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#2412 BEGINNER SERIES: LESSON 3 - Best Practice

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Professor Tipsen Bricks is back again with our next beginner lesson: Best Practice when it comes to building. We’ll walk our way through illegal builds and brick separators. If you like these posts, please let us know - and tell us what else you’d like to see! And of course, stay tuned for Lesson 4…


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Hi, I ‘m Professor Tipsen Bricks! Today I will teach you the basics of BRICK SEPARATORS & ILLEGAL BUILDING TECHNIQUES. Use this series as a resource if you are new to building, or if you want to refresh your skills and knowledge! Image shows Professor Tipsen wearing a blue sweater, red tie, and holding a pen.

Best Practice - Brick Separators Separate two bricks stuck together by leveraging a separator above and below the stuck bricks. Remove a plate from above and below. Remove tiles by using the thin edge to get underneath and pop them off. Push axles out of tight spaces with the axle bump on the brick separator part. To apply LEGO stickers using a Brick Separator, see post 2045! Image shows multiple techniques and methods to use the brick separator.

Best Practice - Illegal Builds? You may see someone comment “Hey! That’s an illegal build!” What they mean is that the technique puts stress on the pieces, which could cause it to break or deform. LEGO designers try to avoid using them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use those techniques – in fact, some amazing builders (such as @BrickBending) specialize in pushing the boundaries of bricks!  As long as you’re willing to accept the risk to any damaged parts, we don’t consider any technique to be off limits! But keep reading to see what are considered “best building practices.” Image shows a green tower that twists, using a brick-bending technique.

Best Practice - Tiles + Plates Did you know? Tiles have a groove that allows clips to grab with no stress. This allows them to safely nestle between studs, minifig hands, and clips! Make sure you use the newer clip mould with rounder/thinner sides, which allows the clip sides to flex. Tiles and cheese slopes stress the underside of plates. When you wedge plates between studs causes warpage, as shown when multiple plates are used. Image shows tiles and plates wedged into a variety of clips, as well as cheese slopes wedged into plates illegally. Image shows a variety of connections involving bricks, technic bricks, headlight bricks, jumpers, and more.

Best Practice - Technic Bricks Technic and regular bricks have some differences, so follow my advice to protect your bricks: Insert More Than 1 Stud And You Might Say ”Oh Crud.” The LEGO logo on top adds the tiniest bit of height. Look closely and see how the logo lifts the headlight brick. Each of these examples show 1 stud vs 2 stud connections. This also applies to not doubling up on top and side connections. Image shows a variety of SNOT bricks, technic bricks, jumpers, and plates in a variety of connections.

Best Practice - SNOT Bricks Remember how I said Technic bricks were slightly different from regular bricks? The difference extends to  SNOT bricks as well. It’s almost imperceptible, but SNOT bricks and Technic brick holes do not line up. Because a SNOT brick and Technic brick don’t line up perfectly, inserting one can stress any plate put on top. Even if you can’t see the difference, you can feel it because the parts stick on extra tight. According to Tiago Catarino, this is why LEGO designers cannot use this technique. Don’t mix and match. Either stick with SNOT bricks or Technic bricks with stud pins. This - lining up SNOT bricks and technic bricks with a stud pin - only works because no plates are going across the front studs. Image shows SNOT bricks and technic brick comparisons.

Best Practice - SNOT Bricks Careful - this technique with 99206 only sometimes works. LEGO updated the mold to 4304 and the new part is under too much stress to work! This is a bummer for fans of this technique. We’ll be covering more about SNOT bricks in Lesson 5! The only way to tell old from new is to look at the underside tub. If it is solid (red), it’s old. If it has a slight gap (blue) it is new. This technique - putting a headlight brick to another brick - feels like it should be legal, but it surprisingly does not work. The headlight brick stud extends too far. Special shoutout to Tiago Catarino’s excellent YouTube videos that give in-depth breakdowns. Check it out!

Best Practice - SNOT Brackets Brackets are fantastic SNOT bricks, but they do have some rules. We’ll cover more in Lesson 5. These are all legal connections for SNOT brackets! These are weird, but legal connections. Notice the stud heights on the left and right are different. Sadly, this - putting the red brackets into the yellow 2 by 2 brick - doesn’t work. The brackets push against each other. Image shows a variety of bracket connections.

Best Practice - Technic Pins Technic Pins compress to slide into holes. However, the ends of pins need to be able to expand once slid through so that they aren’t under strain. Notice how this connector has a slit to allow the ends of the pin to expand. Although a pin fits inside a round brick, the ends can’t expand, so it stays under strain. Inset ridge allows pin to expand. Even a Technic pin can be inserted ”wrong.” This 3/4 pin doesn’t reach to the end, so it stays under strain. Image shows technic pins into connectors and round bricks.

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