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).

Show some backbone!

I was going to delay posting this to leave the 5th birthday post at the top of the page for longer but decided that we are here because we highlight cool LEGO models. Marco Tagliaferri (Tagl) demonstrates a lovely addition to the popular moonbase standard in the form of this transit spine standard. It feels so real.

And he has instructions to boot.

LEGO LDD contest at Eurobricks

Eurobricks are hosting a contest for models made in LEGO Digital Designer. It has some cool prizes donated by TLG so if you like using the software it’s time to start it running and get building.

EDIT: References to DesignByMe removed for clarity.

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 markjohnson4111@msn.com) 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

July 18, 1887 Eiffel Tower

Eiffel tower

Andrew’s blast from the past reminded me to check my own list and I discovered that I hadn’t blogged this masterpiece. Steven Marshall makes use of his design talents and, I suspect, the TLG rendering libraries to present this excellent virtual recreation of the Eiffel Tower under construction. It’s really, really, really excellent.

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.

Can I have instructions?

For once the answer is yes.

Duqs LEGO Seat Gondola

Ronald Vallenduuk (Duq) has recently added a couple of sets of instructions to Flickr and kindly showed me how to get LPub working again. I actually reverse engineered the seat gondola many years back after seeing a picture of it and coveting it so it’s great to see Ronald making it available to all and sundry.

LEGO 1928 Morris Minor

I used to make more instructions but had to stop for a while due to a problem I had with LPub. With Ronald’s fix I’m back and running so did some instructions for my latest.

As Eagle’s dare

Peter Normans LEGO train with eagle logo

And to continue with some trains this one from Peter Normal (swoofty) has a fabulous brick-built eagle logo for the US bicentennial.

New fangled steam

Bambis BR01-10 steam train

Brickshelf user Bambi not only makes some of the nicest steam and old-fashioned town models around, he (I assume) also takes excellent photographs. What’s more for this BR01-10 he has included photos and renders of the crucial bits to allow us to see how it all works. It works brilliantly in my opinion.

Of special note is the novel approach to the drivers and use of PFS lights.

LEGO Universe moves forward [News]

LEGO Universe screenshot

The first screenshots of LEGO Universe have just been released and Jim Foulds has asked us to share them with the world. In his words

The first screenshots for LEGO Universe make their world premiere this week. These images show off the diversity the players will encounter in the game. It’s scheduled to launch in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK, and North America in 2010.

Safety is a huge priority for LEGO Universe. Many solutions are being explored through technology, processes, and people to provide the most creative and safe environment possible.

Of course since it is a LEGO product, one can expect a creative and building focus to give players the opportunity to do a variety of activities that allow for them to interact with the LEGO elements in a virtual reality. Building with LEGO elements in LEGO Universe will take many forms, ultimately allowing players to bring their real-life creations to life inside the game.

LEGO Universe will feature a subscription model. Lot’s of research and evaluation of various models went into this decision and we feel it provides the best method to provide a trusted online experience for the player.

We’re sure you wondering about beta and the “VIP launch”. We still plan on doing both, but we are not ready to announce dates or how to sign-up just yet.

Please keep an eye out on future updates and if you absolutely have to have the latest information make sure to visit www.legouniverse.com.