Tag Archives: lego

Would You Like to Build the LEGO Death Star with Me?

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I am addicted to LEGO. I have been since I was a kid. I’m also addicted to Star Wars! So, it was a no-brainer that I would rush to buy myself the LEGO Death Star. (LEGO has it on sale right now for $199.99!) However, this thing is just huge, with a bazillion pieces. BrickCon is beginning on October 1st. That’s not very far away. I want to get this built before then. Do you want to help me? There’s no way I could get it ready in time on my own.

If you’re an actual friend of mine, check out my Yahoo Event page. I’m not going to allow just anyone into my home, so make sure you’re someone I actually know. No offense to anyone, but realize that I have to protect my safety, my home and my family.

I’m building the LEGO Death Star. While you’re free to RSVP or watch this event, I will only be inviting a handful of people over to my home to build it with me. The hope is to have ‘er done possibly in time to show it off at Brickcon at the end of the week.

If you’d like to help build this in person with the rest of us, sign up here. I will select and contact the participants manually, so don’t ask. 🙂

Chances are, I’ll only select locals – because I’m not going to house anybody. It would be helpful if you threw into the kitty for food and beverage throughout the building process, which may go on 24/7 until complete.

So if you qualify, and will be in the area… let me know if you want to hang out and help build the Death Star!


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Do All Geeks Love LEGO?

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Mona is a regular contributor on FriendFeed, and is quickly racking up posts on our new Geeks site, as well. Spudster is also an active member of the Geeks community… and is an avid LEGO BrickFilmer. Imagine Mona’s surprise when he created a BrickFilm just for her.

We like our bacon extra crispy, Mona!


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Are You Also Addicted to LEGO?

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Yep, this is a LEGO Star Destroyer space craft I just finished building. Isn’t it just gorgeous? Datalore gave me this kit as a gift when he visited the US recently for the Gnomedex conference. I was super excited, because I would likely never have bought it for myself. I’ve never even truly had a LEGO kit before. I had some LEGO blocks, sure. But I was such a deprived child. I had a Star Destroyer, but it wasn’t something I built myself.

Build the most awesome ship in the Star Wars universe! The Imperial Star Destroyer is the massively huge, incredibly powerful heart of the Emperor’s fleet. Manned by the top crew in the Imperial Navy, the Star Destroyer was heavily armored and bristling with turbolasers and tractor beam projectors. One Star Destroyer alone was enough to strike fear into an entire star system!

Now you can add the Imperial Navy’s best-known and most powerful ship to your LEGO Star Wars collection! Measuring an impressive 37” by 23”, this model dwarfs any LEGO Star Wars ship ever produced. This beautifully designed and one-of-a-kind collector’s item comes with a special display stand and collectors card. Also includes an exclusive Rebel Blockade Runner Mini-Model, so you can recreate the opening scenes of Star Wars IV: A New Hope!

So I’ve had the kit for about two weeks now, and it was just sitting in my office. I’ve been busy, you know! I was feeling stressed out last night, so I grabbed the box and started building. I worked for hours, until I couldn’t see straight anymore. I slept for awhile… then I was up and at it again. Building this was addictive to me, and almost an obsession to finish it.

I’m very happy with what I created. It’s insanely cool. I didn’t have LEGO Star Wars growing up, because they didn’t even have them. You’re never too old for LEGO bricks, nor too old for Star Wars. Not only did I have fun doing this, it was also a great stress reliever. I think I’ll end up putting it up on top of my hutch, with the back facing out. I mean, really. Isn’t that just a gorgeous rear end on this ship?!

The other reason I bring this up, is that building LEGO kits can honestly be a bonding experience. It’s something good for a parent to do with a child, or even a grandparent with a grandchild. The sense of accomplishment I have right now is just huge. That is something you can share with a child, once you’ve had a great time building it. Spending the time working on a craft project like this can also pave the way to opening conversations you might not otherwise have had.

Why grow up? You’re never too old to indulge your inner child and play.


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Do You Enjoy Brickfilm?

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One of our long-time community members, LegoShark, recently participated in a Brickfilming contest. The goal of this contest was to make a brickfilm, going through the entire process from start to finish, in a week or less. The B.R.A.W.L. (Brickfilm Rapidly All Week Long) contest ended on August 9th. Judging of the entries will begin on about August 17th.

The theme of this contest is “Negotiation”. You may interpret the theme any way you want. Your film could be as complex as a crime film about a hostage avoiding death, or it could be as simple as a young child arguing about a punishment with his parents. Any story goes, as long as it fits in with the theme. How well your story relates to the theme will play a part in how the judges score your film in the Story category.

For this contest, there are two mod elements, a color mod and a letter mod. You do not have to use both of them. Just make sure that at least one of them is present in every shot of your film. Camera movements (such as pans and zooms) count as part of a shot, as long as the camera angle of the shot does not change. So if you decide to have a camera movement in your film, the mod element must be clearly visible during at least part of the movement. During a shot, if something temporarily blocks the mod element, you will not be disqualified, as long as the mod element is seen in it’s entirety at least once in the shot. You can use any combination of the mod elements, as long as one is noticeable and visible in every shot.

Rules of the contest were:

  • Your film must be primarily filmed using stop motion animation. Live action footage, or other forms of animation, such as CGI animation, may be used to supplement your film, but they must not be the main focus.
  • The film should be made using LEGO or similar construction toys.
  • There must a minimum of 1 minute of animation in your film (excluding titles or credits). There is no maximum amount.
  • Joint entries are allowed, as well as multiple entries.
  • Copyrighted material is allowed, but you must credit the person/group/organization that made it.

I was happy to provide my help to LegoShark, and I hope he wins! We’ll update this post after the judging is complete, to let everyone know how LegoShark did.

Mac vs PC: LEGO Brickfilming

“LegoShark” contacted me last night to ask me what I thought about his hobby:

Hey, I’m an amature Stop- motion animator. I have been looking in your chat for about a month now. I use a medium of stop-motion known as “brickfilming.” This is stop-motion animation with LEGO. I noticed you had some LEGO fan pics of your office in your Fickr stream, so i thought i might a well bring this up. I was wondering if you could possibly spread the word a little bit about brickfilming. it’s a very fun hobby, and takes skill and patience. all you need is a decent camera, some LEGO, and patience. the “official” site for brickfilming can be found at brickfilms.com, but the community is more based at ilovebrickfilming.com. There was a change in administration and a bunch of stuff I don’t want or need to get in to that made people switch to ilovbrickfilming.com.

I personally work a 15 FPS (frames per second) which, as you may know, means that i take 15 frames to get a send of animation. it is very tedious. My equipment consists of a new 24″ iMac, a canon HV20, a macbook, a desk lamp and a Bowens TriLite, and a ton of LEGO. I am currently using FInal Cut express on my Macbook for editing, but now that i have the iMac (which i opened literally a few hours ago :)) I will be upgrading to FC pro and all of those other Pro editing Apps Apple has. I use iStopmotion for frame capture.

Indeed, some of my Net friends have done their best to re-create the Chris Pirillo home office experience in LEGO – and they’ve done quite a good job at it. I asked “LegoShark” if he could brickfilm the famous Call for Help bloopers for me… let’s see just how passionate he is. 🙂 The one I’m embedding here had me in stitches:

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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