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LEGO Techniques - Headlight Bricks

Excuse my summer burnout. I might be a bit sporadic over the next couple of months. That will just make you look forward to my posts all the more, right?  Riiight.

Headlight Bricks appear to have more nicknames than other pieces. Some call them headlight bricks after their original use, some call them Erling bricks. This is obvious since Wikipedia tells us that Erling is a Nordic male name, meaning "Heir of clanchief". OB-viously! But it really tells us more about the origin of the brick. It was nicknamed for the LEGO Designer Erling Dideriksen, who invented this element in 1979. And despite that, the model shop still calls it a washing machine brick, even though the Pick a Brick calls it an "Angular Brick 1x1". Angular? Like 90° maybe. What if we acronymize this name to HEWA (headlight/erling/washing machine/angular)?

Current study block, my piece de whatthehell...
Now that that's settled, let's look at the geometry of the brick. After the last Reverse Engineering Challenge, I got into a discussion with Sheo, another amazing builder and brick thinker. Whereas I had been looking at bricks with their nominal width of 8.0mm, he has been looking at them for their ACTUAL width of 7.8mm. All bricks have a 0.1mm tolerance on each side to reduce binding when placed next to each other. When bricks start getting used sideways, interesting results can happen.

The HEWA brick is often turned sideways and used for a SNOT approach. This means that the direction of tolerance is getting stuck into another dimension. Usually. This whole thing came about because I made a bold attempt to show that studs are NOT 1.6mm tall as is commonly thought. They're a mite taller and I don't mean because of the logo. Even hollow studs have collisions. Sometimes. But why not always?

Let's study the HEWA brick. Nominally it's 8.0mm across. Actually, it's 7.8mm across. At the base. For the brick portion, it's actually 6.4mm. You expected it to be 6.3mm? I did too. But the block is actually 6.4mm to allow it to be the exact same height as two plates. That was some forward thinking back in the good old days. So it has tolerance reductions in the upright position, and corrections in the prone position. Assuming the stud is truly 1.6mm tall, that would explain why the side stud sticks out a scoche. But it's not 1.6mm tall and we'll address that another time.

So what if we turn the brick sideways? The geometry is similar to another newer piece, 99207. I've drawn the studs to line up, but do they actually? We'll take a deeper look into the HEWA brick's relationship with other pieces in the next few installments of this blog series.

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