with a tougher plastic and were more robust pieces. Combine that with what would be likely the higher cost of the monorail motors themselves, and I'm guessing if a monorail was made today it would not be the same as the last.
    There is also the assumption that LEGO still has the molds for the old track, which is unlikely.

    In the end, this has been a debate that has been going on nearly since the form has been around.
    If making a monorail for LEGO would be profitable they would have done another by now. Monorails were NOT cheap when they were last out, as I think I saw a price tag of 199.99 USD for #6991 alone, and that was in 1990's cost.  Guessing a monorail now would be around 300-400 USD.

    MattDawsongmonkey76josekalelstlux
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    TikiLuki said:
    @TikiLuki
    IF Lego do introduce a monorail, it won't be with any of the original pieces, and will likely be using brick built track.
    What makes you say that? I would think that would be fairly difficult since wide curves would require elements that don't exist currently. And since the existing (previous) monorail track / engine combination worked on inclines / declines, a new method of achieving the same thing would be needed. Would it not be easier to just go back to the old system?
    There's several reasons:
    1. Representatives have said that the monorail didn't make much money when on sale originally, and possibly even at a loss.
    2. The moulds themselves have been destroyed (or if the rumour is believed, buried in a factory floor) 
    3. New moulds would be required - even making just the old track again would mean at least 12+ new moulds (if we include the functional elements as well, like the direction/stop track and turnouts).
    3B. Then there's the new mechanism (most likely using a PF motor + bogie or new PF motor bogie for the monorail) required to power it.
    4. It's been proven that brick built track is feasible without modification to elements. And it's able to do things the original wasn't, like Y turnouts, rising whilst configured as a spiral, and traversers.
    stlux
  • TikiLukiTikiLuki ChicagoMember Posts: 60
    Thanks guys for the info and links. Interesting. But I do think that with the Disney tie-in, they could sell a lot more today than they did back then.

    LEGO likely could never have sold sets in the late '70s / early '80s that a lot of the bigger sets go for today. Think of the SW UCS sets, the modular sets...those wouldn't have sold in any kind of quantity back then due to cost. People have more expendable income now, and the online LEGO community / global marketplace also helps to sell product today that wouldn't have done well back then. 

    With the number of people who are rabid Disney parks fans / monorail fans, I'll bet such a set would sell well today.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,803
    edited February 2017
    TikiLuki said:
    @TikiLuki
    IF Lego do introduce a monorail, it won't be with any of the original pieces, and will likely be using brick built track.
    What makes you say that? I would think that would be fairly difficult since wide curves would require elements that don't exist currently. And since the existing (previous) monorail track / engine combination worked on inclines / declines, a new method of achieving the same thing would be needed. Would it not be easier to just go back to the old system?
    There's several reasons:
    1. Representatives have said that the monorail didn't make much money when on sale originally, and possibly even at a loss.
    2. The moulds themselves have been destroyed (or if the rumour is believed, buried in a factory floor) 
    3. New moulds would be required - even making just the old track again would mean at least 12+ new moulds (if we include the functional elements as well, like the direction/stop track and turnouts).
    3B. Then there's the new mechanism (most likely using a PF motor + bogie or new PF motor bogie for the monorail) required to power it.
    4. It's been proven that brick built track is feasible without modification to elements. And it's able to do things the original wasn't, like Y turnouts, rising whilst configured as a spiral, and traversers.
    Adding a couple things to this…

    5. Anything involving motors or electronics has to undergo far more rigorous (and expensive) safety testing than regular bricks. And safety standards for toys change over time, so what worked in the 80s might not work today.

    6. Kids today have even less interest in monorails than kids in the 80s and 90s did. Kids LEGO has tested monorails with in the past decade don't see what makes them any more interesting or special than trains, which most of them aren't super interested in to begin with.

    7. Sets aimed at AFOLs, even big expensive ones like the Disney Castle, Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters, and Death Star, generally don't have the budget for more than a couple new molds. This is because they are not produced or sold in the same numbers as more kid-oriented models. The AFOL community is passionate but it is a fraction of the size of the company's core audience of kids. And when you're only producing a set in the tens of thousands rather than the millions, it's much harder to cover the cost of new molds.

    This has all already been debated to death in the "why no more monorail?" topic:  http://bricksetforum.com/discussion/3869/why-no-more-monorail
    Bumblepantscatwranglerstlux
  • TikiLukiTikiLuki ChicagoMember Posts: 60
    Again, thanks for the link!
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    Aanchir said:
    Adding a couple things to this…
    Every time this discussion comes up you feel the need to "add a couple of things..."  
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    edited February 2017
    I don't buy the whole "the molds are too expensive" crap.  If a guy in a basement can print off monorail track for ten bucks a foot then Lego can do it for a 1/10th that.  Lego won't because they are more concerned about licensing and selling minifigs.  Lego reminds me of Apple way too much nowadays.  They only care about the profit and brand image.  And that's why guys like 4DBrix are a very good thing for this hobby.
    josekalelLowadougts
  • TikiLukiTikiLuki ChicagoMember Posts: 60
    The only thing I'll say about that is that injection molding is extremely expensive. I used to work for a small toy company and we were making action figures out of PVC...ABS was more expensive and had some other challenges with regard to the specific type of product we were making.

    But our molds were around $20k each and definitely had a lifespan that wasn't as much as you might think before the quality would start to degrade on parts. And what we were making was nowhere near as tolerance dependent as LEGO is.

    Keep in mind when I say the molds were $20k each, each mold has a number of pieces to it, but still, they are very expensive.

    3D printing is a completely different process and is still maturing.
    AanchirSprinkleOttermadforLEGOcatwranglergmonkey76Shibstlux
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,803
    mathew said:
    I don't buy the whole "the molds are too expensive" crap.  If a guy in a basement can print off monorail track for ten bucks a foot then Lego can do it for a 1/10th that.  Lego won't because they are more concerned about licensing and selling minifigs.  
    Nobody's saying you have to accept it. You can continue being skeptical as long as you want, no matter how ignorant it makes you look. But it won't change the reality that LEGO isn't bringing back these molds.

    3D printing currently cannot match the quality of injection-molded LEGO pieces. The examples shown in this topic are excellent examples of 3D printing, especially for a small fan-run operation, but they still are rough and inconsistent in texture compared to real LEGO parts. This may not be a big issue for you, but it's a big issue for LEGO. Plus, the tracks are just one part of the equation. The motors, as I mentioned above, would need to be redesigned and extensively tested to meet modern toy safety regulations.

    Could you design a monorail that uses existing Power Functions motors? Quite possibly! But in that case why even bother sticking with the old track? It didn't look especially authentic for a monorail anyhow. But even with the old molds out of the picture, you still run into the issue that monorails as a concept don't necessarily generate enough demand to be worth the LEGO Group's time and money.

    Your idea that LEGO cares more about licensing and selling minifigures than making monorails is technically true, if only because anyone the least bit sensible knows that making things that have been proven to sell well year after year is better than making things that never, ever sold well and show no indications of selling better today.

    As of last year, only about a third of the LEGO Group's products are licensed, the same as it's been for over a decade, but if the narrative that licensing is taking over everything has endured this long, it's not as though anything I say is going to stop it.
    LyichirSprinkleOttersklambBumblepantscatwranglerMattDawsongmonkey76stluxdrdavewatford
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited February 2017
    Does that statistic  still hold true with dimensions included? Does that include friends, nexo knights, ninjago as licensed or not? Even if you argue they're not licensed the sets very much take the design Nd feel of licensed sets. Also to many of us ten years is nothing and we hark back to the 80s and early 90s when none of the sets were licensed. All that said its kind of irrelevant as licensed sets are what makes lego money and what most people want so nothing is changing.
    josekalel
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,803
    Does that statistic  still hold true with dimensions included? Does that include friends, nexo knights, ninjago as licensed or not? Even if you argue they're not licensed the sets very much take the design Nd feel of licensed sets. Also to many of us ten years is nothing and we hark back to the 80s and early 90s when none of the sets were licensed. All that said its kind of irrelevant as licensed sets are what makes lego money and what most people want so nothing is changing.
    I understand there are a lot more licensed sets than there were in the 80s and 90s, but my point is that licensed sets hardly dominate the LEGO Group's offerings like many people think they do. One of the most routinely successful themes year after year is the highly traditional, non-licensed LEGO City. Friends and Ninjago are also huge themes that command a lot of sales.

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean about Friends and Ninjago sets having the "design and feel" of licensed sets. It's true that some of the sets sort of tell a story and have recurring named characters, but couldn't you say basically the same thing about Adventurers, which was basically a non-licensed Indiana Jones? Or Time Cruisers? Or Fabuland? LEGO was definitely already on a trajectory towards more character-driven themes years before they got into actual pop culture licenses.

    Believe me, I myself frequently get frustrated with how often discussions in the AFOL community make it seem like the licensed sets are the only ones that matter. But it's important to remember that's not a reflection of how the LEGO portfolio is actually broken down, and LEGO still values and commits substantial resources to their original themes. If LEGO genuinely thought there was a substantially bigger market for monorails than in the past, there's no reason to think they wouldn't put one in the City or Friends theme. Or for that matter, even the Nexo Knights theme, which in the show already has a glowing "holo-rail" as a means of transit which has been the target of multiple bad guy attacks.
    catwranglerMattDawsonSprinkleOtterJudgeChuckstlux
  • MrJacksonMrJackson Member Posts: 322
    I think an important point is being missed here.

    It's not just a matter of the cost of making new molds or redesigning PF motors.  I don't think a new monorail will exist because there isn't a market for it. I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of kids who come in the store are gunning for Star Wars or Superhero sets.  There aren't as many that are looking for City sets, and there's only a tiny fraction of those who are interested in trains. For your average kid, there isn't a functional difference between monorails and trains.  We usually only have one train on the shelves at any time (It's been the High Speed Passenger Train for as long as I can remember, it seems) so to have a train plus a monorail taking up shelf space isn't viable when the trains already sell at a much slower rate than other sets. There unfortunately is a narrow target audience.  Not to mention, train layouts take up a TON of space. The advantage of monorails is that you can run them overhead of your existing setup easier than you can trains.  

    It's mostly the adults my age who ask about the old monorail sets but I can tell you that there are WAY fewer of them than the customers that ask about the Firehouse, Slave I, or Helicarrier. Someone upthread made a good point about how expensive monorails were back when they did exist. According to the database, 6990 was $155 in 1987 which is just over $330 today.  If I gave you the option to spend $330 on a monorail or spend an extra 20 bucks on a Firehouse Headquarters, Disney Castle, or Helicarrier, which would you do?  And keep in mind on top of that that it's a specific type of AFOL on these forums pining for monorails, not necessarily the typical customer.

    I hear the argument that Lego is more concerned with their licensed themes, but then the same customers balk at the price of the big exclusives that aren't licensed. There's limited shelf space and limited disposable income.  Believe me, I'd love to see a new monorail, but it would require specific track: the track is toothed which allows it to climb (if you've never seen an image of monorail track, think cogged-railway) which is half the appeal of a monorail. I'm looking forward to finally having my monorail up and built in Brickadelphia as I've had to design a good portion of my city around the route, taking into account clearance for track curve and other issues. But it beats losing square footage for on-the-ground train tracks.  Most kids would rather just get a self-contained playset that they can build and play with quickly, which is a whole other topic. 
    catwranglerMattDawsonLyichirstlux
  • TikiLukiTikiLuki ChicagoMember Posts: 60
    Does that statistic  still hold true with dimensions included? Does that include friends, nexo knights, ninjago as licensed or not? Even if you argue they're not licensed the sets very much take the design Nd feel of licensed sets. Also to many of us ten years is nothing and we hark back to the 80s and early 90s when none of the sets were licensed. All that said its kind of irrelevant as licensed sets are what makes lego money and what most people want so nothing is changing.
    I just read something the other day in which LEGO reps said Germany is (and has been for a while) LEGO's biggest market, followed by the U.S., and in Germany, City sets are the most popular. That info may be a couple years old, but still, it's clear that licensed products aren't the only things LEGO is making money on.
    AanchirLyichircatwranglerstlux
  • TikiLukiTikiLuki ChicagoMember Posts: 60
    MrJackson said:

    Someone upthread made a good point about how expensive monorails were back when they did exist. According to the database, 6990 was $155 in 1987 which is just over $330 today. 
    A bit off-topic, but I have a decent sized LEGO collection, and I've been collecting for 40+ years. And yet I've rarely managed to snag any exciting "LEGO finds".

    Years ago, in the days of RTL, I went into a Service Merchandise, and from across the store I saw a tiny bit of a yellow box way up on top of the toy shelves, where product was not normally kept. I climbed up the shelves and lo and behold it was the Airport Shuttle, marked down to $39.97. It was already over a year since it had been discontinued. I'm assuming somebody stuck it up there while merchandising (it was a huge box for those days) and simply forgot about it.

    I've bought plenty of sets on sale / clearance over the years, but that was my only really great score as such.
    AanchirBumblepantsLyichirsklambcatwranglerstlux
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