Product Idea |

Automated Garbage Truck


What a journey so far and many thanks!

If our current supporter trend continues, we’ll be reaching 10k supporters very soon.  What a journey!  We wanted to provide one last update before the project gets locked for updates and comments.  Our attitude with this project has been to have fun and learn along the way.  And we have definitely been able to do that!  What started as a shared interest in building with LEGO turned into an opportunity to learn together about LEGO digital design tools, video editing and production, digital rendering, photography/lighting, LUG membership, Brickworld conference displaying, and social media campaigning.  This project has provided a wealth of opportunities for us as a father and son team to learn and have fun together.  Reaching 10k has been a huge bonus and it’s been humbling to feel appreciation and value in our creation through all of your positive comments.

We’d like to express our sincere gratefulness to some of the many people who have walked a part of this path along with us:

  • Our family for being tireless supporters and promoters.  Also for indulging vast piles of LEGO bricks in the middle of the living room, packages from Bricklink sellers, and our focus bordering on obsession with the truck, the bin arm mechanism, and garbage trucks in general.
  • Jason Allemann aka JK Brickworks for your ongoing inspiration, wonderful truck video and appreciation of our mechanical design.
  • Chris Meyer and the Madison hackerspace community of Sector67 for providing a place to be creative, get feedback, and pretend to (and actually by accident!) destroy the truck.
  • The Wisconsin LEGO Users Group for being our introduction into the AFOL and TFOL community.
  • Bricks & Minifigs Madison for hosting our truck display and the WLUG meetings, and being a solid local source of spare parts.
  • All the attendees of Brickworld Chicago 2019 that played with the truck, but especially LEGO AFOL and LEGO Ideas community leaders Boone Langston, Grant Davis, Jake Sadovich, and Tim Courtney for taking time with us as Ideas newcomers. You guys are amazing!  
  • Joshua Hanlon and John Hanlon of Beyond the Brick for your awesome community commitment and content and for staying late on the last day of an exhausting Brickworld Chicago to do an interview with us about the truck project.
  • LEGO Ideas members saabfan and SleepyCow (and JKBrickworks) for thoughtful feedback and advice on our project and promotion activities.
  • Shawn and Julian for testing the build, and the hundreds of other kids that play tested the truck at various venues.
  • Angelina at Waste Advantage Magazine for making a great article on the truck happen.
  • Reddit and the r/lego and r/oddlysatisfying subreddits, the LEGO Technic Facebook group and the many, many other social media LEGO communities that appreciated this project.
  • Josh Kelly at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources for releasing the trash, recycling, and composting icons used in this project as open source designs.
  • And of course The LEGO Group, for making a great product and for creating the LEGO Ideas community where you genuinely listen and incorporate end user ideas into the future of your product.

There are many more of you that have supported us that we didn’t mention here, but rest assured we appreciate each and every supporter and every positive comment.  Ten thousand is a very large number and each of you had a part.  

We are looking forward to the review, wish us luck!

Levi and Scott


Huge Thanks To JK Brickworks For An Awesome Video!

We wanted to give a grateful thanks to JK Brickworks for such an amazing video on our Truck! Jason and his designs have been a huge inspiration for us.  We still have a ways to go, but the exposure of this video has bumped our supporters a lot. Check him out and give him some support:

And although we're closer, we still need support to get to 10k, if you want to see us make it, share this project with your friends and family!


A big thanks to Waste Advantage Magazine for helping us on the road to 10k!

Waste Advantage Magazine published an interview with us along with coverage of our project in their March Issue. To check out the article click here or on the image below.

If you're visiting our page from the magazine article (or otherwise!), be sure to support our project and leave a comment!


Adding an automated rear loader to our truck and the 4432 set!

Although we love automated side-loading garbage trucks, automated rear-loaders are awesome, too!  So as an add-on to our set we set out to adapt our already fairly compact bin arm design to work in a rear-loading scheme as an update to our project.  After numerous design iterations we were able to come up with something we feel good about sharing.  Check out this short video:

In addition to being a simple add-on to our Ideas truck project, we were able to adapt the rear-loading bin arm design to the existing 4432 LEGO Garbage Truck.  We’re sharing instructions and a bill of materials so you can convert your own garbage truck to an automated rear loader!  This video shows the conversion in action:

First, the bill of materials:

This BOM assumes that you have the full 4432 set already, and so it only shows the extra pieces you’ll need to convert the tailgate.  We’ve also added two 11203 2x2 modified inverted tiles to add to the bottom of the trash cans that come with the 4432 set.  Next the instructions, which just show the steps needed to build the replacement tailgate:

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Once you have the new tailgate built, you can then connect it to the truck and collect trash!   If you like the instructions or bin arm, we certainly could use and appreciate your support by voting for our project.  We’re also working to adapt the rear loading bin arm to the 7991 Lego City Garbage Truck set, and we should have something to share shortly. 

If you build this design or come up with something better, let us know with a comment here!


We're celebrating 4,000 supporters and our staff pick by taking you behind the scenes

We're celebrating reaching 4,000 supporters and our staff pick with a special video taking you behind the scenes.  See how we test the truck to make sure each new version maintains the high quality and playability standards you've come to expect from our project!  Will it dump?  Find out in the video below:



Thanks to Beyond the Brick

Giving a big thanks to Joshua Hanlon and John Hanlon for featuring our automated garbage truck BrickWorld Chicago interview on Beyond The Brick!  Check out our interview, where my dad talks some about our positive LEGO Ideas experience:

They did the interview at the very end of a long week at BrickWorld, so extra thanks for the work they do to tell awesome LEGO stories!


Garbage Trucks Rule

A big thanks to our friends over at Garbage Trucks Rule for filming and posting these awesome videos! We're glad they had so much fun playing with the truck!

Check out the videos and their channel for some great garbage truck action!


Brickworld Chicago 2019 Update

We had a great time sharing the truck at the 2019 Brickworld Chicago show!

It was the first time we’ve attended a conference like that and it was inspiring to see the artistry on display.  

We were honored to receive a red brick for nomination in the “Best Mechanical” category:

We got to share the truck project in a hands-on way and had great conversations about design, innovation, and the LEGO Ideas platform with fantastic LEGO AFOL community leaders like Tim Courtney, Jake Sadovich, Boone Langston, Grant Davis, Joshua Hanlon, John Hanlon, our WisLUG compatriots, and many others.

We unveiled our kinetic sculpture version of the truck:

And best of all, hundreds of attendees, including many kids, had fun playing with the truck!

The truck and functions held up fantastically through very active hands-on public play testing.  We got lots of positive feedback about the bin arm mechanism, and the smoothness and satisfaction of operating the bin arm to dump trash as well as the overall playability of the truck.  We had a great time and learned a lot!


A rolling trash bin with flipping lid to match the truck!

Although we’ve been very happy with how the truck dumps standard LEGO dust bins, we’ve been designing a rolling trash bin with a flipping lid like you might see an automated side-loading truck use in the real world.  We’ve made some good progress and wanted to share it.

If you're here for bin instructions, consider scrolling up and supporting our Automated Garbage Truck project!

Check out a video of the bin below:

We’re providing instructions for how to build the bin here:

Along with a parts list:


  • 1x Wheel Skateboard/Trolley (2496)
  • 1x Bar 3L (Bar Arrow) (87994)


  • 1x Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Clip Horizontal on Side (11476)
  • 2x Plate 1 x 2 (3023)
  • 1x Brick, Round 2 x 2 with Axle Hole (3941)
  • 1x Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Arm Up (Horizontal Arm Length 6mm) (4623)
  • 4x Panel 1 x 1 x 1 corner (6231)
  • 1x Technic, Axle and Pin Connector Angled #1 (32013)
  • 1x Flag 2 x 2 Square (2335) (thick clip version only, see note below)

...and more details of the wheeled trash bin design that might be important if you want to build some:

  • For the wheels on the model shown we are using black “Wheel Skateboard/Trolley (2496)” parts.  These wheels stick out a bit more and work better with the automated garbage truck dumper. If that was not a concern you could also use “Wheel Skateboard Mags (45918)”.
  • The model uses the “Flag 2 x 2 Square (2335)” part for the flipping lid.  There are two types of this part, shown for instance on the Bricklink page for this part.  Unfortunately only the thicker clip flags have the correct geometry to flip smoothly when used as a lid.  The thinner clip flags are too tight. If you are ordering that part you’ll want to make sure you get the right type (the left part in the Bricklink image).  
  • Parts exist to make the bin in at least blue, black, yellow, tan, light bluish gray and lime.  It may be possible to make it in other colors as well, but some of the parts are rare, such as a green “Panel 1 x 1 x 1 corner (6231)” or tan “Flag 2 x 2 Square (2335)”.  
  • You can substitute two “Panel 1 x 2 x 1 with Rounded Corners and 2 Sides (23969)” for the four “Panel 1 x 1 x 1 corner (6231)” parts if they are available in the color you are building.
  • Depending on the bin color, you might have to use either “Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Arm Up (Horizontal Arm Length 6mm) (4623)” or “Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Arm Up (Horizontal Arm Length 5mm) (88072)”.  Both parts work equally well, but some colors only have one part or the other.
  • The bin only holds trash in the top section, but that is enough to make it look and work realistically.  

Check out some of the bins in different colors below, and if you’ve got suggestions for how to improve the design, please let us know!



Tell us if you want studs on top or not!

This month we hit 3000 supporters!  Thank you all for your support!  Our original truck design uses tiles and curved slopes on top, but a lot of City vehicles have studs on top. We’ve created a design with studs on top and a video to let you compare.  

We need your votes to make this idea real!  Check out the two truck designs in the video, support our project, and tell us in a comment which model you prefer!

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