Building Legos

How to Build a LEGO Pokemon

Open the LEGO Factory website, designbyme.lego.com/en-us/default.aspx.

Click the "Download Now" button to download the LEGO Digital Designer installation file.

Double-click the LEGO Digital Designer installation file. Follow the instructions to install the program. Once it is installed, open it through the "Start" menu.

Click on LEGO blocks located on the left side of LEGO Digital Designer's screen. Drag the blocks to the center. Build the Pokemon of your choice.

Click "Upload" to send the design to LEGO. Click "Check Price" and purchase the design. Input your credit card information and address. The design will come to your house and have directions on how to put it together.

How to Build a Lego Spaceship

Acquire Lego sets. Good choices are the Lego system or the 4-plus bulk set. You can also buy a specific set, such as Star Wars or Mission to Mars, which contains the pieces to build spaceships.

Choose the kind of spaceship you want to build. You can build a ship from a movie, such as the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek, the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars or the Discovery from 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can build an actual spaceship such as the space shuttle or make up your own spaceship.

Find photos of the spaceship you want to build. They should be large enough for you to see the details of the ship. If you're making up your own spaceship, you obviously don't need a photo to work from.

Begin with a large, flat piece to use as the bottom of the space ship. You will build your ship from the bottom to top. Look for triangular or trapezoidal pieces to make the nosecone, and fin-shaped pieces to make the wings and tail. A clear plastic piece will serve as the windshield. Don't forget to add guns or landing gear.

Consider placing Lego people in the spaceship. Plan ahead so you'll be able to build the ship around the people rather than trying to dismantle part of it to add people later. Or you can build a door into the spaceship so you can add and remove people.

Save on weight and the number of pieces used by making the spaceship hollow.

Tip

Many people have built Lego spaceships and posted photographs and building instructions on the Internet.

How to Build a LEGO Dinosaur

Snap the external body pieces onto the central body supports. There are two external body pieces with a cylindrical rod extending from their flat side. There are also two external body pieces with a cylindrical hole in the center of their flat side. Snap one of each type onto a central body support, on opposite sides.

Connect the two body assemblies by snapping the two sides together, with the rounded ends pointing outward.

Complete the back by inserting the two black bricks provided into the depression left between the two body pieces. The two circles should be on top with the smooth slanted side sloping outward.

Rotate the central body support on the rear end of the body upward so the neck is pointing backward and slightly up and snap the tail onto the support.

Rotate the central body support on the front end of the body upward so the neck is pointing up and slightly forward and snap the head piece onto the neck.

Snap an arm piece into the front circular opening on each side of the body. Snap a leg piece into the rear circular opening on each side of the body.

Tip

The Lego Tyrannosaurus rex set may also be used to construct three other dinosaurs. By using different head and crest pieces included with the set, as well as the back-spike piece also included, you can make a parasaurolophus, an ouranosaurus, and a spinosaurus.

For toddlers and smaller children, the Lego Duplo line also makes a dinosaur set, called Dino Valley. This set comes with dinosaurs including a Tyrannosaurus rex, a mother and baby triceratops, and a mother and baby pteranodon. All of these dinosaur figures are no assembly required.

Warning

Lego construction sets contain small pieces. These pieces can be hazardous to infants and young children if swallowed.

How to Make a LEGO Mindstorms NXT Alpha Rex Avoid Objects

Build the LEGO Mindstorms Alpha Rex model according to the directions. The directions for the model are listed under References.

Connect the LEGO NXT brick to your computer using the Bluetooth or included USB cable. Run the NXT programming software.

Program three subroutines, one for walking forward, one for turning left, and one for turning right. To walk, use move blocks to program one leg to move and the motor on the back to tilt in the direction of the opposite leg. Repeat with the other legs to create walking movement. To turn, program one leg to move at a time. You may find it helpful to tilt the robot in the same direction as the tuning leg. If you have built the model before, you may already have these routines saved.

Program the robot to walk forward until the IR sensor picks up an obstacle. You can set the distance to be as close or far as you prefer.

Place a switch block on the end of the line. Program the block to randomly choose one of the two paths which it selects as an option.

Place the left and right turn blocks on the two branches of the switch block. This makes it so that the robot will randomly turn left or right when it detects an obstacle.

Place the entire program inside a loop. If you set the loop to infinite, the robot will walk forward indefinitely and turn when it sees obstacles. You can also set it to perform this only a few times.

Tip

For more information on the individual blocks in the programming language or for basic information on NXT programming, consult the websites under Resources.

How to Build a Lego Catapult

Build the working portion of your catapult by using 2 Lego wheels with the rubber removed. Fashion the wheels just ahead of the catapult's anchoring wall and build the catapults all around the wheels hub piece. The arm must be able to withstand considerable pressure without falling apart. Secure a rubber band over the wheels and around the anchoring wall.

Fasten the catapult to a heavy Lego base with enough structure and weight to keep it from moving when fired. The mechanism can mount on a ship, rolling cart or any other item you can imagine. The key here is to create a stable base for your siege engine.

Fire your catapult by pulling down on the end of the catapult's arm and releasing it quickly.

Experiment with different objects, varying weight and shape until you find the object that goes farthest. Add additional rubber bands to extend your distance and weight capabilities. With a little practice and a few friends, you can lead the Lego rebellion to victory in your own living room.

Things You Will Need

  • Legos
  • Rubber band(s)

LEGO Spaceship Instructions

Design the cockpit of the LEGO ship first as this section of the craft may not be the proper size if the body is constructed first. The cockpit will typically use a piece of flat LEGO panelling for the floor or base and usually includes some sort of transparent or translucent "window" that seals tightly within the frame of the cockpit. Depending on the size and shape of the window piece, the cockpit base may need to be built upon to ensure the window closes properly. Make sure the cockpit is large enough to fit a LEGO mini-figure and any desired seating arrangement when the window is closed.

Construct the fuselage or body of the spaceship by building sections onto the cockpit. Depending on the design you are using or creating, the cockpit may be located to the front, rear, centre or even the side of the spacecraft (such as the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon of "Star Wars" fame). The fuselage will need to be constructed solidly for it will act as the spine of the ship and hold the sections together. Fuselage parts are best constructed out of the longer "brick" pieces in an overlapping arrangement to provide structural strength.

Add the wings and engines of your ship by building them onto the fuselage. Many LEGO spaceship constructions have engines mounted on top of or beneath the wings, while others have them placed at the rear or sides of the craft. Wings are best constructed from large flat panels held together by smaller connecting pieces. Engines can be constructed from various pieces, or one of LEGO's specially designed engine pieces can be used, such as the type found in the LEGO X-Wing kit.

Add any weaponry, loading ramps, landing gear, escape pods, cargo sections or any other major components to the ship in the appropriate places. Weapons are typically mounted beneath the wings, at the wingtips, or at the front or underside of the ship's body. Landing gear should be splayed across the body for stability. Many builders choose to add doors or hatches for their LEGO mini-figures to access the ship. After all major components have been added, look at the ship's overall design and modify elements as you see fit (repositioning the wings or changing the weapons configuration, for example).

Add interior and exterior detailing to give your spaceship character. Many have instrument panels and computer monitors in the cockpit. Some builders choose to add additional seating for "passengers" or a cargo hold for other small LEGO creations. Flat panelling with no stubs on top is often used on the exterior of the ship to mask the modular appearance of the building pieces. Additional details might include antennae, "scanner dishes," small pieces representing lights or the glow of engine thrusters, extra windows and insignia pieces, whatever idiosyncrasies you desire.

Tip

If you are constructing from a kit with instructions, follow the instructions wherever they contradict this guide. Any LEGO spaceship, whether from a kit or custom-designed, can be taken apart, modified, reimagined or rebuilt to suit the creator's tastes. Experiment with designs and customise your craft until it looks the way you want it to.

How to Build a Lego Castle

Purchase a Lego castle kit online or from a local store. Look for a castle set that best matches your skill level. Some Lego castles are quite intricate, such as the 7094 King's Castle Siege.

Find directions for the Lego castle set. If you got the set used, the instructions may be missing. Find many set instructions online, such as the illustrated directions for the basic Black Falcon's Fortress Lego set 10039, a retired but very popular Lego castle.

Organize the Lego bricks and pieces to make it easier to find the piece you need when building your Lego. Separate bricks by color and type.

Begin by putting together the people, horses and accessories for the Lego castle as per the instructions. The horses need the saddles and the knights need their armor before the castle can be built.

Build the Lego castle, following the steps in order on the instruction sheet. Begin with the castle foundation and work up, step by step, until the walls are completed.

Add the second floor and top story walls, being sure to use the correct Lego Castle pieces.

Build the Lego castle roof and add any decorations, such as lion's heads and fancy blocks.

Add the drawbridge and other extras, and set up the Lego castle knights around and in the castle.

How to Build Lego Transformers

Sort through online pictures of Lego Transformers made by other builders to find inspiration or a design you want to replicate (see Resources). Find builds that incorporate Lego pieces you already own.

Make a parts list for the Transformers character you intend to build. Draw the original creation you have in mind or closely examine the pictures of the model you are copying to make a list that includes every part you need. Most Transformers are symmetrical and require at least two of every part.

Find the Lego pieces from the build list that you already own and cross them off. Order the individual pieces you need to complete the project directly from the Lego Pick-a-Brick store (see Resources).

Build the individual body sections that compromise the Transformer. Closely follow the detailed photos or the original sketch you made.

Connect the arms, legs, torso and head of the Lego Transformer to complete the build project. Test the articulation of the Transformer by twisting and folding it where the joints and connects are located.

Tip

Try making a larger scale version of an existing build to challenge yourself and use more Lego pieces. Some larger Lego Transformers are held up by Lego stands so they are able to stand in the fully transformed position.

How to Make a LEGO Fighter Jet

Brainstorm and sketch your model aircraft. There are a number of fighter aircraft in the world, so choose one to base your device on.

Build the bottom of the fuselage of your airplane. Use a series of upward angled bricks and plates to make a long, narrow boat shaped base. You can make the length and width whatever dimensions you would like them to be, and can make it wide or narrow enough to accommodate a pilot.

Build a pair of wings. Wings should be roughly triangular in shape, using LEGO wing pieces. Depending on the design of your aircraft, you will need either a pair of front wings and a pair of stabilizers on the tail, or you may have a delta-wing design in which case the wings extend along the entire body of the aircraft.

Assemble the cockpit of the aircraft. Put a seat in the cockpit, and a brick with computer components painted on the side in front of that. Some aircraft have two pilots inside the cockpit, one of whom is the co-pilot, whose seat is slightly elevated above the pilot. You can make this design if you would like.

Seat your pilot or pilots in the cockpit of the aircraft.

Build up the walls of the tail of the vehicle, and build an engine into the tail of the vehicle. Make the vehicle tall enough to accomodate the pilot(s).

Attach a canopy over the cockpit. There are a number of different canopy styles which LEGO makes, find one which most fits your aircraft.

Attach any accents or weapons you desire to the vehicle. Some jet fighters are equipped with machine guns and missiles.

Things You Will Need

  • assorted LEGO bricks
  • LEGO wing pieces
  • LEGO seat
  • LEGO computer bricks
  • LEGO Minifig (optional)
  • LEGO canopy

Tip

There are some types of aircraft which use a "swing wing" design. This means that the wings tilt outward on a hinge, allowing it to switch from a delta-wing design to the more traditional fore- and aft-wings design associated with aircraft.

Kid's LEGO Building Ideas

Lego Kits

Lego kits are one way to introduce building with Legos. Each set is part of a Lego collection. There are many themes, including machines, buildings, underwater adventures and major motion pictures. Each kit is labelled for age appropriateness, making it easy to find one that matches your child's ability. Instructions are easy to follow. After building a few sets with help, your child should be able to build most sets alone, as all Lego kit instructions are structured alike.

Towns

Creating a Lego town can be an ongoing project. Basic buildings are easy to put together, and Lego pieces include windows and doors. Brainstorm with your child places in your town that he can build. A school, church, bank, store or fire station provide a good starting point. Scatter these buildings around a table or area on the floor and the Lego town has begun. Lego minifigures, also called minifigs, can be built to use at the townspeople. The town can continue to grow as he thinks of things to add.

Vehicles

Many Lego sets contain wheels, tires and axles that can be used to build vehicles. Build a favourite car, truck or race car. Create an aeroplane, spaceship or boat. Many of these vehicles can be used in the Lego town to transport people and items. Have a race with the Lego cars or build a space station to dock the spaceship. Build a vehicle that has yet to be invented, a car that can drive on top of water or an aeroplane that doubles as a submarine.

Creative and Complex

A positive aspect about Lego bricks is the creativity that's fostered when building with them. Encourage your child to be creative and create his own masterpieces from Legos. He can build his favourite scene from a movie or make a sports arena complete with the players and fans. More complex ideas include a working robot, musical instruments and a Lego desk. Make a model of your house or school or build a castle and turn Lego minifigs into knights.

LEGO Castle Instructions

Using LEGO Instructions

When you purchase a LEGO castle kit, you receive instructions on how to build that castle. These instructions are straightforward once you understand them, but it can take awhile to get used to the standard LEGO building process.

LEGO instructions typically are picture-based with no verbal explanations. They are methodical, and you will see basic building instructions for each step. Start with the first picture instruction (all instructions are designated by number). Look for the LEGO piece that is darker than the surrounding pieces, which is the piece you need to add for the step. Make sure you find all of the darkened pieces, because each instruction usually involves adding several blocks. If you are not sure where to place a LEGO block, count the number of raised connector bumps in the image to find its exact location.

Try not to miss any steps, and follow the instructions through to the end. Even if your castle does not look like much during the process, the LEGO instructions will create the desired effect in the end.

Finding LEGO Instructions

If you have an older LEGO kit or if you have a combination of pieces from several kits, you may need to find instructions. The best place to look is the Internet. The official site of the LEGO company offers instruction manuals online dating to 2002. Search for the name of the specific design you want, and then follow the instructions as detailed above.

If you can not find the instructions from the LEGO site, there are other sites that collect and detail LEGO instructions. Search for your specific instruction booklet, or browse the available instructions to find what you need.

Creating Your Own Castles

When you have built many LEGO castles with the official constructions, you may want to design your own LEGO castles. This can be extremely entertaining and fruitful, but there are some basic rules to keep in mind. Remember the LEGO instructions when you are building. LEGO bricks do not look like much on their own, and it is hard to see the finished product while you build. Diagram your desired finished product and then work backward to create a step-by-step guide for the building. Your result will be closer to your original goal than if you just try to build a castle without a plan.

You also need to keep in mind which LEGO pieces you have and which you do not have. If you do not have enough straight pieces to build a castle wall, you will never be able to finish your work. Try to build a castle smaller than the castle of your original LEGO kit, so that you will be sure to have enough pieces in the end.

How to Build Lego Racing Cars

Start with Wheels
Start with Wheels

Start with the Lego racing car wheels. Any Lego wheels will do, but the best are big thick tires because they resemble real race car tires. Connect them with axles or use a flat Lego to hold them together if the wheels are attached to individual blocks. Naturally you will need two axles with two wheels each.

Build the Body
Build the Body

Build the Lego racing car body. Long and flat Lego pieces are ideal for this. To create a racing car frame, make the front long and thin and the rear wider. Attach the axles and reinforce the frame with block Legos. These should overlap the junctures and gaps for strength. If possible, try to make all the blocks the same colour.

Add an Engine
Add an Engine

Add an engine to the Lego racing car. On Formula 1 racing cars the engines are in the rear. Build it up behind where the driver will sit. Lego pieces with one smooth, sloped side are ideal for the streamlined look of a racing car engine.

Construct Spoilers
Construct Spoilers

Construct spoilers for your Lego racing cars. Make one for the front and one for the back. The rear spoiler should be raised. It sits above and behind the engine. The front spoiler goes in front of the front tires. It should be as low to the ground as possible. Use smooth, flat Legos on the spoilers for an aerodynamic look. Side flaps on the spoilers are also a nice touch.

Accent with Stickers
Accent with Stickers

Accent your Lego racing car with stickers. You can use any stickers. You can even cut out designs from magazines and attach them with clear tape. Little details like these really add to the authenticity of Lego racing cars.

Finish with the Driver
Finish with the Driver

Finish off your Lego racing car with a driver. If you have any Lego characters you can place them inside your race car. If you don't want to create a hole for the driver to sit in just attach his head. It looks just as cool and no one will know the difference.