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

LEGO Techniques - Brick-A-Brackets

Playing around a little with Brackets led me to realize some of the shapes that can be created when the brackets are connected to each other in certain ways.  Sure, there are at least a bazillion different ways to connect brackets and get offsets but it quickly leaps off into Loopysville.  There are some simpler connections and cores that can be made with just a brick as a spacer.

(I seem to have misplaced my camera.  In the meantime enjoy these renderings from my proprietary SketchUp library.)

First off, both 1x2-2x2 brackets (up and down) can be used to create a SNOT block with a simple 1x2 brick in the middle.  You can get fancier of course by using a couple of 1 stud Travis bricks, headlight bricks, or a 1x4 or longer.

Since a brick equals three plates, there's plenty of room for some plate spinning as well. Stick a headlight plate in there and you can start getting some complicated wizardry.

Should you need some stability in your build and a 1x2-2x2 down bracket won't cut it, consider this possibility:

Wouldn't it be nice to cut that idea in half?  Unfortunately that means some half-plate shenanigans.  Not much I can think of except for an older style thin-ring headlight plate.

But on the backside it gives you a good opportunity for some 180° SNOT.

Nothing earth shattering here I'm sure, just some playing around with bricks and brackets.

LEGO Techniques - Failure Ad-Visory

While playing around with one of the helmet visors that comes as extras in a set, I had a brainstorm.  Whenever I get extra pieces I do my best to incorporate them into the build in some manner.  Some, like the Friend's bows and accessories are next to but not completely impossible.  Others like 1x1 round plates and cheese are no-brainers.  That is, unless the model is lacking any outward studs.  But some are just complete doozies no matter how you look at it, such as the visor.

I've usually ended up just tossing the visor back into the baggie and storing it away.  But this time something inside me clicked and I gave it a whirl.  With a touch of pressure, voila!  The visor fits very nicely inside a 2x2 round brick.  I had originally though that you could use it similar to the cheese slope method with a plate and a brick.  It turns out that the visor is too springy and not meaty enough to consistently grab both pieces unless they are at just the right angle and pitch and- shoot, there it just popped out again.  I took the advice of my grandma: "When life gives you visors, make visorade."

So the lesson was learned.  That is, the visor is a little over 13mm across and is flexible.  The inside of a 2x plate is 16mm - 1.6mm x 2 (nominal plate width minus twice the nominal side wall thickness) equals 12.8mm.  It stays in there due to slight pressure.  As I was fiddling around with it I was suddenly reminded of one of my favorite keychains, the Star Wars Landspeeder.

The only major problem I had with this was the boxy windshield.  This was released in 2008 well after the 7110 Landspeeder came out but still a couple of years before the 8092 Landspeeder which had the curved windscreen.  So I suppose the aesthetic has some precedent.

With all that in mind I decided it was time to update my Landspeeder Keychain.  I'll still keep the old one of course but the new one should vaguely copy the later full size set.  I looked directly at the source materials for color.  Star Wars source material as well as the LEGO sets.  The design is essentially the same with a few color substitutions and one major part substitution.  Sorry cheese wedges, you're no longer welcome around here.

Oh, and the whole thing is necessarily built upside down.

LEGO Techniques - One from the Kids

I've handed down my LEGO addiction to my children.  They are avid builders, even the two year old who can manipulate most pieces well.  The kids have their own collection of LEGO pieces that I try not to freak out about when something gets broken or when the vacuum gets hungry.  They're certainly not going to be getting any chromed minifigs or dark blue arch bricks or light grey boat riggings.  But I try to make sure they have a healthy collection.  Every once in a while I'll look in their bucket to see what they've been playing with.  Sometimes it's just an odd (artistic?) mish mash of plates wildly stuck together to create some sort of base for a house.  Other times it's the simplest little connections that make me stop and think.

I don't know who did it but I saw a connection the other day that I've been pondering over since then.  Three little pieces gave me enough pause to consider all the options.  Piece 1, a 1x2 Technic brick with 2 pin holes.  Piece 2, a Technic half pin, stuck into one of the holes of the brick.  Piece 3, a 1x1 plate with headlight clip plate snapped onto the half pin.  The beautiful thing about this is that the headlight plates will not usually sit flush on anything due to the clip.  However the end of this clip was sitting over top of the second hole in the Technic brick which allowed the whole bit to sit snug.  Brilliant.  Of course, this would work perfectly well with the back of a headlight brick too.

Then there's the resulting spacing of the studs.  The side of the headlight plate acts like a stud and is 3/4" plate (1.2mm) lower than the brick.  For those who study SNOT, this should already be known.  Since the stud is also technically embedded in the brick, it's about a half plate (1.6mm) closer than usual which means no straight stacking.

But since the clip of the headlight plate is hollow, it can accept a bar.  This bar will be closer than usual to the brick than it would for, say, piece 2921.  The handle brick holds the bar at exactly one stud away from it's base, same as would happen for a typical 1x1 plate with open clip.

This might allow you a nice subtle detail that would work in harmony with the aforementioned handle brick. The difference is not much but you can see it in this shot.  You get a little bit of a bow effect that would look nice with a 1x6 fender plate over it.  I have none so I did my best with what I could find.

How uncreative am I?  It looks like a jail cell so I'll finish it off as such.  Where are all my dark bley tiles, anyway?

LEGO Techniques - LEGO Dice

Roll them bones!  Probably one of the greatest things to come out of the new generation of LEGO Games has been the dice.  They seem to sell for a pretty low price but they are master studs out pieces if you can manage them.  The dice have two parts to them.  One is the ABS mold injected red (or pearl gold) bit.  The other is the rubber injected flange bit that allows the dice to bounce around your table like a ping pong ball.  The rubber flange is fairly easy to separate from the surface of the die but requires a bit more finesse to remove it in one piece.  At some point I finally gave up and cut out the center of one of the rubber sides.  Only then did I realize that there is a hollow inside the plastic part that allows the rubber to flow through and grip tenaciously.

But with or without the flange you an use the die for creating a whole ton of SNOT.  The only drawback is that the distance between studs is 5.5 plates.  This can be made a few different ways.  A 2x plate is the same width as 5 plates tall.  You could attach either one to a bracket or other element with a half plate portion.  Or you could use a travis brick (2.5 plates wide) with three plates (or a brick) to take up the rest.  You would have to choose whether to put 3 plates on one side or 2 on one side and 1 on the other.  In this case I've got studs to the outside with a half plate gap between them.

Or you could build out the die with a plate on opposite sides.  You would then have 7.5 plates in width which is exactly the same length as a 3x element.  The problem then becomes a 1/4 plate gap due to the size of the opposing plates.  (5.5 plates minus 5 plates for a 2x element leaves a 1/2 plate width to be split evenly).  One form of a perfect connection would be to place 2x2 plates on every face and then 3x3 plates over that.  Every 3x3 will show only the edge of the plate and no more.

Imagine these are 3x3 plates...

Or you can throw caution to the wind and let the gaps add up, eventually resolving it somewhere.

You can see that little hole in the middle that helps the rubber flange to grip the die so well.  You can start a Technic axle down the hole but it won't go past the stop.  Even a 3.2mm bar won't slip through there.  It's about 1.6mm thick so it's not grippable by a clip either.  It's mostly just in the way.

With Novvember coming up soon I think I might try my hand at using this piece to build some sort of LEGO Games based Nnenn-ship.

LEGO Tips and Techniques - Technic(olor) SNOT

Sometimes the most elegant solutions are not the sexiest.  Which is fine if you're hiding your SNOT.  Brackets, headlight bricks and travis bricks are very useful for 90° and 180° solutions.  I've previously highlighted what is probably the tightest 180° solution even if it doesn't have grip as good as a typical connection.  I am personally guilty of using the aforementioned pieces to do some blocky kludges.  I grew up with a lot of basic parts and the headlight brick and old 2x2-2x2 bracket were my only solutions.  Even the technic sets I got were simple but we did have those irreplaceable 1x technic plates.  How I miss those.

"Why did he make that clunky segue into Technic?" you may ask.  I'll tell you why.  With only 5 technic(y) parts I'm going to introduce a host of 180° SNOT solutions that are compact and effective.  First, the 2L axle.  Next, the full bush.  There's also the 1x4 technic plate and the 2x4 technic plate.  Finally the 2x2 round plate which isn't technically technic but has an axle hole in the middle.  Other minor players may make a cameo appearance.  Let's begin, shall we?

Solution 1, the 4H stack, studs out.  (Stolen from Inspired by Courtesy of ricolego)  Even though the 4H plates are a touch shy of the 2L axle, the nubs will nestle into the bottom of a tube just fine.

Solution 2, the 2H axle grab, studs out.  This is an extension of the above solution with 2 2x4 technic plates sticking out for a lower profile 180° SNOT.

Solution 3, the 2H slim jim, studs out.  No AFOL should be without a few of the old school 1x technic plates.  The plates fit perfectly within both collars of the half pin.  Be aware that the stud on the pin sticks up 1/4 plate higher than the studs on the technic plate.  A flick-fire missile would also work here for extra bar goodness.

Solution 4, the 1H slim jim light, studs in or out.  Those holes on the ends hold a wealth of uses.  Here they snugly hold a stud from either side.  However don't rely on being able to insert a stud into both ends with perfect results.

Solution 5, the 2L "dumbbell", studs in.  I was too lazy to dig up my technic bushes so I used a technic axle connector instead.  The same results are achieved.  This is the simplest version but there are several flavors that can achieve other angles and layouts.  For bonus points the technic pin connector can be used over studs.

 Of course there are as many solutions as there are AFOLs out there.  This is a sampling of some of the better ones that I have used.  Think you got a better one?  Describe or link to it below.

LEGO Tips and Techniques - Fence vs. Panel

At first glance, fences may appear to be nothing more than a perforated panel.  You may even be tempted to use them in line to create a certain look.  Besides, the fence is only made in 4L, not 2L or a 1x1 corner like the panel.  It can certainly work fine but be aware of the differences.

The panel is essentially a tile with a half plate wide 2 plate tall wall on it.  The thickness of the wall is 1/5th the width of the lower part (1.6mm vs. 8.0mm).  This is a common ratio as can also be seen on the grill tiles.  If used cleverly in SNOT, this panel can be added to the height of 2 plates to achieve a brick's width.  Or added to a brick's width to achieve a brick's height.  Place 2 panels back to back and you have a 3.2mm thick portion, the same as a plate width.  You can even use it like a pony-ear.

Since a panel wall is a small fraction of a plate width, you can do some cool staggering with it.  This idea is not my own but I'll take credit for being able to replicate it.  The panels rest on each other and are locked in place at the top by a plate or two.  Add an arched window and you have a nice castle wall detail.

The fence on the other hand has a very tricky 2.4mm thickness.  My first thought is that this was made this way to add strength to the perforated wall.  This wall is 3/10th the width of the tile portion or 1/10th of a plate width wider than the panel.  This 0.8mm discrepancy may not seem like much but the eye is not fooled.  At least my eye is not.

You might think it odd to use 2.4mm since that doesn't fall into LEGO's 1.6mm grid very well.  It sort of fits.  I mean, it's 1.5x that grid number.  So maybe you can't get to 8.0mm in brick width very well but if you place two fences back to back you get 4.8mm which is half a brick height.  Tyco anyone?  4.8mm also represents the diameter of a stud for whatever that one's worth.

That lattice is also the perfect size for studs.  This piece can be used for 90° inverted (studs in) SNOT.  Beware that you will be dealing with a plate height on one side (3.2mm) and a fence lattice width of 2.4mm on the other side.  Adding plate widths to the 2.4mm doesn't get you much of anywhere until you add a brick.  The 9.6mm plus the 2.4mm lattice is 12.0mm which is a brick and a half in width.

What ways have you used the fence or panel?

LEGO Tips, Tricks, and Techniques - Going Studs Out

If you spend any amount of time on Flickr or MOCpages you'll see some amazing creations with some amazing parts usage.  Studs go every which way and sometimes you'd swear parts were modified.  Maybe my parts vocabulary is lacking.  Anyway, we have a few tricks up our sleeve until LEGO makes this:
Unfortunately there are a couple of tricks that don't quite cut it.  Let's say you want to slap two plates together in such a way that the studs face out top and bottom (or front and back, left and right, port and starboard, I don't care).  The thinnest way to do this is with two 4x4 plates connected with a couple of the little lever parts embedded between the anti-studs:

But Great Ole's ghost, 4x4?  Can't we do something smaller?  Turns out we (wait for it) can!  First, some maths:

Let's take a 2x2 plate.  I like to work in millimeters for LEGO as the numbers are decently proportioned to the scale of my builds (to be read micro).  Oh sure, there's LDU but it's like using Ångströms to measure a house.  A 32x32 baseplate is a mere 640 LDU across.   I'm not particularly fond of the metric system in and of itself but it beats fractional inches for small measurements.

A 2x2 plate is 16mm across.  The side walls underneath are 1.6mm each.  The big roundy bit in the middle is ~6.5mm.  So the total distance of the void is 16mm - 1.6mm - 1.6mm - 6.5mm = 6.3mm.  Divide this by 2 and you get 3.15mm of void between the side walls and the bullseye.  It just so happens that bar elements (meaning anything a minifig hand can grip) are 3.2mm in diameter.  When placing a 3.2mm element into a 3.15mm space, what do you get?  Did you say no bueno?  Wrong.  You actually get a pretty nice friction fit.  But what is small enough to fit in that space.  Think, think, think, Pooh.  Want to peruse the Bricklink catalog a bit?  I'll wait...

OK, wait's over.  To my knowledge, there's only 1 piece that could fit inside a 2x2 underside and stick out enough to connect to another 2x2s underside.  The bucket handle.  Small one, not the big fat Belville one.

In fact this part will work for any 2x plate connection.  You can even make a couple of smaller unique connections to the bottom of a larger plate.  Already knew this?  Bully for you!  Didn't?  You're welcome.  Oh, and in case you don't have any of these lying around, you're not completely screwed.  You can do a minimum 2x3 plate connection with a couple of these:

Got any other sweet tricks for this kind of tiny stud reversal?  Sound off in the comments.