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Showing posts with label SNOT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SNOT. Show all posts

LEGO Techniques - 20482 Round Tile with Pin

Seen this yet? Imagine a 1x1 round tile. Then put a tiny 0.4L (3.2mm) bar on top. Finally, drill a 1.6mm hole through the bar. The result? Possibilities! This little part contains at least 4 ways to connect pieces together, let's see how many uses it has.

LEGO Techniques - Rhotuka!

Yeah I know. What? Not a clue. But I found one of these little parts in a bulk bin and grabbed it because it was new to me. Plus it takes no space or weight to speak of. Finally figured out that it is used in conjunction with a rip-cord. This was WAAAY back in 2004 before Chima Speedorz and Airjitzu. So nothing new. In fact I thought it was a friction fit gear from the old 80's motors.

Unfortunately the gear teeth don't really mesh with anything else except the rip-cord. But like everything else, it fits with the System! Yeah, can you believe it? The first thing that grabbed my attention was that little nub. When I was a kid I was disappointed that the little void under a stud wasn't sized to match anything. Now we know of course that LEGO sometimes uses that void to place tracking devices to understand more about how LEGO is played with. If you find a tracker, smash it!

How? Use this little piece. The nub fits that void and the teeth are sized at 4.8mm diameter which (as we all know by now) matches a stud. Fits great into a 1x1 plate, albeit a little loose. The fit into a round 1x1 plate is much tighter. If your fingers aren't very grippy, you might need some pliers.

Since the diameter is a stud, it should fit into a tube under a brick, right? With ease!

Hey wait, is this the missing double male stud SNOT piece we've been seeking?

Oh. Yes. With exactly a plate of width in the middle. (I really did need pliers to extract the hex end as it was quite tight).

LEGO Techniques - Headlight Conflict

Finally getting back on track with the study on headlight bricks. A while ago I showed how headlight bricks are an odd construction. They maintain normal brick tolerance on 3 sides, but the fourth side actually reverses this and cancels out the tolerance on the opposite side. The effect is that of creating a true 2 plate high piece. But how does this affect SNOT construction?

Using my little tablescrap I've created two cases where the headlight brick creates error. The first is in the lower right corner under the yellow technic brick. You can see that the headlight brick is actually pushing against the sideways grey travis brick such that it doesn't want to rest easy. What's the deal?

First, a quiz: How wide is the yellow technic brick?

If you said 16.0mm, you're wrong. While it is that size nominally, the actual size is 15.8mm. Remember the 0.1mm tolerance on each side?

Using math, it's easy to see how the conflict can occur. The headlight brick is EXACTLY 6.4mm wide due to it's intended cohesion with a double high plate. The travis brick is exactly 9.6mm high. Added up, the total becomes 16.0mm which is obviously a little too much for our poor technic brick. You can certainly build up around such cases and get the bricks to be compliant but they will be stressed a little.

The second case is on the left where the headlight bricks interact with a blue and grey headlight brick. Using the same concept it should be easy to see what is happening. The red headlight brick atop the blue travis brick is in system... except for the stud face which is 0.2mm beyond. The width of the headlight/grey travis brick combo is again a true 16.0mm. The stuck out face of the headlight brick is pushing the grey travis brick (along with any connections) an extra 0.2mm further east. Therefore, even though the upside down headlight brick is attached to the blue travis brick, it's connection with the grey travis brick keeps it from pushing up against the brick.

Headlight brick, you are a wily one.

LEGO Techniques - Mudguard Stuck

Being up to the wheel wells in mud is one thing.  Being up to the wheel wells in LEGO bricks is quite another.  While the former sounds fun, the latter would be more fun to get out of.  Being up to my waist in mud, attaching a chain is a bit too much.  The dangly loose ends of the LEGO mudguards have caught my attention for quite a while.  Finally I gave it a go and started trying to get them to stick in all sorts of places.  In what could be called a variant of cheese slope wedging, give this a go:

Karf Oohlu, where are you?

I have to give Bricklink all the thanks for this one.  Their monified seed part challenge was to build something for their MOC shop using 4 of these in dark azure.  That's a nice number to build a... car.  But I wanted to build anything else.  How many car entries would there end up being?

LEGO Techniques - Faked Facet

I'm rather thrilled to be building my first ever LEGO commission.  The news coverage on my 1:1000 scale downtown Portland garnered some local attention.  I'm recreating an historic armory building at about 1:132 scale.  Thankfully it's a ton of dark bley brick bricks and a ton of dark red bricks.  However there are some areas where a part in dark red would have been perfect - if it existed.  In these cases I've had to take some liberties in recreating the feature.  I'm more likely to make it look like the original as much as possible.

So when I discovered that TLG made no 2x2 facet brick in dark red, I took to the catalog.  Searching in just dark red, I needed to find something with a 45° angle.  The best I could come up with were the slopes.  There's a regular and inverted version.  I decided the studs on the regular version wouldn't look quite right but the anti studs of the inverted ones might sort of kind of look like some of the little windows.

Four studs wide is equivalent to ten plates of thickness.  The slopes are each three plates leaving four plates in the middle to take up the slack.  At first thought this was a problem.  The two studs wide of the edge of the octagon would be five plates wide.  Is this really going to work?  Ah, but remember that the lip of the slopes are one half plate thick.  Two of these add up to the elusive fifth plate.

The whole assembly needed to replicate an octagon within a 4x4 square.  There's going to be some studs facing each other here and in very tight quarters.  I looked around at some tried and true methods and remembered the "slim jim" method using older 1x technic plates.  With a little modification this looked about right.

Next week (hopefully): How to fill in the gap between the top and bottom slopes?

LEGO Techniques - Gaining Some Lever-age

As a microbuilder I'm always looking for miniscule solutions.  A couple of other techniques merged into one tiny little beast of a technique.  One amazing technique allows you to use lever stems to connect 4x and bigger plates together bottom to bottom.  From this we can infer that the lever stem is skinny enough to fit inside the anti-studs.

Second is a delightful little feature of the round 1x1 plates (dots) which give them texture.  In the old days, these parts would have had a straight side all the way down.  But in order to help young fingers separate the pieces from each other (and save on the volume of plastic), they have a relief lip in the bottom.  If you were to place several of these in a line next to each other you'd have lots of gaps like a methheads dental pattern.  But what great gaps!

Once the lever stems are firmly seated you can either continue with or without the bases.  Without the bases just leaves you with some spiky texture but the bases allow you to do some really funky SNOT.  I'm not sure what sort of sorcery the LEGO Part Design Team uses but it's downright scary.

Unfortunately, some sort of gremlin slipped into the design process as the stems are JUUUST not quite long enough to fit between two consecutive dots.  It works but it puts some stress on the dots nearest the lever base.  With just a bit of force put on them they're liable to pop off.

I was originally inspired to find this technique by trying to create a microscale version of Bob's Kebab Stand.

Sweet.  Or is that savory?

LEGO Techniques - The Piece of Resistance

AKA Brick 1x1x2 with extra tube side, AKA the Emmet Brick.  When I first saw this piece on the interwebs I was intrigued.  After seeing Caperberry's amazing build with it, I had to try it for myself.

As he mentions in another post, the piece is essentially a 1x1 plate atop a headlight brick atop two 1x1 plates.  But the headlight brick would have no stud on the side, just the square in the back.  From a geometry perspective, there's nothing new to see here.  Anything you can do with the hind end of a headlight brick can be done.  But if for some reason you need that three and a half part connection to have some strength without a recessed side stud, well here it is.

A big difference from the headlight brick is that there is a whole lot more plastic below the anti-stud (or tube side, says TLG).  Headlight bricks have a tendency to crack.  I'm wondering if this has anything to do with the location of that portion of the brick in relation to the pip.  If the plastic is injected at the top of the solid stud, then it will flow around the square portion of the mold and meet in the middle.  Theoretically this should be fine as the already molten medium will bind together.  But that's theory.  Another theory would state that by the time the injection gets around the chilly metal mold it has already lost some of its viscosity and binding properties.  But I would think you would need several more seconds for that to become a factor.  The Emmet Brick has an extra 6.4mm of ABS wall below the anti-stud that should relieve that problem.  I'm sure hoping that hairline on my Emmet Brick is the shot pattern.

One application I could see is when you want an anti-stud facing sideways and you don't want to deal with a bunch of SNOTtery.  The headlight brick will give you the same function unless you have another layer of pieces just inside.  In that case the side stud of the headlight brick sticks out a little farther than the lip of the brick.  An interior conflict will ensue.  Certainly not a difficult one to resolve though.


In the movie this piece was actually a Kragle cap.  This piece does a fine abstract job of representing that.  However I think a red axle connector would look a little more correct with better dimensions and texture.  But getting that piece to stick to Emmet's back in a non-destructive way would involve a little more creativity.  Or a new part.

LEGO Techniques - Pony Leg

Maybe you're familiar with the Pony Ear technique from the 80's.  That's the one where you place a plate sideways between the studs of another element.  The name comes from the likes of sets 372, 617, and 697.  You can also see it used in the likes of 605 and 611.

The Pony Leg technique gets its name from a similar aspect as the Pony Ear.  Instead of connecting studs on top you connect edge to studs.  Though in this case we're connecting edge to bottom.  In any given plate 2x or larger there is a little miracle of LEGOnomics.  The distance between the inside edge of the lip and the outside of the anti-stud is in a tight tolerance to 3.2mm.  If you've followed my posts or understand LEGO maths, you'll instantly recognize this as the width of a plate sans stud.


I made a brief allusion to this dimension in two previous posts.  The first was with the bucket handle.  I had declared the 3.2mm diameter of the bucket handle to be the frictional force in the skinny 180° SNOT connection.  I later found it to be something else as well.  The second one was the roller skates where I showed the skate element doing the same thing that I'm talking about now.

It's nothing fancy but with a Bx1 plate it will let you do SNOT with a plate and a half of width in between.  That's due to the stud being 4.8mm in diameter.  Or use a tile and get about a plate and a quarter in between.

Now if you want to get really tricky, put a Bx2 tile in there.  That will give you another 2.5 plates of thickness, added to the 1.25 plates of thickness normally achieved.  Wait, where have I seen that number before?

I sure do <3 LEGO.

LEGO Techniques - Cones

Cones come in several shapes and sizes.  From the tiny 1x1x2/3 "Fez" to a gigantic 8x8x6 built from two halves.  But until only recently were the studs on the small end.  In 2013 TLG released a cone that is upside down.  On the small end is a bar but on the larger end is a positive stud.  Therefore, it's an inverted cone.  This part comes in one color so far and is only used as an ice cream cone.  Pity it gets classed under "Food".  It's useful to so much more than just Epicureans.

I didn't think much of the new cones when I saw them other than, "Hey, new mold!"  But as I wrangled the part around in my head I wanted to try a few things.  So I bought some.    Turns out they're sort of handy for SNOT and stuff.  Grab your hanky and let's go!

Your first inclination might be to just straight stack the inverted cone with a regular cone.  Way to go regular Joe!  It's not bad, it gives some texture and the bar works kind of like an anti-stud with open studs (as cones have).  It's cool and all... for like a weaving spindle. 

I hope Kevin doesn't mind me using his sig fig to show off his mad skillz.

But lets go 180 and see what happens.  I was hesitant at first but delighted to discover that the inverted cone bar will fit into the underside of the regular cone.  If you weren't aware, the inside of most cones (any size) can accept a Technic axle.  Technic axle holes are also formed to accept a bar with good grip.  The bar is long enough to grip into the axle hole and stay there.  I wouldn't be doing any sole structural connections with this technique but it will stay put.

Those look kind of like dolls...

There, that's better...
The side effect to this is that you now have studs going 2 ways.  Not only that but you have studs going two ways with what looks like two and two thirds normal stacked cones.  The only drawback to this connection is that it is ever so slightly under 5 plates high.  It's just enough in this case to cause failure in the bar/axle hole connection when used side by side with 5 plates.  I give this connection 2.5 out of 5 studs.

LEGO Techniques - Bars Crossed

The new LEGO lug wrench is a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately its utility is destined for smallness based on its categorization.  Minifig Utensils have some of the greatest features.  Small pieces that can hold bars and studs in differing directions.  Bricklink and BrickOwl both place part 11402 in Minifig, Utensil category.  Thankfully BrickOwl has it tagged as a 'bar' to help it come up in searches.

The tool is similar to two 3L bars crossed in the middle.  The only functional difference from a true bar is that about a 4mm length near each end that is 2mm in diameter instead of the usual 3.2mm.  But at each end and at the intersection is plenty of meat on which to clip other pieces.

I'm a tool...

For instance, you can create a very sturdy base that would otherwise be accomplished with a Travis brick.  The benefit of the lug wrench is that the headlight bricks could be turned either way, not just studs out. This would be true of any piece with an open (or through) stud.

Hollow studs work as well.  The fit is tight.  Clips take a 3.2mm element with tenacity.

Of course I mentioned that many minifig tools are useful pieces.  When they all work in tandem you get some sort of glorious mega Tool of Awesome.

The ToolSaber Deluxe 3000
 With enough of these and a slew of robot arms, I'll bet you could make some amazing Modern Art.  At the very least, maybe a VHF antenna.

LEGO Techniques - Donuts!

My pile of the new round tile with hole took a little longer to acquire than I had hoped hence the delay.  When I first saw this part in the new Parisian Restaurant reviews, I knew this would change the face of building.  Maybe not the entire face but at least some of the less vital parts; ears, hair, etc.

This new part 15535 is sort of a refinement to the earlier Exo-Force 53993 disc.  That disc maintained a happy 3.2mm of typical system thickness but has a diameter of 13mm as opposed to a more responsible 16mm.  There are reasons for this diminutive dimension I'm sure but much like the similarly small gingerbread man head, I haven't deduced it.  Part 15535 allows for normal clutch connections (much like it's ancestor the round tile).  But it also allows for anything of a 4.8mm variety to be stuck in the middle.  Appropriate bits include studs and technic pins.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

This is just a small sample in 5 minutes of some of the possibilities.  I can see these parts getting a lot of mileage in the very near future.  Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to my US-ian readers.

LEGO Techniques - More Brackety Brickiness

In the process of figuring out another trick that was going to be for this week, I ran across a technique that could have been included last week.  Playing around some more without bricks and brackets I (re)discovered the relationship between the bracket's flange and a brick.  Brackets are essentially a plate with a half width plate hanging off at a 90° angle.  The plate itself is 8mm and the half plate overhang is 1.6mm.  If you are familiar with LEGO maths you might recognize this as adding up to 9.6mm, the height of a brick.  I was looking for a compact way to have studs out with a brick height in between.  Many of you may be familiar with the idea of 2 headlight bricks and a plate for some compact SNOT.  This concept is similar but makes use of the space differently (and, um, largerly).

The newer 1x2-2x2 up bracket accepts some sideways single stud travis bricks on the under side.  As mentioned above, the bricks are the same height as the full depth of the bracket, that is, 9.6mm.  The result is a simple way to have studs up and studs down.  The space inside the bracket can be filled in a variety of ways, even such that the connection is strengthened.  The clutch is certainly adequate on my 2x4 example but some extra points on a large assembly would be recommended.

My first thought at this point is that a headlight brick would fit in there nicely.  Except that you then end up with a slightly off centered half plate deep stud.  Maybe it gives you the offset or the greebles you need.  Instead of the plate and brick, the bracket could be squared off with a brick and tile for that extra special grooved look.  Add bricks as necessary above that.

One more thought is that the "bottom" two single stud travis bricks could be replaced by a 1x2 brick with studs on two sides.  This, coupled with the single stud travis bricks on top, would give you opposing studs on another axis.  Or add one more plate to thicken this assembly and you are compatible with the dice.

Someday if you're bored, I recommend grabbing a few brackets, bricks, and plates and playing around with them.  If you've got some other mean lean examples, feel free to link to them in the comments.