LEGO relies on a precise interlocking system, which ensures strength and reliability when assembling LEGO bricks. An illegal building technique is anything that compromises LEGO’s interlocking system. Using illegal techniques may damage your LEGO bricks, and it will reduce the strength of your project.
All is fair in love, war, and LEGO, right? Wrong! Some LEGO building techniques are illegal, so you’ll need to steer clear of them if you want to stay on the right side of LEGO law. If you’re wondering which building techniques you should avoid in your next LEGO creation, you can find them here.
What Is an Illegal LEGO Building Technique?
Before we tell you all the illegal LEGO building techniques, let’s talk about what we mean when we say “illegal.”
First of all, no LEGO police force will come and take you away when you use one of these techniques. Rather, the term “illegal” in this context refers to building techniques that don’t follow the LEGO company’s building guidelines.
Some common examples include using non-LEGO bricks in your LEGO builds and employing building methods that can damage your LEGO bricks and components.
Of course, some rebel builders can’t resist the forbidden fruit, so they use illegal techniques to create new and outside-the-box models. However, they do so at their own risk.
Why Are Certain LEGO Building Techniques Illegal?
If a LEGO police officer won’t come and take you away when you use an illegal building method, you might wonder why it’s a problem to use one of these prohibited techniques. You simply need to look at how LEGO products are created to learn the answer.
LEGO creates bricks and pieces that fit together tightly, so that they stay in place for play and display. Each LEGO piece has been measured, down to the millimeter, so that it precisely connects with the appropriate components.
If you modify the pieces or use them in “illegal” ways, it can compromise these precise measurements and LEGO’s interlocking system. As a result, your creations could fall apart. Not only can this be frustrating, but it can also be dangerous if larger structures collapse unexpectedly.
Illegal building techniques can also permanently warp and damage your LEGO components, leaving them useless and often voiding the warranty. When this happens, it’s a sad waste of both bricks and money.
What Are Examples of Illegal LEGO Building Techniques?
Now that you know why certain building methods are outlawed, you’re probably wondering what these techniques are. After all, how can you avoid (or exploit) them when you aren’t even aware of them?
The good news is we can tell you everything you need to know about illegal LEGO building techniques.
You might be tempted to try some DIY on your LEGO bricks to create a truly customized build, but if you do so, know that you’re getting into illegal territory. Drilling, gluing, taping, cutting, and painting your LEGO bricks and components can permanently damage them. As a result, it’s illegal to make these types of modifications.
Incorporating Third-Party Bricks
Bricks and pieces from brands like MEGA and Kre-O look similar to LEGO products, so you may be tempted to use them together. However, these brands are not designed to work with LEGO bricks.
This means that using them in your LEGO builds can result in structures that aren’t as secure or long lasting. For this reason, using alternative construction bricks is an illegal LEGO building technique. This doesn’t stop some builders from mixing and matching their bricks, though.
Applying Excessive Force
When it comes to LEGO builds, you want the force to be with you. At the same time, you don’t want to use too much of it. Applying too much pressure to LEGO pieces when you’re building is illegal because it can break your bricks.
If you find your pieces aren’t going together easily, there’s a good chance you’re going about it wrong. Instead of using more muscle, take a minute and use some brain power to rethink your build and technique.
Wedging Bricks Together
Sometimes, you get stuck on a LEGO build and think the perfect solution is to stick a LEGO plate between the studs of another LEGO brick or element. However, this LEGO building technique is illegal because a plate is a bit too thick to fit between the studs without causing damage.
You can, however, place a LEGO tile between the studs of a brick or plate because it is thinner. Official LEGO sets like the Empire State Building and the Haunted House even employ this building method.
And speaking of wedging pieces together, it makes sense to discuss another type of wedging that’s illegal in the world of LEGO. When Technic and LEGO pieces are combined in certain ways, it can result in excessive pressure on the components. For example, using a regular Technic pin in a round 1×1 LEGO brick doesn’t allow the pin to properly expand. LEGO created new pieces that work better in these types of builds, so you should use them in these situations instead.
Creating Two-Sided Bricks
You’ve probably encountered situations where you wished for a double-sided LEGO brick. You may have even seen techniques to create one yourself. However, many of these hacks are illegal LEGO building techniques. For example, it’s illegal to create two-sided bricks using elements like axles, triangular pieces, tiles, and even those little LEGO flowers.
Why? Joining two bricks in this way can add stress that can bend or break the elements.
Building Transparent Structures
When you look at transparent LEGO bricks, you might envision creating an entirely see-through building. However, before you start your LEGO build, keep in mind that using transparent LEGO pieces to build structures is illegal.
LEGO isn’t trying to destroy your creative vision. Instead, this technique is illegal because clear bricks and plates aren’t as strong as regular LEGO components.
Building a Roof With Weight on It
No LEGO building is complete without a roof, right? While this is true, you should avoid creating LEGO roofs that have weight on them. Two examples include putting a chimney directly on your roof and placing multiple LEGO components on your roof to create the look of shingles.
Simply put, LEGO pieces are just not designed to withstand the force of this type of build. If you decide that your roof needs features like a chimney, know that adding one directly to the roof is illegal and can damage your LEGO pieces. You also shouldn’t expect your roof to hold up under the pressure.
Making Circular Structures
There’s something in all LEGO builders that makes us want to make round builds out of square and rectangular bricks. It’s probably why The Globe is such a popular LEGO model. While there are legitimate and fully legal ways to make circular structures (like using bricks with curved slopes), there are some building techniques you should avoid when making circles. These include using LEGO tracks and 1×2 bricks. These techniques add too much pressure and stress to the elements in a circular build.
If any of these illegal LEGO building techniques sound too cool to resist, you can incorporate them into your next build. While no LEGO police officer will arrest you, you’ll still want to proceed with caution for the sake of your bricks.