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#2398 BEGINNER SERIES - LESSON 1: Terminology

Today we’re excited to announce our latest project: a back to basics series featuring Professor Tipsen Bricks! Use this series as a resource if you are new to building, or if you want a refresh of your skills and knowledge! We’ve got a whole slew of topics planned, so stay tuned for future Beginner Series posts!

The following is a speech bubble from a minifigure. “Hi, I’m Professor Tipsen Bricks! Today we commence our Beginner Series, where we break down the basics of LEGO building.”   Use this series as a resource if you are new to building, or if you want to refresh your skills and knowledge!

Terminology: Bricks & Plates. Plates are thinner than bricks. Bricks and plates can also be round or wedge-shaped. Bricks and plates come in a variety of lengths, most of which are an even numbered length (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16). But a few come in odd numbers. Remember the magic rule: 3 plates = the height of 1 brick!

Terminology: Studs & Anti-studes. The bumps on a brick are called a stud. The empty underside of a brick is called an  “anti-stud.”  Many element names are based on the number of studs. We call this a 2x4 brick. When building a wall, overlap the seams for stability. It also helps to overlap with at least two studs for strong connections.   Element Types: Tiles. A smooth plate that has no studs is called a tile. These are also great for using with stickers.

Terminology: SNOTS. SNOT stands for Studs Not On Top (SNOT)  because they have a stud on the side. It’s a great way to change the direction that you’re building! There are SNOT bricks and SNOT brackets. This unique SNOT element (part 4070) is nicknamed a headlight brick or Erling brick after its creator. Lesson 5 will be all about SNOT bricks, so stay tuned!

Terminology: Jumpers. Jumpers look like smooth tiles, but with a few limited studs. Using jumpers allows a section to come apart easily. Jumpers help us skip between studs. They are also great for  helping turn a minifigure at an angle! For example, cats can only turn 90°, but on jumpers they have 360° movement.

Terminology: Hinges & Ball Joints. Ball joints are great to use for the arms of characters because they maintain their shape and position. Ball joints come in a few sizes.   Hinges are great for building at vertical and horizontal angles! And don’t forget about click hinges!

Terminology: Clips & Bars. This small round shape is called a bar. It can be connected to any LEGO clip and even fits inside any LEGO stud with a hole! There are a large variety of clips. Bars can have other things attached, like cones, studs, plates, etc! Bars and clips can function as hinges and bars fit into any stud hole!

Terminology: Technic. Technic parts can look weird because most rely on pins or axles for connections instead of studs. But there are still lots of crossover parts! Axles are a key part of Technic building.  Axle length is based on the number of studs, represented by the letter L. We show a few different types of technic parts, including axles, gears, lift arms, beams, pins, axle connectors, pin connectors, axle bricks, and technic bricks!

Terminology: Acronyms. AFOL = Adult Fan of LEGO. There are also TFOLs: Teen Fans of LEGO. MOC = My Own Creation. A LEGO build not made from a set. WIP = Work in Progress. A build that isn’t quite complete. PAB = Pick a Brick. Place to get parts from the LEGO store or online. NPU = Nice Parts Usage. Using a part in a new or unexpected way. BURP = Big Ugly Rock Piece. Nickname for this large rock part. MILS = Modular Integrated Landscaping System. A standard way to make sturdy baseplates. LAN = LEGO Ambassador Network. LEGO’s outreach and affiliate program. LUG = LEGO User Group. A club made of fellow AFOLs, often connected with LAN. And of course, who can forget our favorite acronym: SNOT! Stay tuned for Lesson 2: Sourcing & Organizing LEGO bricks!


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