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my first moc, part 2

If you’re like a lot of people, you’re stuck at home, and maybe feeling a little anxious about the world around us.

Many, (most?) of us haven’t been in a situation like this before and we’re all just trying to get through it best we can.

So if you’ve got some free time, dig out the legos, and spend a few minutes with the kids, or alone as an adult, (there are a lot of adult lego builders out there) building something. Then try and recreating your lego build in Studio. It’s a lot of fun and easier than you might think.

This is the second part of my story about creating my first MOC (My Own Creation.) You can read part 1 here.

Adding Color to Bricks in Studio

Now that I had my model built, it was time to add some color.

It’s as simple as selecting a piece then choosing a color from the sidebar palette. Studio warns you if the color you’ve selected isn’t available for that brick. (If you don’t want to keep getting those warnings, you can toggle the controls so that the colors available are only in those provided by Lego.)

Generating Instructions in Studio

The process for making the instructions is a little more complicated.

When you first look at your instructions, there is only the one step.

I had to backtrack step by step and brick by brick to create all of the steps for my little spaceship, (which I’m now dubbing the ‘Escher’ an interstellar passenger ship with twin rotors that spin up wormholes to travel through interstellar space, and landing and retro thrusters for planetary visits. Not only is this ship capable of creating its own wormholes to cut down on interstellar travel time, it can also land on a planet with an atmosphere. Take that Enterprise.)

Once I parsed out the steps, Studio makes it easy to select different layouts for each page. I experimented with a few different layouts, ultimately settling on a six panel first page, a 4 panel page two, a three panel page 3 and a two panel final page. It’s also possible to select and move the individual elements of the instructions to make sure that they’re all visible to the reader.

To meet the requirements to upload to rebrickable, I’ve got to create a pdf of my instructions. More on that in part 3.

If you have any questions about working in Studio, feel free to drop them by in the comments. I’m by no means a Studio expert, but maybe we can puzzle through it together.

building my first moc part 1

Little Guy is in to Lego, so now I’m in to Lego.

And I’m probably more in to Lego than he is.

All of this began with me watching his sets that he had gotten for Christmas or for birthdays, and we had so carefully built together, slowly disintegrate back into the box of all the Legos. I wondered if there were a website where you can enter in all of the sets you have and find out what else you can build with your Legos.

Thankfully there was, because it is a fantastic idea and I am not the man to build such a thing.

Rebrickable is a near magical site, where you can do exactly that, enter the sets you own, and where hundreds (maybe thousands) of Lego builders worldwide upload their designs, or MOCs (short for My Own Creations) and you can see all of the marvelous designs that you can build with the Legos you have. They even provide instructions.

It is like making new toys from the toys you already have.

And these MOCs are brilliant. Go look at them. Now. I will wait…

Did you go visit them? Aren’t they marvelous?

So inspired by these MOCs, I wanted to create a MOC, too.

Of course, you’re creating a MOC every time you freebuild with your pile of Legos, but I wanted to take it to the next step.

I found Studio 2 (and it is free) by bricklink, which allows you to build Legos digitally, and creates step by step instructions for your build.

This weekend, while freebuilding with little guy, I built a little mini spaceship, shown in the photo above.

It seemed like a good candidate to recreate in Studio for my first build because it was only about 15 or so pieces. Perfect.

I dove in to Studio, (which does have a helpful tutorial) and built this little guy from the ground up.

This is my little spaceship (with twin interstellar rotors, of course) before I’ve added brick colors.

What took just a few minutes in real life took me a couple of hours to build in Studio, mostly because of my lack of familiarity with how it worked. (Don’t be daunted. Studio is remarkably intuitive, and you are much smarter than I am. My saving grace is a willingness to be bad at things.)

More on the instructions and brick color selection in part 2 of my first Moc, coming just as soon as I have a bit of time to write it.

paper airplane


It’s 630 am and I just folded a paper airplane for little guy.

He brought a page torn from a small activity book, set the it down on the desk and asked me to make him an airplane. There was a scribble of green and orange crayon, and a torn corner on the page that I thought could be trouble in-flight, not to mention the fact that I could not remember how to fold a paper airplane.

So I stalled, and bought myself some time by making the first fold.

The first fold is easy: lengthwise, dividing the paper in two.

I opened the fold, laid the paper out on the table, and bent in the top right corner, bringing it to a triangle. Then folded in the opposite corner with the torn edge, which turned out to be no trouble, tucked in safely in the middle crease. I had worried over nothing.

I turned the folded paper on its side. It was not an airplane yet, but a primitive shape, a long rectangle with a missing corner, a wedge. I had hoped that once I made those first folds, my hands would take over and I would know what to do next. That did not happen.

I had no idea where to make my next fold. Shouldn’t this be like riding a bike? Shouldn’t folding an airplane be a skill ingrained from a childhood spent making hundreds of my own airplanes? Shouldn’t I know how to do this?

I folded the top of the plane in half towards the bottom edge. It was a timid fold forming a crude wing impossible of sustaining any lift.

“How did you know how to fold that,” little guy asked, in something that sounded like awe.

I flipped the plane over and made the same fold on the other side, doubling down on the crude wings.

Not knowing what else to do, and faced with an expectant 4 year old, who assumes his dad is an expert in everything, because he is the dad, I folded the wings in half again.

It was done.

I held the plane in between my fingers and examined my (crude, clumsy) handiwork. The airplane was long and skinny. Narrow. An arrow of a plane. A dart? I remembered, or thought I remembered, probably from a paper airplane book I had read as a kid. The folds in the nose didn’t line up. One wing was wider than the other. Would it fly?

Little guy looked at me, smiling. Where I was all doubt, he was none.

I pinched the base of the airplane between thumb and first two fingers. I gave the plane a light toss, just a little wrist flick, fingers released and spread wide, and the plane was out of my hands, now, with more speed than I intended, but I had done all I could do.

The plane lifted just a little at first, and I thought it might glide gently out the studio door, but instead it quickly dipped from the excess speed nosedived into the guitar leaning against the studio wall. The plane din’t travel far, just a few feet –

“Whoa,” said Little Guy. The airplane had flown farther than he ever expected.

Epilogue: Later that morning in the living room. Little guy threw the airplane over the railing of the living room down to the entryway. I was surprised by how well it flew. He ran down the stairs and picked it up.

He carried the plane up the stairs and said, “Dad, I think it’s out of batteries.”