Saturday, May 24, 2014

Alternative parts for rare soft axles

I want to talk about a big problem when you create a technic MOC: the soft axles.

They are very usefull to create soft curves, corners and transitions in technic models, specially in the bodywork, but as probably most of you know, the soft axles have a big availability problem.

In BL the prices are completely crazy(specially in red), and quantity available are not enough (who can not remmenber the 19L in black...or the 14L in red)

When I designed the GT500 in 2012(yes 2012, there is a long story behind this car...), the cost of the soft axles were very low, the 11L in red cost was around 0.30€ each in high availability.

In my new car(it is finished, I will show it comming soon) I have used many red soft axles. I have many red parts in home from some years ago, so I have not had to buy red parts to build it.

Like the mustang and the Land-Rover I will make instructions for this new car. But if any of you want to built a copy probably you will can not do it buying all parts from bricklink.

I am very purist with non-Lego parts, and I will continue using they as time as I can.

But I am trying to find a good(and cheap) alternative for the soft axles for all of you.

The pneumatic tubes can be a solution: they are flexible and have the same diameter as the soft axle. But they are only available in black, light gray and blue, nothing about red, yellow, green, white...

The rigidity, strength, and touch feel are not the same, but they are cheap and relatively common.

Also to connect the pneumatic tubes like a normal soft axle you only need a short hose rigid or a bar.

Searching differents colors out of LEGO original parts I have found a online store where you can buy pneumatic tube 100% Lego compatible in many colors: black, blue, brown, dark blue, dark gray, green, light gray, red, tan, teal, trans clear, white and yellow. And with very good price: you can build the complete GT500 in red with less price than only one 14L red soft axle purchased in bricklink.

I don't want to make direct publicity, but you can find it in the internet easily searching "lego pneumatic red tube".

I have purchased some of them to take a closer look, and these are the results.

In all of them the feel is almost exactly than the Lego pneumatic hoses

I will check one by one:


Very close color. The silicone is slightly transparent, so if there are many light in the room you can see a light tone difference.

Compared with the red soft axles. Like the solid parts very close to the official parts.


Same case as the red. It is very close to the Lego color. The silicone is slightly transparent, so if there are many light in the room you can see a light tone difference.


This is the less precise hose color. It is not too bad, but the hose color is clearly lighter than the Lego white


Light Bluish Gray (LBG)

I bougth it thinking that this color will be the same as the Lego pneumatic tube LBG, but it is not exactly the same

It is really well done and more accurate than the Lego official

Here a comparison with official Lego hose from 8110 set (top) and this aftermarket hose(bottom). The Lego official is slightly lighter

Dark Bluish Gray (DBG)

This is my favourite color of all these hoses. For me it is just perfect. Exactly the same color and solid(not slightly transparent like red or yellow)

I hope this can be usefull for all of you.


Anonymous said...

I use this idea a very long time but is it is the inside-diameter same like the Lego tubes?

Sheepo said...

Yes, it fit with the Lego parts exactly like the original tubes

Anonymous said...

Thanks and are you planning to make a LPE:Lego-Pneumatic-Engine and if you do wich tubing are going to use Lego or this tubes?

Sheepo said...

I don't like the LPE, They are very powerfull, but they are too big and they need an external compressor...

Andrea Bogazzi said...

Can you post a picture of how the tube is connected to the other pieces? i cannot get it...

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sheepo. Can you tell me when you will post instructions for your new car?

Sheepo said...

Today or tomorrow ;), I am finishing the article and pictures.

Anonymous said...

awesome idea

Jan de Boer said...

hi Sheepo where you buy the red axes? I looked at brick link to one of 14 and asked it for $ 33! ridiculous anyway! can you tell me how you got soft red shafts?

Sheepo said...

Bricklink... beleave you or not, that is the cheapest place....

Simon Dale said...

I noticed this problem with the red soft axels when building your GT500 they are ridiculously priced in bricklink and theres not many of them around, same problems with part 32016 and part 44 in red, if i was to make the model again i would purchase and make sure i have all these parts first, especially the angled 3# connectors 32016, however, dispite all that, the way i went around the soft axel problem was to use them from a DECOOL Supercar (Chinese equivalent to LEGO) i previously purchased on e-bay for around £80, the liftarms are as not as good as quality as the Lego But! The red soft axels are Very Very good and in comparison i can't tell the difference apart from one is stamped Lego and the other is not stamped at all.

Anonymous said...

The soft axles.....if anyone has Bionicle sets like I do they have an infinite source of these

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