I’m a big fan of the mosaic street artist, Space Invader. I’ve visited several of his pieces in New York, and next time I’m in Paris, I plan on hunting down as many more as I can. I’d love to own an original someday, but in the meantime, I decided to recreate a small collection using one of my favorite mediums: Legos.
I was playing around with the LEGO Digital Designer app the other day, and as a quick, single-evening challenge, I decided to design and build the Adobe logo (I’m an Engineering Manager on Adobe’s Experience Design team). In order to ensure I’d be able to build it with pieces I already had, I used only the most common bricks (1×2, 2×2, 2×3, and 2×4). And, of course, it’s built for maximum rigidity.
Here’s the 3D model:
Here’s here’s how it turned out:
And finally, here’s the parts list:
Last year, I decided to design and build a Lego monitor stand. Several people have asked me about it, so I figured I would finally post not just pictures, but the LXF (Lego Digital Designer) file, as well. If you want to play around with it, all you have to do is:
- Download Lego Digital Designer (it’s free, and available for Mac and Windows).
- Download the monitor stand model file.
- Open it up and have fun.
If you actually want to order the pieces to build the stand, I would not recommend doing so through the Lego Digital Designer tool. First of all, the auto-generated building guide is worthless, and the set is very expensive to order. Instead, I would recommend something like this:
- Go to File → Export BOM.
- Open the resulting Excel file which is a manifest of all the pieces. (You can also view it on Google Docs.)
- Find the pieces in your own Lego collection, order them online, or buy them from a local Lego store. (You can also buy/sell/trade Legos online through sites like BrickLink.)
- Build the stand by sight. (It’s easy if you have the model in front of you.)
I found the massive Lego Imperial Shuttle on sale several months ago, and finally had the time to put it together this afternoon. At 2,503 pieces, it’s a sizable model with very good detail. It can be displayed in one of two ways: on its stand with its wings down, or on its landing gear with its wings folded up. In my opinion, it makes an excellent companion to the Death Star II and the Millennium Falcon.
Unlike the Millennium Falcon (which took the better part of two days to assemble — a total of about 14 hours), my friends and I were able to build the Imperial Shuttle in only about four hours. The piece count is high, but nothing about the assembly is particularly challenging.
Below is a record of our progress throughout the afternoon.
The Death Star II (10143) is definitely one of my favorite Lego kits. My friend and I put this one together last weekend in about eight hours — not bad considering how long we worked on the Millennium Falcon.
Here are the stats:
- Model #10143.
- Released in 2005 (currently discontinued).
- 3,449 pieces.
- 50cm wide and 65cm tall.
- Roughly 15 pounds.
- Eight hours of build time (two people).
Now here come the visuals:
Over the 2010/2011 holiday break, I worked on a lot of Lego models. My kids got some great sets for Christmas, and I finally had time to work on some sets that I’d been accumulating. But the 10179 Millennium Falcon was by far the biggest project we took on.
At 5,195 pieces, this is one of the biggest sets Lego has ever made, and definitely the biggest I’ve ever worked on. It took myself and two friends (and my kids, intermittently) about 14 hours over two days which I consider to be very fast for something this massive.
If you ever take something like this on, here are two important tips to make the process more efficient:
- Sort your pieces first. We spent about two hours sorting pieces into 12 different bins and about 12 Ziploc bags before we started building. Being able to find pieces quickly made a huge difference, and I’m sure cut our building time down dramatically.
- Use multiple instruction booklets. One of us used the included instruction booklet while I used a PDF version on my iPad, and another friend used a PDF on a laptop. That allowed us to work on three different parts of the ship simultaneously, then bring them all together when they were ready. (Download the Millennium Flacon 10179 instruction book here.)
And here’s how it turned out: