LEGOs have been a wildly popular toy since they were first introduced to the market in 1949. For some however, LEGOs are more than a toy. Several people have taken their LEGO building hobby into adulthood. It is such a popular pastime that there are many websites, including an entire Wikipedia-segment and many PowerPoints online, dedicated to these little building blocks. Brickshelf, Peeron and LDraw are three popular LEGO websites. Below are some of the key basics of Brickshelf, Peeron and LDraw. If you are a LEGO enthusiast, you may want to take note on the features of these websites.
Brickshelf is a LEGO fan site that was developed in 2000 as a way for users to view and share their LEGO creations. The site was especially popular for its instructions archive. Users could create and scan step-by-step guides on how to create a particular LEGO item. However, these instruction scans have since been moved to a different digitalization site. Today, Brickshelf is strictly an image-hosting website. There, users can find millions of image files for unique and innovative LEGO creations. You can search for specific designs, or simply browse the site’s featured LEGO creations. Everything from cars to ships to Renaissance sculpture replicas can be found on Brickshelf. If you are a LEGO fan, Brickshelf may be an excellent place for you to share your creations.
Unfortunately, many users have experienced difficulties with Brickshelf. Brickshelf inspiration is an beautiful thing … when you can actually access it. The Brickshelf website seems to be a constant source of woe for users,especially for those who posted to the site and then used their clean up Mac software to delete copies of their project images. It appears that the website has not been maintained in a very long time. In fact, the Brickshelf website is down as we type this post. This has been a source of frustration for many Brickshelf users. You may want to consider one of the other websites mentioned below.
MLCAD is another technology solution used to design LEGO projects. MLCAD, short for Mike’s LEGO Computer Aided Design, is a virtual modeling software that allows you to design with LEGO parts. This software uses the LEGO parts library of another piece of LEGO technology, LDraw. However, it provides support for English, German, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, French, Czech and Spanish, unlike the competition. The software is available for Windows users only, unfortunately. But if you are lucky enough to have a Windows PC or Google desktop, you should definitely consider this tool to help you brainstorm the ideas you develop from Brickshelf inspiration.
Alongside Brickshelf, Peeron is another one of many technology solutions used as a major resource for LEGO users. Peeron is the site where all of Brickshelf’s old instruction scans are located. Additionally, users are constantly uploading new guides every day. Peeron features an archive of instruction guides dating as far back as 1955. Peeron was founded two years before Brickshelf, in 1998. Together, these two websites have flourished in the LEGO community. Although they are not legally affiliated with the company itself, LEGO lovers have found great joy in sharing their creations on the sites. Peeron allows you to search for specific themes, sets and parts for your LEGO collection. Additionally, Peeron contains a master list of every LEGO piece in existence. If you are ever in need of some information regarding your LEGO collection, Peeron is the website to visit.
To complete the trifecta of famous LEGO resource sites, LDraw was created in 2004. Like Brickshelf and Peeron, LDraw is a site dedicated to the LEGO franchise. However, it puts an entirely new spin on the old building blocks. With LDraw, users can create virtual LEGO models and scenes, similar to Google daydream. This site allows builders to document their work, make animations, preserve instructions and even render 3D photorealistic images of their creations. LDraw requires some download and set-up time. Once your computer is prepped however, you can take LEGOs to a virtual level. Unlike Brickshelf and Peeron, LDraw is more interactive between the LEGO community. LDraw features a forums section where LEGO players can discuss strategy, design and much more. If you are a LEGO enthusiast interested in utilizing new technology for an old pastime, LDraw is the perfect website for you.
LEGO Mindstorms Inventor’s Guide
The Unofficial LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Inventor’s Guide by David J. Perdue is an excellent resource for LEGO lovers looking to get started with the company’s famed Robotics Invention System, or RIS. This ebook is an easy to read, comprehensive guide on how to use Mindstorms NXT 2.0 to build create some incredibly high tech robots. This is much more easy to navigate than the Brickshelf file system. If you liked Mindstorms 1.0 and want to give Mindstorms 2.0 a try, use this guide to familiarize yourself with all the new parts.
The LEGO franchise has grown exponentially since its premier in 1949. From movies to theme parks to resource websites, LEGOs have inspired many over the years. If you are one of the inspired, Brickshelf, Peeron and LDraw are the perfect websites for you. Let us know in the comments below what your favorite LEGO creation is. Or, post HDR images of your best LEGO creations. We would love to see them!
Photo from http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/elex/events/2009-10-22-LW2009/MOC/MOC-city/lego-world-2009-326-moc-city.jpg