NathanR

Eurobricks Citizen
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About NathanR

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  1. Wow! Very impressive demo video. I'm afraid I don't own a tablet so I can't download it, but it looks amazing. Speaking as someone who tried (and hopelessly failed) to make a CAD editor, I can appreciate the time and effort that must have gone into this. Just curious, but would it be possible to create a MacOS version of the app?
  2. [MOD/MOC] UCS Delta-7 Jedi Starfighter

    Wow, that's impressive! I really like what you've done with the cockpit, and the landing legs look like sheer genius. Hope you already own one... the R2D2 dome, and even the entire poly bag, is becoming quite expensive now.
  3. I grant you that! It's just that I always keep sets as sets, all neatly packaged and sometimes stored by bag number. I don't have many other bricks available to hand, so I rely on LDD and the like to make my designs, then I order the parts. Actually, if it was just for me I probably wouldn't care so much. Unfortunately, the models I'm designing at the moment have attracted interest from work colleagues... in fact, I'm aware of at least one instance where one of my MOC's even got ordered as a kid's birthday present. So I find myself trying to think and work like an actual Lego designer, following the same guidelines and rules they have to... it makes things very difficult for me...
  4. Lego Bricks & Pieces?

    Yep, I've used Bricks & Pieces (B&P). It has a much broader parts selection than the Pick-A-Brick (PAB), though curiously B&P and PAB can have the same element at different prices. Very occasionally it pays to shop around between the two. Basically all licensed parts are permanently out of stock. I think Lego did this to stop scalpers who were abusing the system - I think I heard something about Harry Potter figures (so, early 2000s) being bought in the hundreds from B&P for about £1.50 a figure, then being resold online for £15. Licensed parts are listed, but only available if you're requesting a replacement for a missing or broken brick, in which case you have to prove you own the set by quoting a code on the instruction book. That said, sometimes licensed parts get overlooked and are available for a short time through B&P. For example, I picked up the Portal 2 Chell figure, and the black panther animal through B&P. There's a thread that keeps track of the available parts: Lego bricks are identified by two numbers. "Element" uniquely identifies brick shape and colour. "Design number" identifies the shape. So a search for "76382" brings up a list of 815 mini-figure torsos (many of which are out of stock). Unfortunately each head has it's own design code, so you seem to be stuck searching for the sets one by one. Hope this helps!
  5. Saturn V Rocket Astronaut Signed

    Wow, that is awesome! Your Lego set is now definitely something to treasure!!! (BTW, your link goes to a sign-in page so I can't see whatever to was that was there)
  6. Actually I build the other way round... I do everything in LDD, and then when I'm reasonably certain it will hold together I order the bricks to try in real life! LDD is usually pretty good at catching errors, but I have seen some funny "illegal builds" that it allows. My favourite is if you surround a 4070 1x1 angular brick with regular 1x1 bricks... the side-stud collides with a brick so you could never do this in real life. Thanks for the links. I couldn't find the 75937 and 15712 "error" referred to, but I've been wondering if this is actually a property of the Lego bricks. I did try a few tests with real bricks, but the hinges move so easily and the gap is so small that I couldn't really see it. Real life seems to let this work ok, but I'm not sure if it works because of the tolerances in Lego bricks or because it's putting a strain on the pieces (which might do long term damage, something I'm keen to avoid).
  7. Sorry to necro post my own thread, but I have another connection question - oddly enough on the same MOC (yes, I am that slow a designer....) If you place a bar/clip hinge at 90 degrees, it looks like everything stays "in system" and LDD allows you to connect the orange 1x4 plate to a 99206 2x2x2/3 snot plate. However, it turns out that the the light grey 1x2 hinge part is actually a fraction too high up, and set a fraction too far back. It's a paper-thin shift, but you can see it below when you look at the dark red 1x4 plate, m which is connected to 99206 and the others are added in after. LDD says this is ok, and it seems to work in real life. But is this really a legitimate connection? Would I risk cracking the hinges over time? LXF file of the bricks: https://bricksafe.com/files/NathanR/techniques/90-degree-bar/90 dgree bar.lxf
  8. I’ve been experimenting with 75937 “parabolic rings”, or “plate 2x2 with bar frame octagonal”, as bricklink describes it. I’m struggling to understand how it can connect to other elements, so I was curious - what connections are legitimate, and how do you use this part in your own MOCs? From what I can see, in official lego sets the parabolic ring is typically restricted to detailing like on the rathtars in 75180 Rather Escape, or the base for legs of Destroyer Droids: However, the ring can also be used as a structural element for brick built cylinders. You can connect 61252 plate 1x1 with clip horizontal and the studs will line up perfectly (left) and you can extend the assembly with bricks and remain “in system”: Changing the clip to 15712 tile 1x1 with vertical clip, it turns out the parabolic ring is 9 plates high, or 11 with two clips attached (left). Curiously, mecabricks says this is impossible, but it appears to work in real life. It turns out that in LDD and real life, the 1x1 tile part of 15712 has a slightly lower height than a standard 1x1 tile - why?? To keep this kind of attachment "in system"? It is certainly a useful feature, because if you add an extra two plates top and bottom, the entire assembly exactly matches a 6x6 plate (right). At least, it does in LDD (unable to test in real life and I'm not sure what CAD programs to trust any more). The two clip types are also equivalent. 15712 + two 1x1 plates matches the height of the 61252 (Left). The gap between them appears to be two and a half plates (?), but I’m not sure. The cylinder with the tile clips can be extended with bricks, but the plate across the top must be an odd length of studs. I assume this is like with technic triangles, where you count the gaps, not the studs, from mid-point to mid-point (right). So in this case it's a half plate from each of the parabolic rings, + 9 plates = 10 plates = 4 gaps: Now this where things get a bit crazy for me. If I build using the 15712 vertical clip, the whole assembly goes “out of system”. Zooming in between the 1x1 brick and the black tile, you can see a hairline gap - quarter, maybe eighth plate thick? What causes this gap? As a result, the separation between the two rings is slightly less than 6 plates, resulting in a collision at the halfway point: I’m not sure if this counts as being within lego tolerances. But how would you go about getting this kind of assembly back "in system". Is it even possible to close this gap? Does this even matter in real life? An answer is kind of important to me because I've been using it as a key component in a particle physics detector MOC that's taken me some months... I was just about to order parts when I discovered this "flaw", and I'm not sure how disastrous it is: Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these geometry issues. And do you have any other ways of building with parabolic ring? Are there any other interesting features of this piece that I've missed?
  9. LEGO Star Wars 2017 Pictures and Rumors

    Now this is why I don't collect the brickheadz. They look fun but there is no way I will ever be able to get all of them...
  10. 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V (LEGO Ideas)

    Ah, I know the bits you mean, I think they are called the engine fairings (but I might be wrong). I've not had any problems with them on my model, but I grant that;'s a weak spot of the design. Still, it's a pretty ingenious solution given the inability to create new parts.
  11. Ctrl+K (or Cmd+K for Mac) will save a screenshot as a png, which defaults to a transparent background. When you then use another program to convert the png to a jpg or other file with no support for transparency, the background usually defaults to white. Any photo editor should be able to select the transparent background layer, you do a flood fill of any colour you want, then save it as a jpg.
  12. 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V (LEGO Ideas)

    Really? For me this is about as close as you can get to a flawless lego set - what new parts would you have liked?
  13. [MOC] Apollo Launch Tower (WIP)

    Thanks for the suggestions! The base needs to be very strong, since it has to support the entire weight of the rocket and the launch tower. I'm very familiar with the UCS falcon, but the Sydney Opera House was incredible. I'm really regretting not buying that one while it was in the shops, it was an amazing build. Trying to figure out the interior structure will have to wait a little bit though. After testing different arrangements of plates for the very base of the MLP, it seems I can really simplify the internal wall structure by nudging the exhaust vent one stud away from the tower. However, this breaks the accuracy of the model. I found a French website with loads of technical drawings, and at the moment the ten stud gap between exhaust vent and the wall on the right (in the photo above) puts the centre of the rocket exactly where the blueprints say it should go. Of course, I may have to move everything over to accommodate the Launch Tower foundations. Decisions, decisions... Over the last week I've been getting in a mess with the base of the launch tower, since no individual side is flat: The four supports all taper inwards. I did consider trying to build some "Pythagorean Quadruples". These are like the triples (e.g. the 3,4,5 triangle has sides which are all whole numbers), but work in 3D with a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = d^2. An example is a 1,2,2,5... diagonal, I guess? But I think these would be too fragile in Lego, at least In don't see a way to anchor them securely and provide enough support for the rest of the tower. So, I am back to the pythagorean triples, trying to come up with suitable triangles that will work in Lego bricks: There's a lot of scaffolding, a lot of trial and error, a lot of angles that almost but don't quite work. It's possible I've miscalculated the height at which each platform must be placed (which complicates things) but I'm also trying to look at triangles that are possible when (say) a stacked wall of technic bricks have one or two plates in there as well. I don't suppose anyone knows of any guides detailing possible lego triangles?
  14. Wow, that's harsh! I'm not exactly a "skilled builder" but I appreciate the simplicity of searching or browsing bricks in LDD, the part snapping features, and the simple/clean interface. Sure LDD has it's flaws - new parts are added rarely, many bionicle-type parts are missing, and the flex-parts seldom ever work for me. Building technic models is the only really difficult part, but once you learn how to rotate gears so they can align, it becomes fairly straightforward. LDD is useless at creating instructions, and always has been. But then there is the likes of Blueprint which can handle that. I confess I m not familiar with LDCad, but mostly because I'm a Mac user. The only Lego-building software available for the Mac is LDD and Bricksmith, which has seen fewer updates than LDD in recent years and I find incredibly tedious and frustrating to work with. The mecabricks website is also good, but I struggle a little without the part-snapping. So LDD is the gold standard for me, and will likely remain so for many years to come. Oh, and a small aside - I did once try writing my own cad editor for macOS. I learned a lot about SceneKit, Swift and ObjectiveC, but the stumbling block for me was actually parsing the LDraw file format. It's... archaic, really, and requires very low level manipulation of the geometry data, such as manual calculation of the normal vectors. It would take a genius to figure this out, and I imagine that's why there are so few Lego cad programs around.
  15. What brick is this?

    Bricklink is a fantastic resource when it comes to mould variations. That brick has part ID 50373, but the older variant (without the stud notches) is part 2399: https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=2399#T=C There's a fair few old sets which featured it. If you're missing an instruction book, then you can often download them for free from Lego customer service, or somewhere like lego.brickinstructions.com Which set are you trying to build?