I know it was posted a while ago but I wanted to blog about this mainly so I could find it easily to copy some of these ideas shamelessly… Last August Janey “Red Brick” blogged about these amazing minifig-scaled furniture ideas which is really just a bunch of Brickshelf links to some amazing stuff.

Speaking of furniture, that’s part of the problem why I haven’t built anything in a while. The room where my LEGO collection is kept is unusable because it’s been co-opted as storage for all the clutter around the house. I need to do a purge and/or run to the storage locker so I can dig my LEGO out and get building again….[tags]lego,blog,janey,redbrick,furniture,brickshelf[/tags]

Track Layout Geometry

Three years ago (on November 21, 2003) I wrote a page on my old site about
Track Layout Geometry showing some of the interesting things you can do with LEGO train track, for example, this method for running track on the 22.5° diagonal:


I was browsing my favorite blogs today and noticed that the page got mentioned on Mike Walsh’s blog (link removed, as his site has apparently been compromised). That prompted me to take another look at it, and I decided it really would be better to put it here on the Brickpile site. So I moved that page to this site, and changed the page on the old site to redirect to it with a 5-second delay using JavaScript. Thanks for the link Mike (and sorry for changing it out from under you)!

Brothers Brick: “Have the Internet and Blogging Improved LEGO Creativity?”

Via The Brothers Brick:

“Alan Lopuszynski over at Burbanked linked to Linus’ recent post about robbed’s Terminator head and asks an interesting question I’d like to put in front of TBB readers:

Impressive? Absolutely. Yet it begs the question: were people this creative before the Internet offered an outlet with which to showcase their efforts? Because in our youth, we were lucky to construct a rocket car out of Legos that actually looked like it was capable of rolling down the upstairs hallway. We have to wonder, had we the benefit of the self-affirming effects of a blog and complimentary comments from people all over the world, whether things might have turned out quite differently in life.

So, dear readers, what do you think?”

My response:

I awoke from my last (in the sense of most recent, and hopefully in the sense of ultimate) Dark Age when my brother in law pointed me to Eric Harshbarger’s site, when it was featured on Slashdot for the Lego Desk. I looked at his works and thought “I could do that” and went out and bought a bunch of 3033 tubs (RIP) and built my Pokemon sculptures. I then found LUGNET and my local LUG and haven’t looked back since.

The thing that’s kept me from having another Dark Age is the interaction with other AFOL’s. Whether it be a LUG meeting, train show, or just posting pictures online, the fact that I’m not all on my own has made it possible to maintain momentum. And that wouldn’t happen without the Internet.

As for blogs though, I think the jury’s still out. I don’t think there’s enough of us blogging to really have an effect yet. I think that LUGNET (though not nearly as much as in the past),, sites, etc. have more impact than blogs at the moment.

So the question I would add is, will LEGO blogs take over from bulletin boards as the venue for the LEGO discussion? I think they already have in a few small areas, such as vignettes, but overall it remains to be seen. What do you think?

Dragostea din Tei in LEGO??

The song “Dragostea din Tei” by the Moldovan band O-Zone, more widely known as “the Numa Numa song,” is probably the most widely recognized song in the Romanian language ever written. And now it has finally been done in LEGO! Do you remember Gary Brolsma’s famous “Numa Numa Dance” video? This LEGO animation is a remake of that dance using a LEGO minifig. The minifig’s mouth has been animated and the arms move in ways that LEGO just can’t do, unless you rip them off at the shoulders!! Muahahahahaha!!!! (sorry, lost control there for a moment). Anyway, here’s the video (Update 12/23/2008: The original video has been removed from YouTube, but I found another copy and have replaced the embedded video here):

The original Gary Brolsma version, to refresh your memory (or if you’ve been living under a rock somewhere and never saw it):

For more about the song, check out the Wikipedia entries for “Dragostea din Tei” and “Numa Numa.” And for more about Gary Brolsma, check out his fan site or his latest work, NewNuma.

Via The Brothers Brick.

BrickBrick: LEGO Bloggers Code

What are good ethical guidelines for blogging about LEGO? Sean Mykael over on BrickBrick has posted a proposal for a LEGO Bloggers Code to answer that question.

I read it and think I agree with the proposed guidelines. I would like to think that I’ve already been following those guidelines but if I’ve had any lapses, please point it out to me. LEGO hobbyists, like any other kind of artist, deserve to be credited for their creations. And bloggers deserve credit for finding them. So let’s all try to bear these rules in mind as we post about LEGO in our blogs…

I learned about this via The Brothers Brick (formerly DuneChaser’s BlockLog)[tags]lego,blogging,blogs,lego blogging[/tags]

Clever new SNOT technique

As I wrote recently, Unique Brick Tecniques is a great blog for discovering some of the clever ideas people have posted about.

The obvious way to connect two LEGO pieces is by putting the studs of one into the underside of another. But there are other ways. For example you can use a right-angle bracket to connect bricks at a 90 degree angle. For example, the headlights or taillights on most LEGO cars and trucks are often attached this way. In the AFOL (Adult Friends of LEGO) community, the term for this is SNOT (“Studs Not On Top”).

But the trouble with most SNOT techniques is that the bracket pieces take up bulk that sometimes you can ill afford in your model. One of the techniques featured on Unique Brick Techniques a few weeks ago is a very compact way to make a 180 degree connection between two plates. It seems to have been discovered by Brickshelf user “kerouac” (whose full identity I have not been able to find). Read more about it in the threads on and LUGNET.

It all starts with LEGO

When I was a little kid my great passion was building things (usually spacecraft) out of LEGO. When I was 10 I learned about computer programming thanks to the Commodore PET computers at my school. I really think that the mental process is much the same, and that my experience with LEGO led directly to my ability to pick up computer programming skills.

The basic idea is that with LEGO bricks, they fit together to build some kind of creation. And they can only fit together in certain ways and not in others. For example you can’t fit two bricks together stud-to-stud, or bottom-to-bottom (at least, not without other pieces to hold them in that position). Similarly, there are syntax rules with software that limit the ways you can put statements and expressions together. And just as you can create a given shape using a wide number of possible arrangements of various LEGO bricks, you can implement a particular software feature using any number of different combinations of statements and expressions. So if a LEGO creation is like a software program, a LEGO element is like a variable or an operator.

For years when I have talked to parents at train shows and BayLUG meetings, I have been telling them that all the years I spent building LEGO etched certain pathways into my brain which prepared me for computer programming, and that’s a reason they should encourage their kids to do LEGO. And I think the fact that we’re based in Silicon Valley is not the only reason that many of our BayLUG members come from software, engineering, or other technical backgrounds.

Today, I came across a link to an interesting article by one of the foundes of Macromedia Flash on Jake McKee’s blog. His story is basically identical to mine through his childhood years – except that he got into Apple ][ and Mac computers and I was a Commodore guy.