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Lego Digital Designer, LDraw, MLCad, and other software


TheOrcKing
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This thread is basically meant as a way to keep track of LEGO's own free CAD program called Digital Designer (LDD for short) and all the other kinds of digital software used for building models digitally. Whenever there is an update on LDraw for example, I shall make a note here to bring attention to the news. Feel free to ask any question you may have in regards to each bit of software.

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  • 7 months later...
Guest brickcrazyhouse

Didn't know where to ask and this kinda fit.  After making something on LDD is there away to get a part list with quantity of each piece ?

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Didn't know where to ask and this kinda fit.  After making something on LDD is there away to get a part list with quantity of each piece ?

I apologize for taking a while to respond; just wanted to make sure I had the right answers. The short of it, YES, you can make a complete parts list for anything designed in LDD. Let's say you already have the program opened with a model loaded.

1.) Go into Building Guide Mode by clicking the farthest button on the top right hand side.

2.) Now click on the Generate HTML Building Guide button on the opposite side.

3.) A small window will come up asking Select Directory to save the files. Pick a folder then press OK.

4.) Get a snack cause the process can take a while depending on the size and complexity of the build. :read:

5.) When the compile is done, the newly generated set of instructions will open up in a web browser as a page. At the bottom of this page there are four arrow icons. Click the second one on the right that looks like >>> as it will take you to the very last page which is the parts list showing every different piece used with their exact quantity. (You can view the generated building instructions offline if you need to.)

If you want a list to work with Bricklink there is a program called LDD Manager. Please note the software needs MS Access 2003 or higher to work and I have not used either program myself.

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  • 3 months later...

Did a random check and LDD has been updated to version 4.3.8 now. No idea if anything massive has been changed but I can only surmise some new parts have been added to the mix as usual. I know the previous update had a ton of Collectable Minifigures pieces as well as Legends of Chima parts. Maybe this time Lego added stuff from the Friends line? Sure would be nice for some of my project ideas if they did.

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Well, I updated to the latest version of LDD and looks like my wish of Friends accessories was answered. :) It would appear version 4.3.8 added all the pets like the Series 4 penguin and rest of the odd bits from the Friends line such as the tiny cupcake and baking pan, accessories from Series 11 of the Collectable Minifigures, I think some random stuff from Legends of Chima like the Scorpion and Spider tribes, and a few new 'common' bricks. Unfortunately, I did not or could not find this new dome part thingy in there or the 2x2 circle tile with a hole in the middle. Perhaps next update then, eh? I'm also wondering when are they going to implement the Friends minidolls? I mean, they already have most of the hairpieces and everything else in there separately.

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  • 2 months later...

Okay, here is an odd scenario. While the current version of LDD remains to be v4.3.8, there is an update to the list of parts for the program something like v1392. Supposedly you simply just load up the program as usual and let it check for updates. Word of warning, some people are having problems trying to get the software to update at all or when it does the color palette is messed up in available choices.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a different kind of software I just heard about called BlueBrick. Being more than simply another LEGO CAD program, it's primary function is a layout editor to help us adult fans better plan a small city or massive train setup. I haven't used it myself but it appears easily functional and has some good features such as a "budget" system to help limit the amount of parts that can be used towards a project.

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  • 2 months later...

For everyone who uses LDD wanting to make better building instructions then here is an early beta for a program meant to do just that over at Eurobricks simply titled "Blueprint". I haven't had a chance to try it out myself but the preview images show a promising start I think. It does have its limits but is being worked on as I type this and I am sure any feedback you could provide the author would be beneficial.

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  • 9 months later...

Well here is some bad news floating around the net (yet I frustratingly still cannot find the source statement; only news clippings about it). The free to use software Lego Digital Designer (LDD) will be seeing even less updates than before which now only shall be for elements over program patches. LEGO will continue support for the CAD software however only in its current functionality at version 4.3.8.

I imagine with much attention directed towards LEGO Worlds, Dimensions, etcetera, this was bound to get the boot eventually although I was hoping it would have been for a newer modeler program or something. I don't always build digitally but when I do I use LDD. I tried LDraw, MLCad, LeoCAD, yadda yadda, and they just frustrate me with trying to add a piece into the project let alone moving it around. I could probably get used to those in due time but good grief; it took me a while to get the hang of everything LDD offered which was a lot. Not perfect but reliably stable and intuitive.

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13 minutes ago, TheOrcKing said:

Well here is some bad news floating around the net (yet I frustratingly still cannot find the source statement; only news clippings about it). The free to use software Lego Digital Designer (LDD) will be seeing even less updates than before which now only shall be for elements over program patches. LEGO will continue support for the CAD software however only in its current functionality at version 4.3.8.

I imagine with much attention directed towards LEGO Worlds, Dimensions, etcetera, this was bound to get the boot eventually although I was hoping it would have been for a newer modeler program or something. I don't always build digitally but when I do I use LDD. I tried LDraw, MLCad, LeoCAD, yadda yadda, and they just frustrate me with trying to add a piece into the project let alone moving it around. I could probably get used to those in due time but good grief; it took me a while to get the hang of everything LDD offered which was a lot. Not perfect but reliably stable and intuitive.

You should reconsider MLCad (LDraw is not a CAD program but rather a collection of shape definitions that form the LEGO part library). It has a steep learning curve, but if you follow the excellent tutorials here: http://www.holly-wood.it/mlcad/basic1-en.html you will start getting the hang of it quite quickly and never look back. I started with MLCad last year and after having done a few MOCs, I am very "at ease" with it - those initial guides gave me the right tips & tricks. I combine my MLCad building with making instructions in LPub, and get very satisfactory results. The only watchout I still need to remind myself of is to check for duplicate brick placement every now and then (two identical bricks in the same location) because unlike LDD, MLCad does not do collision detection.

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  • 5 months later...

Bringing up an old thread...

Last month, I decided to break out LDD and design a new iPhone stand from something that was just floating around my head.  Spent a couple weeks designing it (it was pretty detailed). Happy with my design, I went ahead and exported the parts list and ordered everything.  Built the thing and success!  I was pretty happy with the way it came out.

The only disappointing thing was the build instructions.  LDD doesn't make it easy to build with it, does it?  There were times that pieces were placed in hidden spots so I couldn't quite figure out where something went.  It didn't help that it was an MOC so the only point of reference was my own work!  But it sure was fun to use and put together.

I'm actually pretty excited to try my hand at it again, for a couple of different things.  I want to do a revised Classic Space set, and I want to create some parade floats for my Disney CMFs to stand on.

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27 minutes ago, Alpinemaps said:

Bringing up an old thread...

Last month, I decided to break out LDD and design a new iPhone stand from something that was just floating around my head.  Spent a couple weeks designing it (it was pretty detailed). Happy with my design, I went ahead and exported the parts list and ordered everything.  Built the thing and success!  I was pretty happy with the way it came out.

The only disappointing thing was the build instructions.  LDD doesn't make it easy to build with it, does it?  There were times that pieces were placed in hidden spots so I couldn't quite figure out where something went.  It didn't help that it was an MOC so the only point of reference was my own work!  But it sure was fun to use and put together.

I'm actually pretty excited to try my hand at it again, for a couple of different things.  I want to do a revised Classic Space set, and I want to create some parade floats for my Disney CMFs to stand on.

Pics or it didn't happen. :) (Please) 

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4 minutes ago, Alpinemaps said:

Okay, I'll post. :)  I also posted these to Reddit, I'll admit it.

 

Seeeeeack! (That's an elongated sick!) Awesome stuff, having no time to see movies with 3 kids under 6, this strikes me as something from B Vs. S? (Which I have yet to see) :) I think I can gather that much tho. Love the placement of Superman. I need a couple of those clear long guys to portray things like that....great work. 

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3 minutes ago, midbenne said:

Seeeeeack! (That's an elongated sick!) Awesome stuff, having no time to see movies with 3 kids under 6, this strikes me as something from B Vs. S? (Which I have yet to see) :) I think I can gather that much tho. Love the placement of Superman. I need a couple of those clear long guys to portray things like that....great work. 

Thanks!  Yes, it's a scene from BvS.  I won't spoil anything.  But, there's a scene like that in the movie (it's seen in the trailer), where Batman and Superman and the Batsignal are on top of a building.  I really liked the LEGO set, and I liked the rooftop scene, and thought that would be fun to recreate as an iPhone docking station.  I just couldn't find anything else online that I liked for a docking station so I built my own.

edit to add:  I really wanted Superman to be flying, so that stick was mandatory.

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