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The Lego Storage Guide (brickarchitect.com)
170 points by sohkamyung on Dec 1, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 49 comments

Adam Savage has a great solution for storing hardware like bolts/nuts/bearings/etc., and I think it would work well for lego as well.


Oh man, that's nice. Thanks for sharing that :-) I've got most of my legos in a far fallen distant cousin of those, namely Home Depot's HDX 15-compartment organizer: https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-15-Compartment-Interlocking-...

Which are nowhere near as nice, but they're $5 each instead of $50, and I don't have Adam Savage Bux.

I've got a number of them, and I'm looking for a way to make (or buy for not much money) a shelf to hold them like those shelves of Adam's.

I have standardized on the Harbor Freight parts storage containers. They're often on sale for $6 or so. https://www.harborfreight.com/19-bin-portable-parts-storage-...

I realized that the HF boxes fit quite nicely into surplus 19" racks, which are pretty readily available second hand and so that's the direction I went as it was very fast and easy.

I also bought a few for the kids' Lego, but I use most of them for electronic components, mechanical components, screws, nuts, etc. I've inadvertently knocked over closed bins a few times without spillage (similar to the demo in Adam's Sortimo video).

I suspect this is a another case of more than 80% as good for less than 20% of the cost.

> I have standardized on the Harbor Freight parts storage containers.

Thanks, I’ll look into those!

> I suspect this is a another case of more than 80% as good for less than 20% of the cost.

Like the fact that most of my lego are actually lepin, a Chinese knockoff? :-)

> I realized that the HF boxes fit quite nicely into surplus 19" racks

Is this the right product? The link says they're 16.5" wide.

I think so (like 99+% sure).

I'm on my way home from re:Invent at the moment, but will put a tape measure on it when I get home. The 19" dimension on server racks is not the inside clearance, but includes the rack "ears" dimension, so 16.5" wide to fit inside the clearance between 19" rails sounds like it's probably the right thing. Shoot me an email (in my profile) if you need any pics or other confirmation.

Interesting. I did a DuckDuckGo search on the boxes he used (Sortimo) and this blog post [1] popped up on Allit which is suppose to be a cheaper alternative to Sortimo.

[1] A Cheaper Alternative to Sortimo Sorting Bins [ http://www.briansbenham.com/a-cheaper-alternative-to-sortimo... ]

There is this link on Cool Tools as well to the Stanley equivalent: http://kk.org/cooltools/matt-velderman-black-decker-tool-des...

Also, in this article it seems Sortimo is kind of hard to order: http://kk.org/cooltools/sortimo/

I use the Stanley FatMax Organizers, also very nice. There come in deep and shallow versions, work great. A bit heavy.


I use something similar from Raaco for my (kid's) Legos. Same grid layout with inserts that lock in place with the lid (no migration of contents if you hold vertically)


When our kids were little, all of their Lego pieces went into a plastic bathub that they could no longer take baths in. I can still hear the noise they made pawing[1] through all the pieces looking for just the right one for the present assembly. That made up for the occasional piece I stepped on in the dark.

I hope to hear the same noise when our grandkids get their Lego collections going. At present their strategy seems to be to spread the pieces out on the floor. Step carefully!

[1] 'pawing' is not really the right word as it implies an animal movement. It was really a careful noisy search.

We used to have a 65L plastic storage bucket, but lined it with an old bed sheet, and then the lego poured on top.

This means that when the kids want to play, you can lift the entire collection out of the bucket with the sheet, then lay the sheet on the floor.

When they're finished, you pick the sheet up by the corners, and place the thing back into the box. We rarely had orphan parts flying around the house because the sheet both gave the kids a defined "play" area, as well as a much more convenient way to handle a large amount of bricks.

This is genius. I't obvious it's genius because it's so obvious. Once it's said you know it's just the solution you wish you had thought of yourself years ago because it's so obvious and would have saved you so much trouble. That is the true hallmark of genius.

As a father of a few children with multiple bins of lego, thank you.

My bricks were in a circular denim sheet, that pulled closed into a bag by tightening a string that was threaded through eyelets along the perimeter. I believe it was even Lego branded.

My wife's aunt just gave us one of those this summer! I had never seen one made of denim before, I didn't realize it was a marketed product.

This is exactly what I had as a kid, after too many incidents of my father encountering loose Lego bricks on the way to refill the woodstove in the dead of night

This is no accident, please see exhibit 'A' as evidence:


My sons and I had all "their" (our!) Lego in a few large plastic tubs and we "pawed" or sifted through these for hours. It's an OK solution, but the problems with it come from the frustration of not finding pieces and also the damage to pieces over time.

I don't know if Lego is getting weaker, or if they just have more elaborate shapes nowadays but when I was a kid back in the 80s I can't remember ever having a broken piece of Lego. Maybe from stepping on one, but not just by sifting through parts. With the tubs approach recently we've had a few twisted or even snapped parts. The 1x1 c-grips collapse, 1x1 "cheeses" snap in half, and that Lego wheel arch... just seeing one of these get flung around in the Lego-soup makes me nervous.

I bought a few small drawers and a compartmentalized case, all designed for sewing parts, to keep the smaller and more fragile parts in and we separated stuff out as we assembled. It makes the whole thing a lot more fun having it even just a bit sorted like that, without going crazy into organization.

> I don't know if Lego is getting weaker

Yes, the new Lego is definitely more brittle than than the old, and also less capable of dealing with tensile stress. I have a couple of examples of very recent bricks that spontaneously broke along a side wall simply by being stacked on other bricks.

The first formulation (Cellulose-Acetate) tends to deform and warp, the first generation ABS bricks are as good as indestructible unless you use main force.

At the moment Lego produces both in Denmark and in various locations around the world and there is a real difference in quality between batches from different locations.

You can also tell by holding up bricks to the light, the more transparent ones (relative to other bricks of the same density and color, best to test with yellow, white and red) are the weaker ones.

Sheesh, is nothing sacred? Thanks for confirming my hunch.

I too had the big bin of Legos when I was a kid. Thinking back on it, I actually preferred that sort of chaotic organization rather than having things sorted by color/type/etc. Part of the enjoyment of Legos for me was not building some specific thing I had some mental image of, but rather the browsing (initial intention + randomness) that would yield new creative possibilities.

I think that's also why, despite my best attempts, I never got into any of the computer Lego modelling tools; some of the fun was lost for me when I could select any piece on demand.

I think "pawing" is a fine description of the action. I also like "slushing". :)

I make Lego (murals?, mandalas?, dioramas?) art and I am sure when I lived in my studio apartment my slushing around in my mess of parts was a joy to my neighbor on the other side of the wall...

I'm puzzled as to why one would ever force smooth scrolling with JavaScript. Browsers have that by default, and when people turn it off you can most certainly be sure it's on purpose.

I wonder ... how much effort would it be to create a five foot wide spherical ball attached to a motored stand that had three doors all actuated via small servo motors which had tiny cameras attached such that when an on-board Raspberry PI responded to a voice command of "more yellow blocks please" the ball would rotate until the desired pieces tumbled out of one of the openings?

I will say from my experience building a 3 foot wide spherical ball with some lights on it that it will take more effort than you would expect.

I love HN: oddly-specific feedback to an oddly specific request :)

More yellow bricks would leave rather a lot of choice, you're going to have to be a lot more specific than that. And your sphere will be a lot larger than 5 foot wide if you want to accommodate all possible parts and color variations.

Why would you need a camera? Just program the computer to know which compartment has yellow. Does a vending machine need a camera to know that B4 is a Coke?

It does if you want to be awesome like jacquesm and have it auto-sort the pieces: https://jacquesmattheij.com/sorting-two-metric-tons-of-lego

Shameless plug: if then all your bricks are neatly tugged away, but you suddenly do not know how to start building, just grab a random, virtual hand of bricks out of some of your LEGO sets with the help of my pet project https://brickshuffle.com .

Huh, cool. I might give this a look.

I don't have many legos, but I do have a lot of surface-mount components and a decent number of through-hole ones.

Right now I like AideTek's 'Box-All's for the SMD parts, and thread organizers or card sleeves for the through-hole ones. But I don't have a great system and could always use new ideas!

And it seems like Lego bricks share a lot with circuit parts; there are a fair number of very common standardized packages/functions, but also a big long-tail of specialized bits and bobs.

And when you want to sort two metric tons of Lego HN hero jacquesm has the perfect solution: https://jacquesmattheij.com/sorting-two-metric-tons-of-lego

I'm a big fan of using a good fishing tackle box for storing legos.

Are there any good sets with variety of connectors. For example circular, angular, multijoints, cross joints and so on. Standard bricks are so extremely limiting.

LEGO has increasingly made a number of pieces with Studs Not On Top (or SNOT, as the adult LEGO community refers to them). These allow you to attach standard bricks in a number of different directions and angles.

If you're ok with second hand stuff I can probably help you out.

Bricklink.com is your friend in that department.

Look into Lego Technic, it's lego but with a mostly different set of connectors and mechanics.

Just keep in mind that Technic design is substantially different from regular Lego design, and even the main "bricks" (liftarms) have slightly different dimensions than System ones. Connecting Technic with System is an art in itself - for example, the recent Porsche 911 [0] drew a lot of criticism for its design, whereas the upcoming Mack Anthem [1] is much more appealing.

[0]: https://shop.lego.com/en-US/Porsche-911-GT3-RS-42056

[1]: https://brickset.com/sets/42078-1/Mack-Anthem

Go to a Lego store and raid the pick a brick wall

My nephew has been making Transformers out of his LEGO sets for a few months now. I asked him how many hinges he had (thinking he must have a lot). He said "I dunno... 2?"

I went to the LEGO store and raided their pick a brick wall. He'll be getting lots pieces that are hinged, wings for transforming planes, and tons of small plates for decoration. I think he's going to like it.

I recently needed to pick up all my childhood legos from my parents’ home and am now seeking a storage solution that... isn’t plastic. Anybody know of anything?

Just use a suitcase. Keep it childhood, i.e. all in one big box and don't go for adult sorted mode.

Fundamentally, as a child Lego builder all bricks should be in use at all times as part of an existing construction.

Therefore if you are going to build a Saturn V rocket then you demolish the black and white houses in the townscape to make the rocket. Existing models are de-facto storage, if you also need a new car and there is no windscreen then maybe another car becomes an open top sports car. There is no receptacle labelled as 'windscreens' with the Lego part number.

In this mode all inventory is in memory, sure there is a lot of scrabbling around but that's Lego.

The other benefit of the suitcase is that it is lined and therefore good for scrabbling. Plus there are pockets for a few special pieces.

So collect an old suitcase as well as the Lego bricks whilst you are there. In practice the suitcase works well for moving play from room to room, plus, once closed, the suitcase can tuck under a bed or coffee table.

A nice big wooden chest maybe? If you'd like to do a bit of woodworking, you could make organizers out of multiplex.

Unfortunately unreadable because the scrolling is broken.

Seems like lego would be a great material to build lego storage with.

Go full meta! Actually that's a good idea, I wonder if Lego could take that and come up with a system of their own.

When I was a kid I built a box out of lego to store my lego in and didn't have any lego left to put in it.

That would be incredibly expensive.

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