LEGO Block Building Software

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When I was a kid, I would get into trouble all the time for trying to build with my LEGO blocks when I was supposed to be sleeping. To this day, I have a box of LEGO blocks, and I still build things with them. Well, you can also do some LEGO construction using your computer!

The official LEGO computer program is called Digital Design. There are currently 763 different LEGO bricks to choose from. Using these, you can design your own projects, then order the pieces you used if you wish to build it at home for real. You can choose from partially built models, or a blank slate to create the design of your dream. There is no obligation to actually order LEGO bricks, so let your imagination wander!

There are a couple of good open-source applications which are LEGO-like, but not endorsed by the company itself. The first one of these is called LDraw. LDraw is an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes. You can use it to document models you have physically built, create building instructions just like LEGO, render 3D photo realistic images of your virtual models and even make animations. The possibilities are endless. Unlike real LEGO bricks where you are limited by the number of parts and colors, in LDraw nothing is impossible.

Second, we have BlockCad for Windows. BlockCAD is a freeware program for building virtual models with Lego-like bricks. You can save your models, or save pictures of them (.bmp, .jpg), even reuse a complete model as a part in another model. Everything can be controlled with the mouse, but it’s also possible to use the keyboard for most of the commands, making ‘routine building’ more effective, and there is a minimum of text involved, to make it easier for kids.

Last but not least, there is the BrickSmith offering for OS X. Bricksmith allows you to create virtual instructions for your Lego creations on your Mac. The magic is based on the LDraw library, a collection of 3D models of Lego building blocks created by enthusiasts from around the world. With Bricksmith, you never have to worry about running out of parts!

So, do you still play with LEGO’s? What do you like to build? Have you used any of these programs… or will you try one out after reading this? Let me know!

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28 thoughts on “LEGO Block Building Software”

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  3. In college, I had a cool professor who let us build lego robots with the Lego Mindstorms kit. The only thing I disliked about it was that there weren’t really enough legos to go around.

  4. I’m a fan of “real” legos. I don’t like the simple ones or the branded ones (e.g. Harry Potter, ugh!) They don’t leave much to the imagination of a true engineer.

  5. Ever been to the Lego World at Disney World in Orlando FL? They have a big dragon at the top of the bay in Downtown Disney and is made of over 100,000 Lego pieces!

  6. Thanks for the tip. I’m building LEGO robots at work and posting the designs online. I was just going to take pictures of my creation, post the pictures, and hope people can “reverse engineer” or duplicate my creation just by looking at the picture. This will make my job a lot easier to allow others to duplicate my creations. YAY! I’m really happy. Thanks a ton.

  7. last time i used the LEGO software they didn’t have all the small technical pieces. hopefully they’ve expanded their brick library. modern LEGO sucks because they use too many unique pieces for models. it’s kinda cheating i think.

  8. oh man, i used to have a chest full of lego, and i had a lego city next to my window when i was in elementary school. it’s the ultimate “construction” toy. i also had a box of Knex. that wasn’t really as fun. it was the electronic gears and motors that made it really fun, making remote controlled tanks that shoot projectiles, boats, trains, and race cars (that can’t turn)

  9. analternative is to play a sandbox game. same concept where u build anything from your imagination but the best sandbox game/mod is Garry’s mod (comunity calls it Gmod ) it uses the physics engine from half life 2 w/e and alows u to use all the items and props from all your source games. in my collection i have the entire hl2 plus cs:s items. more info go to garrysmod dot com.

  10. I remember legoDacta. My first project was a set of traffic lights. There was an cross-roads, and you could set the interval between each light changing! Brilliant at the time, bit lame once you’ve grown up!

  11. Okay cool program for peopel wight legos but is there something like for knex? bechaus im searching me dead for a good program thats working and not chrashing wight 3D movement our not just something to build wight for Knex

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