Use a fry bagger to sort LEGO parts?

Use a fry bagger to put LEGO parts into Ziploc bags!
What a great idea! I saw this today on Facebook, posted by Soyary Sunthorn‎ in the AFOLs of FaceBook group. He got a fry bagger – a tool used in fast food restaurants to put french fries into the bags or other containers they are served in.

Since my storage system is primarily built around plastic bins filled with Ziploc bags, this should be a huge help when sorting and putting away bulk parts. I’m pretty sure this is the fry bagger in the photo, if you want to get one: New Star 37814 Polycarbonate Commercial French Fry Bagger, Right Handle I am planning to order one of these myself…

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The Unofficial LEGO Advanced Building Techniques Guide

Didier Enjary of FreeLUG (French LEGO users group) has compiled a great guide to advanced LEGO construction techniques. It explains in great detail the geometry of LEGO bricks, and how to fit them together to achieve some great effects. The focus is mainly on SNOT (Studs Not On Top) construction, and how to achieve various offsets of fractional brick widths. There are some very inspiring ideas which can improve anyone’s LEGO skills.

You can access the document (it’s a PDF file to be downloaded) on the FreeLUG site and/or read the thread on LUGNET.[tags]lego,snot,lugnet,freelug[/tags]

Scissor Lift in Technic?

Have you ever tried building a scissor lift in [tag]LEGO[/tag]? I’m working on a project that calls for that kind of mechanism to lift it up, like those food service trucks at the airport. It is based on an “X” shaped arrangement, which, like the two parts of a scissors pivot at the middle. By bringing together the two bottom (or top) ends, the top is lifted into the air.

The approach I took was to use [tag]Technic[/tag] worm [tag]gears[/tag] (like a screw) with a rack gear on it. By turning the worm gears the rack gear should move along its length, which moves the two bottom ends together, elevating the top. The problem is that LEGO gears just aren’t up to the load this places on them, and the teeth skip. I motorized it, gearing down the motor to get more torque, but the gears would rather skip than lift the weight.

Has anyone out there successfully built this kind of [tag]scissor lift[/tag] mechanism in LEGO to lift a nontrivial weight? If so please comment below or email me any tips you may have. Thanks!

P.S.: Sorry for the gap in posts – I’ve been sick with a bad cold for a week or so…

Keeping Bricks Together

I recently got an email from someone out of the blue who said that her son was having trouble with his [tag]LEGO[/tag] models falling apart, and asking about using glue. This entry is based on my reply to her, since I figured that others might have the same concern…

LEGO brand models don’t usually have that problem, but the other brands like Mega Blox often do. Of course since they are only held together by friction it is possible for them to fall apart. When that happens there are two choices: put them back together, or take them completely apart and build something else.

Some people view LEGO as just a model you can build from the instructions. But it can be so much more than that. Ever since I was your son’s age, I have always taken the attitude that LEGO’s instructions are a good way to get started, and that you can learn good techniques from them, but the true power of LEGO comes when you design your own things.

Now a seven-year-old can’t be expected to build the kinds of sophisticated models that adults make, but there’s a lot he can do if he’s encouraged to invent his own spacecraft, houses, animals, or whatever. So rather than thinking of a broken LEGO model as a source of frustration, try to think of it as an opportunity to create
something new and different!

But if you really want to glue them, there are certain types of glue that work better than others. I’ve never done it (in fact, most LEGO fans that I know would never glue, paint, or cut their bricks), but another adult LEGO sculptor I know has: Eric Harshbarger. According to his FAQ he uses “Oatey, All Purpose” glue. If you try it, be sure to use good ventilation!!!