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Good at puzzles - good at Technic building?


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#1 Lipko

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 06:01 PM

Based on this thread, I have to ask: does being good at mechanical puzzles make you good at designing your own models? Or is it required to be good at mechanical puzzles?

I start to think so. I'm a mechanical engineer (constructor) and I'm okay in it (it wasn't really tested yet). I consider myself creative, I am a hobby programmer, written many games and stuff from scratch, I did paper modelling (I designed and developed the models completely myself, I "invented" all the techniques and technology paper modelling required, because I didn't know about anyone else doing it that time).

But I suck at mechanical puzzles. And the sad thing that it seems I suck at Technic building too. I made 3 okay models, but the first model that is a bit more "advanced" gets over my head. I can't solve even simple stuff, because it will "contradict" the other stuff there. I'd need to continuously rebuild the whole thing to integrate the new feature, it's just too complex for me.

Opinions? Are you good at puzzles?

#2 allanp

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 06:30 PM

I would say i'm better at building MOCs than I am at mechanical puzzles. I suck at those! But I tend to like doing anything creative from writing/recording music, drawing, 3d modelling, welding and most other forms of fabricating my own designs and so on. I've even had a go at writing movie scripts that will probably never be seen just because I enjoy using my imagination. I guess having a good imagination is more important than being good at mechanical puzzles. I just imagine what the greatest technic car or helicopter or whatever of all time would be, then try to build it!
Even the best can be made better, but most important is to be excellent to each other and party on dudes!!!!!!

#3 skppo

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 06:42 PM

I like to think i'm good at mechanical puzzles. I've solved almost all puzzle things in our house. I taught myself to solve a 3x3 rubiks cube with a guide and after that i've nearly solved a 4x4 with my own algorithms. (I still need to figure out a way to switch edge pairs.) At least i like solving mechanical problems.

When it comes to building i always have to choose form or function. I tend to be too ambitious with my goals and then get frustrated with my builds when i don't meet them. Creativity is a key component in building. No matter how good you are with problems you need to have a need for creating to get anything done. :classic:

#4 hrontos

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 06:46 PM

I don't think there is some direct relation between ability to solve mechanical puzzles and technic building. Technic building is more like chess playing and imagination. The more future steps are you able to plan and imagine the less reworking you will have.

I am a software engineer. Typical for a software development is to work in cycles. Each cycle refines previous outputs of a previous cycle. This approach seems to be in a contradiction with technic building where you cannot build and then refine and much more planning is required. In sofware it is enough to avoid "closing some possibly usefull doors". Digital design sometimes helps to get faster results, because rebuilding is may be faster.

Good technic builder should have good technical knowledge, so that he does not have to invent already invented constructions and principles and he should have also a bit out of box thinking to have creativity.

I think it is completely ok to build and rebuild. Contradictions and problems in technic building are much more often than in a standard engineering, because parts are given and you cannot modify them. I also have some unfinished builds, but it looks like I have to "grow a bit" to finish them. So I tried some others in between just to get that nice success feeling. Without these simplier builds in between a man is just frustrated. And sometimes good idea comes on its own.

#5 dandexter

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 08:30 PM

I think another important factor in skill with Lego in general is how much time you've spent on it.  I'v read that it takes around 10,000 (or 417 days) hours to reach your best at most hobbies and sports.

#6 jorgeopesi

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 09:02 PM

I don´t know well what ability is goot to be a good builder... I haven´t got creativity but I draw well since I was little, obviously I draw things that I see or remember but never of imagination, with Technic is the same I see a machine and I draw it on real 3D with Lego :rofl:  . Am I good at doing mechanical puzzles?, I almost always find the simplest solution for them but I think it has nothing to do with my building skills. To have some technical knowledge can help, that was my problem at first ... the advantage is that everything surprised me :drool:   but I think the best quality is to learn quickly and to see brickshelf a lot...

Dandexter I don´t agree with that information, I build with Lego for almost 3 years, I do weightlifting for almost 18 years and every year I am better in both... my MOCs talk and my the weight lifted is increasingly, we never have to put limits.

Edited by jorgeopesi, 31 October 2012 - 09:21 PM.

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#7 dandexter

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:16 AM

View Postjorgeopesi, on 31 October 2012 - 09:02 PM, said:

I don´t know well what ability is goot to be a good builder... I haven´t got creativity but I draw well since I was little, obviously I draw things that I see or remember but never of imagination, with Technic is the same I see a machine and I draw it on real 3D with Lego :rofl:  . Am I good at doing mechanical puzzles?, I almost always find the simplest solution for them but I think it has nothing to do with my building skills. To have some technical knowledge can help, that was my problem at first ... the advantage is that everything surprised me :drool:   but I think the best quality is to learn quickly and to see brickshelf a lot...

Dandexter I don´t agree with that information, I build with Lego for almost 3 years, I do weightlifting for almost 18 years and every year I am better in both... my MOCs talk and my the weight lifted is increasingly, we never have to put limits.

I think you may have miss-understood my post.  I hope I can clear it up...

I wasn't putting any limits on anything and agree with you about getting better every year.  My point was that it can/does take a long time to get really good at something, (some people more then others due to natural ability).  

Also off-topic, I do weightlifting as well.

#8 jorgeopesi

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 02:35 PM

First AFOL I know who does weightlifting as me :thumbup:  , may be a good ability for Lego, we can easy separate the pieces :rofl:  . You are right the natural ability is important, the sentence I didn´t understand was "I'v read that it takes around 10,000 (or 417 days) hours to reach your best at most hobbies and sports." I thnik that everybody has in own time to achieve his goals, only this, some day we can talk about training :sweet:  .
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#9 dandexter

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:24 AM

View Postjorgeopesi, on 01 November 2012 - 02:35 PM, said:

First AFOL I know who does weightlifting as me :thumbup:  , may be a good ability for Lego, we can easy separate the pieces :rofl:  . You are right the natural ability is important, the sentence I didn´t understand was "I'v read that it takes around 10,000 (or 417 days) hours to reach your best at most hobbies and sports." I thnik that everybody has in own time to achieve his goals, only this, some day we can talk about training :sweet:  .

I was surprised to see someone else on here who does weightlifting as well.  Yeah we'll have to talk training one day, not in this thread though.

#10 allanp

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:19 PM

You can talk weight lifting with me as well if you like, tho i'm fairly clueless about it still. I just sweat at it until I can't move anymore, seems to work!
Even the best can be made better, but most important is to be excellent to each other and party on dudes!!!!!!

#11 jorgeopesi

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:03 PM

We can create a off-topic topic with AFOLs who do weightlifting :roflmao:  , we always say we lift bricks in case :laugh_hard:  . Who is the strongest at bricklifting :head_back:  ?. Sorry for the off-topic Lipko...
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#12 dr_spock

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 01:50 PM

I am not good at mechanical puzzles nor designing Technic.  I can make things that work but making it look good is not my forte.

I used to lift weights.  I find a Lego brick separator works better than plain brute force--less wear and tear on my hands.



#13 Jeroen Ottens

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:58 PM

I am a mechanical engineer too and my experience was that my engineering skills helped me with building complex models. Knowing how to make stiff, lightweight constructions is a great help.
My experience however was mostly with the studded technic. It was only this year that I seriously attempted to build a studless model (keep an eye on the upcoming Hispabrick :). I found that studless building has quite a steep learning curve and my first attempts were pretty frustating. Mostly because the models weren't rigid enough.
What finally worked for me was to build in phases. I first build the outline of the model, almost without functionality. I only add the important function pivot-points (in this particular case landing gear, canopy and airbrake pivot points).
I then put that mockup aside and start from scratch again, but this time I focus on getting the functions as compact as possible. Once that is finished I set that one aside as well.
Then I start again from scratch. But this time I try to combine both the outline and the inner mechanics in one model. This step is then repeated multiple times until I get the model right.
In my (limited) experience I find that 1/3 of the model is technical functions (gears, axles, pneumatics, etc.), 1/3 is structural integrity (beams, pre-stressed frames, etc.) and 1/3 is design elements (panels, flex-axles, etc.).
Hope this helps.
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#14 Lipko

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:36 AM

View PostJeroen Ottens, on 03 November 2012 - 08:58 PM, said:

I am a mechanical engineer too and my experience was that my engineering skills helped me with building complex models. Knowing how to make stiff, lightweight constructions is a great help.
My experience however was mostly with the studded technic. It was only this year that I seriously attempted to build a studless model (keep an eye on the upcoming Hispabrick :). I found that studless building has quite a steep learning curve and my first attempts were pretty frustating. Mostly because the models weren't rigid enough.
What finally worked for me was to build in phases. I first build the outline of the model, almost without functionality. I only add the important function pivot-points (in this particular case landing gear, canopy and airbrake pivot points).
I then put that mockup aside and start from scratch again, but this time I focus on getting the functions as compact as possible. Once that is finished I set that one aside as well.
Then I start again from scratch. But this time I try to combine both the outline and the inner mechanics in one model. This step is then repeated multiple times until I get the model right.
In my (limited) experience I find that 1/3 of the model is technical functions (gears, axles, pneumatics, etc.), 1/3 is structural integrity (beams, pre-stressed frames, etc.) and 1/3 is design elements (panels, flex-axles, etc.).
Hope this helps.

Yes, I think rebuilding will help. That was the plan anyway, to build a sketch version, to see if the model "works" at all (looks cool, functions cool, the theme is interesting enough, the whole thing is exciting enough). If it "works", then i make instructions take it apart and rebuild the whole thing again (instructions only for reference).
The best would be if i had enough pieces to keep the sketch version built. but that's not an option.

Maybe I'm just a slower learner. Being and engineer helps a lot, but with rather simple things, like gears, gearboxes, suspension etc. But combining the limited set of pieces into something I want is very tough, it really looks like mechanical puzzles to me more than anything. No matter how much I know about differentials and differential locks, I just can't stuff that into that limited space.



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