Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Other fun things...NXT and studless building

So I'm playing with an NXT now, and my family and friends are wonderinng why I have been obsessing over it every weekend.

Well, it's because I only have weekends to focus on it. Weekdays, especially now, I am working on BrickJournal stuff and other sundry projects. I play on the weekend, and I play hard doing late nighters figuring out the NXT.

It's a jump to go from LEGO stud building to studless building - it's like trying to figure a foreign dialect of a language, like pidgin English. A builder understands the fundamentals, but learning to do exactly what you want is tricky.

An important difference that I have noticed is that the beam thickness is based on 2 plates - which means that everything is defined by mutiples of twos in construction. This simplifies things quite a bit, sorta. Brick building is defined by threes - three plates equal a brick in height. Attaching a brick to a beam with Technic pins will result in just under a plate in space hanging out the bottom. A plate placed on the bottom will fit with a tiny space above the stud - unusable space.

But studless has advantages - construction is based on pins. These pins are longer than a stud is tall, and are lipped, so once set in place, it takes some effort to displace them. Conceptually, that means that instead of building:

plate bottom to plate stud = 2 plates


beam to pin to beam = 2 beams (which is 4 plates in height)

You end up creating studs with the pin.

Another factor is that the tolerances allow for more 'slop' or flex, which make studless models a little flex for movement, which is a good thing most of the time.

One slightly frustrating thing is that there are not very many ways to move a beam a half stud. The most obvious way is to use Technic bricks which mostly have a half stud offset (a 8 stud Technic brick has 7 holes) 1 and 2 stud bricks can have same stud holes set in, but larger bricks are always offset. After that, well, it's tough.

I fnally started understanding studless when I realized it's a lot like plumbing - you build with pipes and the pins are the joints. More often than not, you aren't building things, but frames for things.

So am I frustrated with this? Sometimes, but I am learning. And that's the most important...

Now, programming.....wow, THAT's tricky!

No comments: