General building tips and tricks

Here are some tips for building with basic LEGO bricks, beams, and axles.

Building a sturdy structure

1. Use interconnecting bricks. When you interconnect your bricks, the structure will not fall apart when you move it.

guide 1

2.  Flick Test: Test the durability of your structure with a simple flick of your finger. If the structure falls apart, look at the structure you built and see what was the    weakest point. Try to mend this problem simply. This step should be repeated throughout the building process.



3.  Drop Test: Finally, test your project by dropping it (knee high, waist high, chest high) to the ground. Making this into a competition is often fun for children to see who can build the strongest structure, but make sure that you discuss why the structure that won was strong. Also be sure to take some pictures before conducting this test, as losing work is often tragic if you do not have any sort of back up.


In order to sufficiently brace your structure, use 2x plates to keep the structure square. Also using black connectors with friction or gray connectors will help to keep your beams together.



Each stud on the plate or beam acts like a finger gripping an object – the more fingers you have touching the part, the better your grip on that object.



Bracing with beams

Black connector pegs are used when you do not want the beams to slide back and forth and you want the structure to remain square. Gray connector pegs do not have friction so they slide more easily within the hole in a beam. Using connector pegs keeps beams connected firmly together without adding any bulk to the top or bottom of the beam structure.



Bracing with beams, example 1:



Bracing with beams, example 2:



Changing axis

There are many ways to accomplish this. The following are some examples of how to change axis:

Bevel gear



Crown Gear




Toggle joint




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The Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) in Boston, Massachusetts, is dedicated to improving engineering education in the classroom, from Kindergarten to college. The Center houses faculty, staff, and graduate students from engineering disciplines and the education department.

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