Kit Figsto

What's the easiest/most cost-effective way to acquire a general collection of parts for MOCs?

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At this point, my collection is entirely just complete sets.  I would rather not break down my sets for parts, so I'm wondering what the easiest way is to get a lot of general parts for MOCs is.  I'm not talking about designing a MOC on the computer and ordering the parts from Bricklink or PAB, but how I would go about just getting a lot of general pieces to build with.  Buy sets on clearance for parts?  Buying bulk sets of pieces?  Breaking down your sets for parts?   Or do most people just order the specific parts that they need for a MOC, then take it apart and add the pieces to their collection when they're finished?  Just curious how others do it.

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10 minutes ago, Kit Figsto said:

Buy sets on clearance for parts?  Buying bulk sets of pieces?  Breaking down your sets for parts? 

I do exactly this. Mostly on heavily discounted sets, I am not interested in at all. They often have nice pieces - and one gets many other pieces for "later on" = MOCing.

Best,
Thorsten

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I find the Pick a Brick wall at the LEGO store the most cost effective.  You can also challenge yourself to design your MOC around what's available on the wall.

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1 hour ago, Kit Figsto said:

Breaking down your sets for parts?

That's the most cost effective since you already own it; you can always rebuild it so might as well use those parts for something else in the meantime. They're just sitting there, waiting. :excited:

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11 minutes ago, dr_spock said:

I find the Pick a Brick wall at the LEGO store the most cost effective.

Forgot to mention that one. Yes, same here. Most cost-effective, but less what-will-I-do-with-all-that-stuff from the apparently "useless" sets purchased.

Well, not entirely true - filling the gaps with all sorts of small - whatever pieces - is "useless" as well. Well, for the time being. Who knows what they will do "just sitting there, waiting", as @koalayummies said (below/above - I was editing - but I like that notion very much!).

Best,
Thorsten 

Edited by Toastie
Time dilation

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Thanks everyone for the answers!  I've been meaning to get some PAB cups, as I do feel like they generally have a solid variety of basic parts (tiles, plates, doors/windows, wheels, plants and stuff), I wasn't sure if those were cheaper.  I supposed the key is packing it efficiently/stacking bricks in the lid, and that sort of thing.

1 hour ago, koalayummies said:

That's the most cost effective since you already own it; you can always rebuild it so might as well use those parts for something else in the meantime. They're just sitting there, waiting. :excited:

I've thought about this, but I know that if I do start breaking sets down, they're never going to fully get put back together, unless it's one or two sets.  I'm pretty meticulous about keeping my sets together, so I also don't think I can bring myself to do it :laugh:

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Check Craigslist, ebay, yard/garage sales, "Bricks & Minifigs" store. That last one is the best for me.

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1 hour ago, Toastie said:

Forgot to mention that one. Yes, same here. Most cost-effective, but less what-will-I-do-with-all-that-stuff from the apparently "useless" sets purchased.

In the beginning I purchased sets on sale for parts.  As my collection grew, I stopped buying sets for parts.  Sets now stay intact for display purposes.

21 minutes ago, Kit Figsto said:

Thanks everyone for the answers!  I've been meaning to get some PAB cups, as I do feel like they generally have a solid variety of basic parts (tiles, plates, doors/windows, wheels, plants and stuff), I wasn't sure if those were cheaper.  I supposed the key is packing it efficiently/stacking bricks in the lid, and that sort of thing.

If you take the time to cram as much as possible into those PAB, your cost per piece decreases.   I think there was a PAB thread here where folks showed what they got and how they packed it. 

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It's pretty much a mix of everything with the real point of buying sets being, for me at least, that some parts never become available separately, anyway, or at least not in significant numbers and only late after release. Pretty much depends, though. I may buy some discounted sets once or twice, but typically we don't have real clearance sales here in Germany, so buying a set you really didn't want just for parts is not much of an option if you're on a budget. Whenever I see photos and reports from the US or UK with 70% off it really makes me jealous...

Mylenium

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It's a mix for me. I often buy bulk lots from people. These are great parts fodder for MOCs. Lots of internals come from these. Also, the sheer amount of people getting rid of Star Wars when they hit their Dark Ages keeps my plates and wedge plate stocks up. As for clearance sets, I'll sometimes clean them out if I feel the set is good for parts. Walmart had the Thanos mech on sale for $5 each, and I bought them out. Great source of metallic gold.

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I break down most sets, there are a handful I keep together as bought, but 70% of my purchases are for parts once I have built the set, 20% are for parts right away (as in I do not bother to build the set) and the last 10% is for sets I want the set as-is. Another good way to build up a collection is to get the bulk lots from Facebeook marketplace, Gumtree etc. People sell boxes of mixed parts for low prices as they want to get rid of things quickly.

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I think that "easiest" and "most cost-effective" are at odds. If you spend a lot of time shopping on BrickLink/Bricks & Pieces, hunting garage sales, blah blah blah... You can get a lot of parts for very cheap, and maybe even ones you're interested in! But if you want to get parts for cheap on BrickLink you gotta be patient and be prepared to accumulate things over the course of a bunch of orders.

I'm not sure where on the "easiest" scale it falls, but, if the wall at your local Lego store DOES have parts you want, then it can't be beat. But what it has on it is up to fate.

If you want to buy with the largest selection available, and get very specific stuff, then Bricks & Pieces has got you covered. But for many many things it won't be the cheapest, not by a long shot. It gives you the most flexibility (out of currently-produced elements); you can get a LOT of stuff together in one order. But it's not gonna be as cheap per-part as some German BL seller.

For myself, I tend to accumulate parts over time. I don't buy sets for parts very often; most of my Lego-buying is on BrickLink and Bricks & Pieces, opportunistically hunting for things that seem cool or spark my imagination. Sometimes I'm building X thing and I need parts ABC for it, so I go to BL and I find a seller with those parts for cheap... But obviously I'm going to buy a whole bunch of those parts, right? Or maybe I look at parts in a certain color, a color I use often... And I just look for cheap and useful parts in that color. I think a big part of building a collection is tailoring it to what you tend to build. What colors and part types you accumulate most of... This will be informed by your interests.

If you're patient, then yeah, the garage sale or equivalent will be a very cheap source of mixed parts. But it has the least choice.

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Generally, I found the easiest way was just ordering parts from bricklink as needed as I build my MOCs. I find its also more cost effective to order parts for multiple MOCs at the same time to cut down on shipping costs. Additionally, I have a general list in mind of commonly used parts (things like black and white1x1,1x2, etc..plates) that I always seem to use, so I always make a point to shop around the stores to see if they have anything of interest at a decent price that I can get in bulk. If I need a large quantity of bricks I go to Bricks & Pieces.  It might be because I can never find any good deals in my area, but I've never found directly buying sets for parts that effective, though there are a couple of exceptions like "Lots of Dots" ( which is handy for building up a large collection of tiles/round in a variety of colors on the cheap).

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