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Information Update and COVID-19

The scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and will be felt by all of us in the coming weeks and months. I want to reach out personally on ...

LEGO-Modelle beleuchten, Featuring the PFx Brick!

Our friend Alexander Ehle from Germany has recently released a German language book that LEGO fans have needed for a long time: LEGO®-Modelle beleuchten. It ...

PFx Brick Pre-orders are Here

Pre-order the new injection molded PFx Brick; the new standard across all PFx Bricks replacing the 3D printed enclosures used for our production debut.Here are ...

Information Update and COVID-19

The scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and will be felt by all of us in the coming weeks and months. I want to reach out personally on behalf of Fx Bricks to reassure all of our customers and friends that Fx Bricks will continue to fulfill orders and keep developing exciting new products.

Over the past few weeks, Fx Bricks has been monitoring the global situation and adapting to the new challenges that we all face. Although this update is overdue, I hope that our valued customers and fans will gain confidence in our ability to progress through these difficult times.

1. PFx Brick Pre-orders

In mid February, Fx Bricks accepted pre-orders for the new production batch of PFx Bricks. These new PFx Bricks include the much anticipated injection molded brick enclosure. The current status of the PFx Brick pre-orders is as follows:
  • - All electronics assembly is completed for more than 1000 units
  • - 100x units are currently in the final assembly and test pipeline
  • - New product packaging has been ordered and received
  • - The tooling of the brick enclosure mold was completed before the Chinese Lunar New Year, however the Covid-19 situation prevented our manufacturer from starting production
  • - Last week, our manufacturer completed a pre-production batch of the brick enclosures (shown below) prior to authorizing the final production quantity of 3000 units
  • - Once we approve the pre-production parts, full production of 3000 units should only take 2-3 weeks to complete and again, we will keep everyone informed of our progress



2. Accessory orders

All orders of accessory products such as Speakers, LEDs, IR sensors, etc. are being manufactured and should hopefully be shipped very soon. Note, this only applies to orders which do not include pre-order PFx Bricks, only accessory products.

3. Fx Track System

Prior to the Covid-19 situation, our goal was to debut our new Fx Track L-Gauge metal track system at Brickworld Chicago in June. Although Brickworld Chicago has not been officially postponed or cancelled (as of Mar 27), we feel that the health and safety of our fans and customers, as well as the general public, is best served by not attending public AFOL events for at least the next few months.
Even though we have decided against a public debut, we remain fully committed to releasing the Fx Track system in the summer 2020 time period. As a minimum, we plan on releasing the following Fx Track system items at launch:
  • - S8 straight track
  • - S32 straight track
  • - R72 curved track
  • - R88 curved track
This will soon be followed by the R56, R104 curved tracks and the S16 straight track later this year.
The Fx Track system product that we are the most excited to reveal is the P40 left and right track switch. The P40 switch finally offers Lego train fans a premium quality high performance track switch comparable to track products available from the world's very best model train manufacturers. Our switch has been meticulously engineered by combining design principles from actual railway civil engineering and optimized by a powerful software design tool developed by Fx Bricks. Our custom software CAD tools allow us to develop track system components with levels of precision, tolerance, and consistency impossible by traditional design methods.

We will be submitting our CAD models of the P40 switch to our manufacturing partners for validation and costing shortly. We are very proud of the P40 switch and can't wait to make it available to Lego train fans everywhere.
Lastly, we have made the most of the past few weeks of uncertainty to completely renovate and expand our laboratory space. We have reorganized our laboratory to improve production throughput, to increase inventory storage and to dedicate more space to research and development. Our lab is fully equipped with state-of-the-art electronic test equipment supporting our ambitious product development goals. Our Hong Kong based team has recently completed the design and fabrication of a new Lego train demonstration layout. The layout is based on a modular system of self-standing furniture which packs entirely into a pair of compact flight cases and can be shipped anywhere in the world. This will enable us to showcase our Fx Track system at events around the globe. Indeed, until global travel resumes, our layout remains "grounded" but we look forward to sharing it with fans someday soon.
In these trying times, we hope that you and your family remain safe and healthy. For many of us, committing to social distancing and increased time at home can perhaps be an opportunity. Maybe now is a good time to explore a creative project, learn a new skill, or maybe it is as simple as indulging in an unopened Lego set. Either way, engaging a creative hobby can offer us all modest comfort in these turbulent times.
Michael Gale
President, Fx Bricks


LEGO-Modelle beleuchten, Featuring the PFx Brick!


Our friend Alexander Ehle from Germany has recently released a German language book that LEGO fans have needed for a long time: LEGO®-Modelle beleuchten. It explores the vast topic of lighting LEGO models of all shapes, sizes and themes. We feel privileged to have been able to contribute to this outstanding resource for all LEGO fans.

LEGO®-Modelle beleuchten is a comprehensive reference for anyone with an interest in applying the best possible lighting effects to virtually any model (not just LEGO). The book also introduces readers to the basics of electrical circuits and electronics, helping them discover the unlimited possibilities of DIY lighting solutions. There is fantastic practical advice on choosing tools and lighting products, as well as tips on modifying parts for new and clever ways of putting lights into difficult locations in a model.

Examples of LEGO models showcase the range of impressive lighting possibilities throughout the book. It illustrates not just the clever and imaginative techniques for using different products and installation methods, but also the ways of using animated lighting effects to bring life and excitement to your creations.

At Fx Bricks, we are very familiar with the unlimited possibilities for cool lighting effects! We are humbled and excited that an entire chapter of the book dedicated to the PFx Brick. It is the owner's manual that we wish we had written ourselves (and that's just on the topic of lighting!). Alexander has explored and documented each and every possible lighting effect on the PFx Brick and offers tips for configuring and tuning these effects for optimum results.



Currently, LEGO®-Modelle beleuchten is only available in the German language. However, we are told that an English language version is in the pipeline and will likely be released. We will keep you updated on its release. Until then, check out Alexander's website brickelectronic.de. He has all kinds of resources to help builders with lighting as well as a web shop selling cool accessories to help you with your projects.

PFx Brick Pre-orders are Here

Pre-order the new injection molded PFx Brick; the new standard across all PFx Bricks replacing the 3D printed enclosures used for our production debut.

Here are some of the new improvements we've made to the new PFx Brick:

  1. Technic Pin Holes - side mounted Technic pin holes allow more robust attachment options for integrating the PFx Brick into Technic models as well as conventional brick built models.
  2. Bottom Anti-Studs - the underside of the enclosure is both functionally and aesthetically more compatible with the Lego system stud / anti-stud connection and now permits some interconnection schemes at half-stud intervals.
  3. Durability - the lid now includes mechanical reinforcement features around the the speaker and IR connector ports to resist excessive bending or twisting forces on the connector. The Power Functions compatible input and output connectors include additional bracing and precision mechanical guidance for the gold-plated pins.

To pre-order your PFx Brick, visit our Store

The New PFx Bricks are Almost Here!

We are really excited to share some exciting news about our new inventory of PFx Bricks! We know you have been waiting patiently for them to arrive and we thank you for your understanding.

Initially, our goal was to have them available in December 2019. However, production was delayed because the plastic injection molded brick enclosures were causing mechanical performance issues with the clutch to other LEGO® elements as well as clearance issues with the underside Power Functions connector. We reviewed the issues with our manufacturer and are pleased to report that they are remaking the mold to fix them. The electronics manufacturing for 1000 PFx Bricks is complete and as soon as we sign off on the injection molded brick enclosure, we will re-open the web store for pre-orders in 2 weeks!

To stay in touch and be the first to know about the new and improved PFx Brick, please sign up for our Newsletter here.

New: Injection Molded PFx Brick!

We are super excited after receiving pre-production samples of the new plastic injection-molded PFx Brick enclosures. The new enclosures are molded in a slick two-tone light and dark bluish grey colour scheme and include some awesome new mechanical features. This molded enclosure will be standard across all PFx Bricks and replaces the 3D printed enclosures which served us well for our production debut.

The new enclosures elevate the both the quality and functional performance of the PFx Brick and some of its key features are as follows:

  1. Technic Pin Holes - side mounted Technic pin holes allow more robust attachment options for integrating the PFx Brick into Technic models as well as conventional brick built models.
  2. Bottom Anti-Studs - the underside of the enclosure is both functionally and aesthetically more compatible with the Lego system stud / anti-stud connection and now permits some interconnection schemes at half-stud intervals.
  3. Durability - the lid now includes mechanical reinforcement features around the the speaker and IR connector ports to resist excessive bending or twisting forces on the connector. The Power Functions compatible input and output connectors include additional bracing and precision mechanical guidance for the gold-plated pins.

As always, the enclosure will continue to be secured by 4x stainless steel machine screws for optimal strength, durability, and mechanical precision. Also, all connectors on the PFx Brick use gold-plated electrical contacts for maximum reliability and performance.

Availability?

As of Sep 2019, a production run of 1000 new PFx Bricks has been started by our manufacturing partners in China. This involves the assembly of electronic printed circuit boards and the precision robot-guided insertion of the Power Functions compatible connector electrical pins. These pins are automotive and aerospace grade electrical pins designed for supreme reliability with solder-less contact fastening directly into the PCB.

We expect to receive the assembled electronics in Nov 2019. After we receive the electronics, we then hand assemble the Bluetooth radios (if required for non-IR models) and the high precision lighting dock connector. After each panel of 16x PFx Bricks has finished final assembly, each PFx Brick is electrically tested and its bootloader firmware is installed. Finally, the PFx Brick PCBs are clipped out of the production panel and installed into the new plastic injection molded enclosures. Each PFx Brick then goes through an extensive automated factory test procedure before being packaged and ready for shipment.

Since final assembly and test is relatively quick, we expect to be able to offer rapid shipping turn around on all future PFx Brick orders. Once we have a clearer picture of our production schedule, we will open up our webstore for pre-order of new PFx Bricks. As of Oct 2019, we estimate the schedule will be as follows:

  • Oct 2019 : Electronics assembly / Injection molding starts
  • Nov 2019 : Receive electronics, start final assembly and test. / Receive enclosures / Open store for pre-orders
  • Dec 2019 / Jan 2020 : Start shipping pre-orders / Open store for general orders


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