For a person coming into the LEGO hobby today, chances are they are probably coming into it due to an IP or specific item that caught their attention. Reading posts in various groups, I see an increasing number of posts asking how one goes from building a set with instructions to building their own design. This is a bigger leap today than it was when I got started in the hobby. It can be a daunting challenge as to where or how to start. Going from the LEGO Black Panther Jet to building your own design can be quite rewarding, but how to start?
Looking back at my journey with the hobby, much has changed. When I started in the hobby in the 90’s, there were alternative builds showcased on the boxes. There was more focus on the building system rather then the IPs. The parts library was also much smaller. Going to the front page of Bricklink, it shows at the time of this writing that there are 54,854 parts listed in the catalog. Comparing sample years, in 1995 there is 442 items identified in the parts catalog verses 2018 has 3040 items identified.
Taking these numbers into account, when you consider the number of possible combinations of two 2x4 bricks is 24 different ways. Three 2x4 bricks can be combined in 1,060 ways. Six 2x4 bricks can be combined in more than 915 million possible combinations. The possibilities are truly mind-boggling when you consider all the possible combinations of all the parts in the catalog.
With all this, it is not intended to scare anyone away from trying to create their designs. One of the most common recommendations offered is to jump in and try. This doesn’t really answer the question as to how does one start. The following is not intended to be “The” answer, but rather one of many possibilities that may or may not work for the reader.LEGO is a construction toy, with a building system at its core. With that in mind, it is important to spend time to learn the system. There are many approaches on how to do this and again, I will focus on one method.
Take any three parts and try to put them together. It doesn’t matter what three parts you choose, just choose any three. For example, I chose: a 1x1 Cylinder, 1x2 Plate and a 2x2 Plate
Studying the images located below, you can see that for some of the examples I have repeated a part. The idea is to start with three LEGO Elements and see how they can connect and what shapes you can create with them.
Why not give it a try yourself and see how fun it can be to experiment with various ways of connecting LEGO Bricks together. Cheers from the Construct-a-Venture Crew!
Editor’s note: Many thanks to Megan Rothrock and Jim Foulds for this guest post