Tag Archives: CAD

You don’t have to own a single LEGO brick to have fun building with LEGO. Software like LDraw and LEGO Digital Designer empowers people to create virtual LEGO models unconstrained by the scarcity of a particular LEGO brick (or even its availability in a specific color).

Caveat Emptor

If you look on eBay at any time you may see people selling custom instructions or custom LEGO sets. While it’s generally not for me I can understand that some people might want to make some money out of their hobby and this is one way to do so.

What you may not realise is that some of these people sell custom instructions or sets of models that are not theirs to sell. I’ve discovered two cases of people selling my work and am aware of others becoming victims of the same unscupulous actions. This is really bad behaviour. Everytime someone does this it makes people less inclined to give their instructions away for free knowing that someone else may profit from their generosity.

This morning Tim David alerted me to this sales announcement (do not buy) from eBay store DJs-Treasure-Box (Paypal account [email protected]) who is selling instructions to my Koef (pictured above) and my Cuban Alco as well as James Mathis’ center beam wagon and I’m fairly certain some more works of his as well as some by Tom Cook.

My first thought was to write eBay an email to complain but knowing how this sort of thing works I figured that would be a lot of hassle for little reward. Besides which the victim isn’t really me as I’ve already given away instructions for free. The victim is the buyer. So I figured I’d alert any buyers who read TBB to this dishonest practise and make sure they don’t get ripped off.

It also presents me with an opportunity to make people aware that this is not a rare practise and that they should always search Flickr, RAILBRICKS and Brickshelf for free copies of instructions before making any purchase on eBay. Also ask the seller if all models are original creations by them. If they lie and you find out then you have a case for dishonest sales practise.

Also, if you spot anyone else doing this please alert me so I can name and shame. If we don’t buy from these parasites then they may stop their bad behaviour.

See comments for other sellers to avoid


EDIT: As there hasn’t been a comment for a while where the author had read the post I’m locking comments to avoid more misinformation and keep my blood pressure low. If you’d like to report any other sellers who I should name and shame please let me know via email.

Also the sales have been pulled by eBay. Thanks to William Noetling for encouraging me to use the eBay VeRO system

Klingon Bird of Prey, made from 274,350 virtual bricks

We’ve hardly blogged digitally constructed and rendered creations, but Kevin Walter‘s Klingon Bird of Prey needs no explanation to be featured. This 13’5″ X 11′ X 5’1″ mega sculpture is the culmination of two years of work. You should check out the large image on Flickr, on which it is still difficult to identify a recognizable brick. I can only imagine what this thing would look like in real life.

Volunteering for LDraw

According to my Future of LDraw? post there are a bunch of readers of this blog who use LDraw. But LDraw can only work with a steady stream of volunteers to make and review parts for use in new parts releases. (I also forgot to pimp the Flickr group for LDraw)

Reviewing parts is a great way to get involved without having to get too technical. Niels Bugge has written a very handy tutorial explaining what is involved and how to get involved. If you feel you’d like to give something back to LDraw this is a great way to get started.

It is also a good start to making new parts if you wish to pursue that path. If you understand 3D software which can output 3DS format you can even get involved with LDraw part creation without leaving your known environment. Simply team up with someone who does understand the LDraw file format and make and convert a file from your preferred tool to LDraw format for tidying.

There are also other ways to get involved such as running for elected office (not for a year or so now) and helping out with the website. If you think you might be interested in these roles please contact me privately.

Remember that without volunteers the LDraw library would grind to a halt. Fresh faces are always welcome and necessary. If you like LDraw please consider helping it.

Image credit to LDraw.org, Elroy Davis (taltosvt) and Niels Bugge from top to bottom

The future of LDraw?

A recent discussion at LUGNET raised questions about the future of LDraw in the fan community. Oddly enough I feel I’ve seen a resurgence in LDraw work recently but of course like all of us I tend to see what I want to see so I figured I’d throw some questions out to a wider audience.

... The first question is, obviously, have you ever heard of LDraw? And if you have do you know what it is? Have you ever considered using it but decided against it? If so why? Did you know the parts are all designed by volunteers?

To quickly give an overview it’s a CAD system and associated library designed to let you build LEGO models on your computer. It’s not the editors (those are things like MLCAD, LeoCAD and Bricksmith) or the renderers (like LDView) but the system all of these use and the parts library. Like LDD but more versatile. All the pictures in this article are recent creations designed in LDraw compatible software.

...If you are a user I’d really like to know what you use LDraw for? Do you use it to document old models? To make instructions? To make nice pictures? To make things you don’t have the bricks for? To design models you later build in bricks? Other reasons?

...Personally I feel that LDraw has enriched my LEGO hobby immeasurably and I am constantly thankful to all the volunteers who have dedicated their time to making it such a good system. I don’t ever want to see it die a slow death and I don’t think I will. I would, however, like to know what a newer and broader audience thinks.

So please, comment here, on LUGNET, or on flickr. But please do comment if you are remotely interested.

Image credit to LDraw.org, Tyler Clites (legohaulic), Mike Pianta (scruffulous) and Robin Chang (GreenLead) from top to bottom

Discussing LDraw on the BBC [News]

The BBC’s Teck Know section currently has an article on the LEGO hobby with a focus on LDraw and virtual building. It includes discussion with Chris Dee who is the man responsible for quality control and library management for LDraw (and who does an excellent job). It also highlights the excellent work of Warren Elsmore, creator of the featured bridge and LDraw-using designer.


One of Warren Elsmore’s work-in-progress St Pancras LDraw sketches as mentioned in the article.