Saturday, March 28, 2009

SR 3D Builder

If you like to deal with bricks on your computer, you must know LDraw. There is another less known but very interesting builder: SR 3D Builder was covered by TechnicBRICKs this week. It is also free and the result of several years of work of Sergio Reano.

And what is it capable of? The incomplete list:
  • support for popular file formats like .dat, .ldr and .mpd (incomplete)
  • it knows about connected bricks, it is possible to select and move them
  • it recognizes rotation axles and models the rotation of connected gears
  • support for mirror building in the case of symmetric models

Thursday, March 26, 2009

gzurti's LDraw page

I wrote about LDraw a while back. One of my faithful readers sent a link to his creations:

It is worth to have a look at what LDraw is capable of in the hands of a pro.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to get Lego

We already discussed how to buy bricks but not yet how to acquire a whole set. This part is mostly about auction sites on the net. Of course it would be possible to buy directly from Lego but there are many reasons not to do so: 1. it is expensive (unless you live in the States) 2. the set is not sold any more 3. we would like to have a set with real bricks (with studs).

As usual, the net is our friend. If your dream set is still sold then tells you its current price in different countries. Usually the States has the best prices. So if you happen to live there or go there occasionally then the best thing is to go to a Lego store and grab it. In the case of older sets like 8860 "Auto chassis" Lugnet tells you its original price.

So far so good, we can start searching on the auction sites. There may be many other sites depending on where you live, we only conside EBay here. If EBay does not have a page in your country, don't worry - you can also register on the site in other countries. For example has direct 11 hits for "lego 8860". The good thing is that it immediately lists hits from other countries is well. The results are in the range from "a bunch of dusty bricks" to "unopened original from 1980" with appropriate price tags. A good buy needs a lot of time and searching.

If we decide and did not register with EBay yet, then this is the first thing to do. The best is to register in your own country or in one closeby to avoid customs fees. (This is actually more complicated than that, if you are not sure, ask someone who knows more.) It requires a valid postal address. EBay checks this address by sending a code in a mail. You should do this well before participating in an auction, it does not cost any money. It is also worth having a PayPal account (see previous post).

When everything is set, it is time to start bidding! The recommended strategy is the following: when seeing your dream set, you should first decide how much we are willing to pay for it. (It is advised to learn about shipping costs and other details in advance.) Then you should set an alarm for 5 or 10 minutes before the auction ends and be prepared to be online at that time. When the alarm goes off and the price is still below your treshold, it is time to start bidding. It is still possible that someone else is doing the same, but at least you did not increase the price ahead of time. If you win, the only thing left is to pay and wait for the result.

Really good sets are expensive but there are many bargains, especially if you are willing to make some sacrifice. Remember that Lego bricks are good quality and do not get old quickly. It may happen that you need to clean them, and if there are a couple of missing or broken bricks, they are easy to replace.

Happy bidding!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lego aircraft

Brothers-brick is full of aircraft again, it is worth to take a look. The galleries of the four best creators:
As a teaser, one image from Mad Physicist with the description "all the aircraft and helicopter models (scaled 1/36) that I currently still have in one piece.". It counts no less than 29 models :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The Mosquito is a legendary British aircraft from WWII that was mad of plywood to conserve raw materials. As it can be seen, today it is built from Lego bricks as well, and looks fairly well.

More about it here and here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Five things you may not know about LDraw

As a kid my dream was to have so many bricks that I never run out of them during building. As time has passed I have realized that this is never going to happen. But there is a small hope - you always have enough when building from virtual bricks.

This post promotes LDraw. This is a free program that can be used just like some serious piece of 3D CAD software - to build models from Lego bricks. For example like that:

Matt Wagner, a famous Lego builder had a guest editorial on the Brothers Brick blog titled Five things you may not know about LDraw . It is worth reading, I think it is a great intro to LDraw.
Besides LDView you can also learn how to make raytraced images using Koyan's tutorial on how to render LDraw images with POV-Ray.

Now, if you happen to browse Brickshelf and find some .LDR files - you should know what it is!

(As a sidenote, Lego has their own official building program: Lego Digital Designer. I'll write about it another time.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Polish Golden Stud 2008 Awards

The winners of the Golden Stud 2008 Awards have been announced in Poland on Saturday. There are winners in numerous categories including diorama, small model and microscale model. As a Technic fan, these are the ones that have impressed me most:

The Kamaz track is so realistic that only when zoomed in I have realized that it is made of bricks. Clicking on the image brings you to the galery. This Star truck is very impressive too: