Sunday, March 6, 2011

Going a New Direction...

The blog has been quiet for a while, and it's been bothering me. I take care of a website, a magazine, and this blog, not to mention my Facebook account. My primary focus is the mag, then website, then here...which means that the blog is often forgotten in the din.

It doesn't help that I place news on the website...that usually leaves very little here. Until I started getting requests and questions about building and other aspects of the hobby. It was these notes and a academic paper about the AFOL community that I read that made me realize that while blogs show cool MOCs and photos, there is almost no explanation as to the building methods.

As a result, I decided to make this blog a place to show building methods and how to do things with LEGO elements. Any person can become an expert builder with practice and understanding of this medium. I hope to start showing and maybe teaching here for those who are curious about how it's done.

But first, a disclaimer: any ideas and thoughts here concerning building and things associated with it are NOT definitive. You, as the reader, are allowed and encouraged to use these thoughts as guidelines to help your building. There is no right way to build, but there is YOUR way. Make that way the best for YOU.

Okay, so here goes the first subject:


Yeah, this is part of my workspace. I showed a pic of a model, and some people were impressed more with the wall in the background. It looks nice, but it needs to be changed.

Workspace sorting is a necessary evil in building. The big trick is to figure out how precise you want to be. Other factors play a part in this too, such as what themes you build in. I have seen workshops that had a million parts placed in drawers that were sorted by color and unique parts. In Billund, they have drawers that have compartments for every part, and they take up walls of space. In other places in the LEGO Group, there are walls of bins with parts. Each place has an overall plan to their organization so builders can find and get what they want easily.

For a beginning builder, the first question to answer is: What do you want to build? Building castles is different from building spaceships, so what you keep at close hand will be different. Here's some general examples of parts and colors used by different themes:

Space: greys, plates, 1 stud width bricks, specialty pieces
Town: primary colors, tan, grey, bricks 1 and 2 wide, chairs, doors, windows
Castle: greys, castle walls, bricks,
Micro: specialty parts, plates

Your theme specialty will determine what needs to be in the priority areas of your workspace. After all, you don't want to waste time looking for a part. My original plan was meant for making spaceships, so plates and detail parts were front and center. But my collection outgrew what I started with...

This is what has become of my 1 x 2 plates. Not useful for quick building, so I gotta fix this....


Shelves are the easiest way to organize. The wall behind my work area has these, and you can get them at Wal-Mart or Home Depot for under $20.

The more drawers you have, the more precise you can be. This can be very helpful - if you take a look at the shelf above, you'll see that I go from smallest to largest plates : 1 x 2, 2 x 3, 2 x 4, 2 x 6, 2 x 8. Larger plates are at the bottom drawer. You'll also notice that I place more than one color in each drawer. I'd do that to minimize drawers, or else I would have many more shelves!

Now, remember that drawer of 1 x 2 plates? You can make things much easier and faster by putting them in drawers, like so:

The most important thing in building is knowing where your parts are, and a shelf is a good start!

As you buy more parts, you're going to max out the drawers though. One thing I did was keep some Bionicle containers for storage:

That way, I can see the parts, the containers stack, and I can get the parts out relatively quickly.

Next size up is a shoebox:

I have a shelf for these beside my workspace. And after that, I have double shoeboxes, mostly for bricks :

The problem I have now is that the parts I use often are not in the shelf, but in the shoeboxes. I need to make room in the shelves I have for those parts.

I also have some plastic containers for some specialty parts. Keep in mind that you want your most used parts close and in front of you.

Questions? Comments? Builders are encouraged to talk about their organization for their elements. Everyone has a different style of building and sorting, so take note!

I'll answer these questions, but also send me questions about building. I will post the answers here. Hope to hear from y'all soon!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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