Dual Container Grab Mechanism for STS Crane

dual container grab mechanism
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Over the last 8 months I have been working on Ship-to-Shore (STS) Bulk Container Handling Crane which is scaled to the LEGO 20′ Container that comes with LEGO Maersk  Train set. This Dual Container Grab Mechanism will hand two 40′ Containers, or four 20′ Container, or one 40′ & two 20′ Containers.

dual container grab mechanism loaded

It  has been a rather drawn out build, with the main issue being its size at 1.5m long, 0.45m wide, and 1.2m high, along with the associated cost of such a build. Also sourcing the shear quantity of parts at an affordable price has also been an issue. Also my clubs BulkLUG Order has been stuck at a shipping company in Denmark since early March 2016. The BulkLUG order was to cover 90% of the structural build, so I have had to hit BrickLink pretty hard for Technic Beams.

STS Harbour Crane trial setup

The photograph above will give you a good sense of the crane’s scale despite the lack quality of the image (I think the phone’s lens was suffering from a fingerprint). When finalised, the Crane will be autonomous and powered by six Medium EV3 Motors and an EV3 Programmable Brick. At this stage I am saving up for the six Medium EV3 Motors, after purchasing 2500 Technic Chain Links, at what seems to be a ridiculous price for such a miniscule piece of plastic. I did manage to pay about US$0.12 each for them, but with the current Australian Exchange rate that blew out to AU$0.16 each.

This Dual Container Grab Mechanism is built upon the original one I made for the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Container Handling Gantry Crane I put together in 2015. The main difference is there are two grabs connected together and powered by a single EV3 Medium Motor connected to a Chain Drive which activated the Container Gripping Claws.

dual container grab mechanism

I have been contemplating on adding a Counterweight Mechanism which would balance the whole assembly if you wish to transport single Containers.Although relatively easy to implement, it would require a seventh motor to the robot.

dual container grab mechanism

I have separated the two Container Grab Mechanisms by 8x Standard LEGO Stud spacings. This arrangement will allow me to unload Shipping Containers from two separate Freight Trains at a time, as te train tracks are both separated by 8x Studs.

Dual Container Grab Mechanism

As can be seen above, the Dual Container Grab Mechanism works very well, thanks to several months of development and refinement. The whole mechanism requires over 680 parts, excluding the Drive-train’s Chain Links. The mechanism is easy to build for experienced Technic Builders, although it is somewhat time consuming..

dualcontainergrabmechanism-01 dualcontainergrabmechanism-02
dualcontainergrabmechanism-03 dual container grab mechanism

Download the LEGO Digital Designer CAD Files:


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Stay tuned, as over coming weeks I will attempt to have a full repots on my ‘Ship-to-Shore (STS) Bulk Container Handling Crane’ posted on this website.

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