A few months ago I saw a post on Reddit about something I really wish I had heard about before; the Lego Digital Designer. Imagine a free version of Autocad that lets you build with Lego bricks. Any brick you can think of, any brick that’s been used, all in a fully 3d environment. Naturally I downloaded and installed it but the sheer amount of parts available was intimidating. It’s just like the library effect, when you go to the library you know you like books, you know you like authors, but both of those are gone from your mind the second you walk in. The selection is so vast you forget what you know. The designer did just that, I forgot what I knew.
Instead I built in the program what I had put together for myself, learning how it worked from that point of view. I’ve been using Lego to build phone stands of varying styles for the last few years, with each iteration becoming a little bit better than that last until I came up with the one pictured here. I recreated that in the designer. The instructions for it can be exported, but step by step it generated for my project is a little bit odd. I’ve tossed those instructions up here for anyone to use. The .lxf builder file is here that you can load in the designer to modify my build.
They also have a full gallery online. When you use your Lego account (you do have one, right?) you can upload your creations. The gallery lets you look at the builds that everyone else has uploaded as well. You can also use the Pick-a-Brick service and the Bill of Materials the designer generates to order the parts needed but I haven’t tried that yet.
Happy building! (and sorry for any lost productivity)