Backhoe dredger Pinocchio

Backhoe dredger Pinocchio

This is a model of the backhoe dredger Pinocchio, owned by the Belgian DEME Group. Equipment of this kind is used to dredge harbour bottoms, canals and the like. The soil is deposited into barges floating alongside the dredger. The floating on the water is simulated by setting up the model on 4 (yellow) columns. The most striking features of Pinocchio are the 3 spud legs and, of course, the Liebherr 996 Litronic digger. The spud legs can be lowered onto the seabed by winches. In reality the spuds can be forced into the bottom using the power of the winches, but this proved to be too much of a challenge for my model. My spuds are lowered by the winches, aided by gravity, and as soon as they touch the bottom, wires become slack. The spudwires of this model are looped over sheaves in the top of the spud legs, to make it look more realistic. Pinocchio has no propulsion of itself, and to make it move, the forward spud leg is fitted in a spud carrier, which can travel athwartships over a few meters. When the vessel is floating, the forward spud firmly into the seabed and the two other spuds raised, she can “walk” forward or aft. The Liebherr excavator is quite a monster, driven by 2 powerful V-engines and fitted on the pontoon on a flexible mounting.

This photo shows the spud hoisting winches. Both winches are drive by a single 9V motor, located somewhere below the superstrucrure. I used a single silk kite wire running from winch to winch via both spud legs.

This is the forward end of the vessel, showing the slot for the spudcarrier. The winch is fitted on the spucarrier and driven by a medium PF motor. The spudcarrier is moved by a winch, with 1 wire, of which both ends are spooled onto the wire, similar as I described in the post “Tower crane hook travelling”. This winch is driven by a large PF motor.

Here’s the Liebherr 996 Litronic excavator. Slewing is on a custom built bearing and driven by large PF motor, which is built into the cylindrical part below the rotating deck. On the lower level, the air intakes are seen. The boom is moved by 2 linear actuators which have 1 driving motor, just aft of them in the engine housing. The next part of the boom assembly, which is called the stick is also moving by means of 2 LA’s. Their single medium PF motor is built into the boom. Finally, the bucket is moved by 2 small LA’s, also driven by a medium PF motor, built into the upper part of the stick.

Contrary the earlier models I tried to add a bit more detail, such as self made decalls, hydraulic hoses and the exhaust pipes.


Below are some more details:

Here is the real Pinocchio. It is a pity I Lego does not produce the typical DEME colours. The lime green of the hull became normal green and the dark green of the deck and winches became black and grey.

4 thoughts on “Backhoe dredger Pinocchio

  • 06-10-2011 at 10:53

    very nice!!
    just 1 detail, the excavator is a
    ” liebherr 996 litronic ”
    not a demag!
    But i like what you did with lego!!

  • 06-10-2011 at 17:16

    Thx for commenting. And I even made the Liebherr sticker myself!

  • 07-10-2011 at 13:22

    Wow, great job Marinus! Nice to know that we have a fan at Damen Shipyard.
    Your pictures of your creation will be admired by the complete Pinocchio crew!

    Greetings from Pinocchio, Liepaja (Latvia)

  • 12-03-2013 at 21:46

    I was on Pinocchio in South-Africa and in Belgium, nice model !!

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