As that great sage Ralph Wiggum says, "I'm learnding!"
About this creation
In the interest of promoting knowledge and accelerating the learning curve among those who haven't yet discovered the following ratios, I present to you a few tips and tricks that I've found useful in my own building.
Everyone knows that a standard Lego brick is three standard Lego plates high. This is quickly discovered in our earliest days of basic studs-up building.
But there comes a time when you need to graduate to more advanced SNOT (Studs Not On Top) techniques to achieve a certain look or texture impossible with simple studs-up brick and plate stacking.
When you integrate an element with the studs facing at right angles to adjacent or surrounding construction, you need to know the ratio between plate height and stud width. This ratio, which I utilize over and over again in my building, boils down to: five plates height equals two studs width.
This is important enough to bear repeating: 5 plates high = 2 studs wide. Note that the studs themselves are not counted in the height of a plate -- thus, more accurately but longer to write, four plates and one tile equals two studs. For purposes of this tutorial, when I refer to plate heights, I am not counting the topmost studs. When utilizing this technique, you will need to swap out the top plate for a tile, or somehow account for the studs (see below).
Here we see that two bricks height (6 plates) minus the bottom tile (1 plate) gives us a quick and easy 5 plates high / 2 studs wide gap to slip our SNOTed plate stack into.
Knowing this ratio (and as long as you can count by twos and fives), you can now completely fill any space whose length and width can be measured in an even number of studs. 4 studs = 10 plates. 6 studs = 15 plates. And so on.
The magic doesn't stop there. A floor made of these SNOTed plate stacks will, without effort, match up right at the 3 plate level when laid directly on a bed of studs beneath. This works because if 2 studs = 5 plates, then 1 stud = 2.5 plates... and the height of a stud itself = half a plate.
Because everything works out so nicely, you can then easily build out onto this floor and lock it into place if you haven't already -- otherwise nothing holds it in but gravity (or friction if it's vertically oriented in a wall), and if you tilt the base far enough, it will fall out.
To lock it in place without this, you'll need technic bricks (or headlight bricks, see below). The studs on a standard plate will fit into either two 1x1 technic bricks or the 1x2 with two holes. Or the one stud on a jumper plate will fit into a regular technic brick with the hole in the middle. To fasten the underside plate, use the technic brick / half pin combo or some kind of brick with studs on the side.
This fastening can also be done with brackets and headlight bricks, which have ratios of their own which must be taken into account.
Brackets and headlight bricks make use of half-plate offsets. Let's talk about the headlight brick (hereafter referred to as an HB) first.
What is a stud's width measured in plate height? If you said 2.5, good, you've been paying attention. The HB recess is half a plate deep, making the top of a HB, measured front to back, 2 plates wide. The little lip at the bottom created by the recess is also half a plate high.
Here we see that the extra half plate afforded by the recess on the HB allows us to bridge a 1 stud gap.
Or, since we're now aligned perfectly on a stud edge, begin counting off further 5 plate/2 stud increments. Through use of the mighty HB, we have broken the surly bonds of even-numbered stud width SNOT surfaces.
With their inherent height of 3 plates and top width of 2 plates, four HBs fastened perpendicularly will make our magical 5 plate/2 stud square.
The studs and holes line up neatly to plug into other such squares, making all sorts of interesting patterns possible.
Of course, when using this technique in a floor or wall, the outside studs must be taken into account.
Whereas the SNOTed element of the HB is recessed half a plate, the overhang on the bracket sticks out half a plate.
Add two plates and the overhang equals one stud wide.
In case you're a bit slow on the uptake, here is a bracket alongside two HBs with a plate to make up the difference in offsets.
A baseplate is the same height as the overhanging SNOTed part of a bracket, half a standard plate. Since the height of a stud itself is half a plate, we can lay a baseplate on a bed of studs, and the level of the baseplate will be one standard plate high.
This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list, just a few of the basic tricks to get you started. Hope you found it helpful.
As for plugging studs into Technic brick holes, it evidently is "illegal," as illustrated here by Ryan Wood. Close enough to fudge it in most cases, but not exact.
I believe thanks are in order. About two years ago, when I was somewhat new to the online LEGO community, I looked at this. It helped make me become the builder I am today, and I learned a lot of useful techniques. I salute you, master of the Skunk Works, and thank you once more.
It is good to see all of these listed here in one place. I would add one more, though, that I have found very useful. When you want to attach a plate facing outward using a brick with a perpendicular stud if you separate each brick with two standard platform bricks then they will fit into every other connector on the back of the plate. I use this technique a lot if anyone wants to see an example.
I luved it! Also, I'm new to all this and found you thru you being a favorite of another MOCer who I like. Then recalled having seen some of your MOC's before....I wonder about that mind of yours...that's a complement from a fellow Pacific Northwesterner!
I like it
April 18, 2011
wow. this is very interesting. i never thought there could be so many combinations like this. the last part with the baseplate will REALLY come in handy! 10 out of 5, my friend. 10 out of 5.
I hate math, so when I saw the title to this MOC, my mood turned sour. However, that all changed when I actually viewed your pics and description and realized your creation was about LEGO building. I gotta say, this MOC has been extremely helpful! I'm even starting to like ratios...well, maybe not :) Congrats on MOTD!
some of that stuff I was finally getting my head round through trail and error. One thing though, a couple of the examples use the technic bricks with studs pressed into them. is that an official construction technique as it isn't possible in LDD. I only ask as I wondered if it stressed bricks when using it in real life. EDIT: someone asked this, not me.
Well, in LDD, you first have to put two 1X1 circular flats on the piece you want to stick in the Technic brick. BTW, that MOC is Smart! I would never have figured some of that out, considering i'm still just 9.
Quoting andros tempest
One thing though, a couple of the examples use the technic bricks with studs pressed into them. is that an official construction technique as it isn't possible in LDD. I only ask as I wondered if it stressed bricks when using it in real life.
Well, I've found that plugging a stud into a Technic hole can sometimes be a tighter fit than plugging it into the bottom of another brick or plate. Might be a tiny bit of stress involved, but I personally would never have thought of it as an "illegal" technique. Maybe an oversight on the part of the LDD program writers?
some of that stuff I was finally getting my head round through trail and error. One thing though, a couple of the examples use the technic bricks with studs pressed into them. is that an official construction technique as it isn't possible in LDD. I only ask as I wondered if it stressed bricks when using it in real life.
SUM DAEY YOO CAN HAS MATHS T00
Thanks for the ratios. You should make another one of these but for hinges (example- these pegs on the rod part of a fire piece can fit on the visor holes of a clone trooper helmet, allowing you to make a flaming helmet.)
I do alot of stuff like this, I call it "Abstract Lego"
Excellent, I love instructional MOCs and you did a great job on this one Shannon. Ratios are a tricky thing, I had mostly figured these all out, but I didn't realize that baseplates are half studs and can be stacked as such in your last picture. Learn something new every day I guess. Thanks for sharing
Didn't know some of those ratios myself. Invaluable for anyone new to the SNOT technique.
I like it
February 19, 2010
Most impressive. To be honest, I had never seen half of the ideas you presented. Very well done, specifically that last item.
I like it
February 19, 2010
Thanks. I'm actually going to favorite this.
I like it
February 19, 2010
An excellent visual representation of the multitude of SNOT techniques out there. Great work Shannon and thanks for posting this. I hadn't seen the 'four headlight bricks form a square' technique before. Nice work!
a brilliantly constructed tutorial to people who have yet to realise all techniques and at the same time a good reference and reminder for those who already know some if not all of them. I use these here and there in the occasional moc i never publish because of current internet upload prices, but it is good to have things like this to remind me how i did it and to proove to myself i am not just bending bricks but they actually fit :P
Congratulations. Good thing for you this isn't a race to the south pole, because I figured out the headlight brick square trick around 1980, long before you were ever thought of. Nowhere on this page did I claim to invent any of these techniques, or be the first to discover and employ them. It's just meant to be a handy reference guide for those who haven't yet discovered them. If you've already got it all figured out and this page is of no use to you, then more power to you, genius.
Quoting Dax Olesa
I may point out, however, that the third-to-last technique displayed here is not exact.
A valid point -- in fact I don't know that I would call any of the above ratios "exact." Lego pieces are not perfect, and sometimes the tolerances will be microscopically off. When you're working in small increments it usually isn't a problem, but over longer distances the slight misalignments can add up and become noticeable. You check and re-check the math, you're sure that it's right... but the pieces just refuse to abide by it.
I like it
Spaztastic the Diabolical
February 17, 2010
I've been thinking about these for a while, but every time I started experimenting, I lost focus and started configuring weapons. Also, there are lotsa... rainbows. Just to let you know.
I like it
A member of Starfox .
February 17, 2010
Just a few pieces put together in different ways got you THIS many views and "I like it's". Just... WOW. I am horriable at SNOT. But a rainbow of colors in each picture gives it a more "fun" look to it. Those headlight pieces are hard to work with. And I NEVER knew about the base plate trick. Mine are bent. But they are now hilly. I may go try it soon. 5,000,000/5 for Mr. Shannon.
Very nice collection of findings here. I've found out most of these over time, but I did learn some of the more advanced techniques right here on this page. I may point out, however, that the third-to-last technique displayed here is not exact. While working on my "Green Hell" diorama, I used that method to transfer from the SNOT base to the the studded sides of the track. After completion, I noticed hairline cracks between the green plates held on top. These small gaps added up to make, say a 8x1 tile, a little stretched over the pieces: not quite a perfect fit. This observation is very subtle, however, and it will not make a difference in most applications of the technique. A helpful strategy, nevertheless, and congratulations on this nice collection of building methods!
The amount of rainbows in this MOC makes me worry.....
Nothing here I hadn't learned by accident, but I'm sure a load of MOCpages less observant builders will hopefully capitalize of you're kind teachings.
I like it
February 13, 2010
THANK YOU! I previously made a mathematical table for LEGO ratios, but this is much more visual and contains more information than anything I could've written on paper.
I like it
February 13, 2010
I will never understand why this can't be a proper subject. Just look at the smartness in it!
This is terrific, Shannon! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this ... and so well, too! I don't get on the last one, though, why you mention the overhanging SNOTed part of a bracket in the caption. There's no bracket in the picture, right? Is that just so we know you can use a bracket in the same way as the baseplate shown? Thanks again!
I've stumbled across a little of this by accident, having it explained, demonstrated, and presented with possible ideas on how these techniques might be used is very valuable indeed. My hat is off to you sir, and I will certainly keep this post in mind as I start new projects.
Thank you very much. This Moc is going to come in very handy over the next month. My building is going to improve tremendously because of this information. You deserve a lot higher than a 5, but that's all I can give it.
Pretty nice presentation, Shannon, though nothing I don't already know (not to brag). Though most of these techniques are pretty simple, I've always had trouble with the infuriating headlight bricks when it involves further complicated techniques.
Like Moodswim and others, these are things I've only discovered through years of trial and error and there are a few things I hadn't known until now. Very educational and well presented. And hey, it got you a compliment from the man himself. Now, like Chris, I have some brain matter to wipe off my keyboard...~H
Dude, this is amazing. I knew some of these techniques (hardly use them though), but some of these just blew my mind! I always knew lego was good at keeping things compatible, but this has taken it to the next level! Well done. :)
Quoting Emperor Ludgonious
You should throw a link up to this in the MOCpages Advice Group.
I just couldn't handle the noise level in that group -- too much meaningless chatter, precious little "advice" being sought or given -- so I quickly left. But if you or anyone else wants to link to this, I won't turn down the free publicity.
Thanks for this! I'm obsessed with making my builds studless. Most of these techniques I've learned from trial and error, but some of these I didn't and they will come in handy in the future. Not sure if you knew, but some of the newer Headlight bricks don't have the half-stud indent, making it even easier to use these pieces in SNOT or studless creations:)
I've just got to say thank you for this, the SNOT floors have been a mystery to me for far too long, and I've been forced to use standard tiling. You sir, have just earned your page a spot on my bookmarks.