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New Sets for 1978
New Parts for 1978

1978 - Technic Comes to the USA


In 1978, some of the new technical sets made it to the USA, now under the heading "Expert Builder".

Only two brand new sets were available in Europe.  The go cart didn't really do anything new, but brought the piston engine parts down into a much lower price point and included six wheels.  The mobile crane was a significant technical achievement, every bit as complex as the auto chassis of the previous year.  With realistic boom luffing, telescoping, slewing, and hoisting functions, this set had most of the functionality of a real crane.

A few new parts were available this year, including hose, string, rubber bands, and the incredibly important axle pin.


854 Go Cart
855 Mobile Crane


Only a few new parts were included in the sets of 1978.  By far the most important is the axle pin, pictured.  As the name suggests, this part has a 1L axle at one end, and a frictionless pin at the other.  The primary use of this pin is for supporting wheels, but many other uses would follow, including the use as a rack gear keeper (to hold it down) on set 855.  For many years, this part was available only in light gray.

Also new for 1978 were the hose, the string, and the rubber band.  The hose (black) is approximately the diameter of an axle, so it fits through a standard Technic beam hole.  The string is really more than standard string.  Its braided design makes it strong and stiff, so it doesn't stretch much under load.  This string is still in use today, virtually always as crane or winch cable.  The rubber band, which might not sound too exciting, is used for a number of uses including to preload a pawl into a ratchet.

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