I’m in the process of getting a bit into a) building houses and the landscapes surrounding them and b) trying to learn to create my own building instructions, so it’s not unwelcome when inspiration strikes and I come up with my own little challenges to learn the ropes, as it were.
The first of those is a typical standard large volume (around 450 liters) trash dumpster as you can find them in many European countries and of course in Germany. Each country has its own slight variation on those, but the basic shape is always the same. they uses to be made of zinc-coated metal, but these days most are made of plastic. They come pretty much in any color you can imagine, though the majority seems to be made in dark green and various shades of dark-ish greys up to full black.
The color of the lid indicates its contents. No extra color usually means mundane household trash whereas yellow and blue stand for recyclables, meaning packaging (tin, plastic, TetraPaks etc.) for the yellow one and paper for the blue one. In some regions you can also find other colors like orange for recycling electrical/ electronic devices.
To my surprise I couldn’t find many examples of this particular type on photos of LEGO, so this reaffirmed my intention to build one even further and I spent an evening dabbling around, scraping together elements from my still very limited collection. The biggest hold-up was experimenting with proportions, as I didn’t want it to look too massive, either, and be compatible in size with the standard minifigure scale and in turn thus anything from basic Creator buildings to City and Friends up to the Advanced Modular Buildings.
After I had figured out the structure and that the model could actually be built this way (I prefer to build physically first to avoid any surprises of digital concoctions not working in practice), turning it into a digital building instruction was another matter and say what you will, calling those LEGO “CAD” programs and the tools around them unsophisticated is doing them a kindness. In my line of work I’ve seen and used lots of CAD programs and thought I’d seen it all, but when it comes to LEGO some of those tools are just jarringly atrocious.
I pretty much tried all of them and then opted for LeoCAD, because at least it looks halfway decent and has snappy UI interaction. The same can by no means be said for LPub, the tool for turning your 3D model into a graphical booklet with pages and all that good stuff. Mind you, I’m not saying it doesn’t do what it’s advertised for, but it is slow as hog and not very safe and user-friendly. Turning a big custom Technic model into instructions could be a pretty daunting, time-consuming task. Anyway, I digress and shall save my thoughts on this for a separate article.
If you care to fancy up your little city or just prop um some empty back alley, you can download the instruction using the link below. Keep in mind that the actual colors don’t really matter that much as long as you have enough bricks of a given type to actually build it. If you have suggestions on how to improve the design, in particular making some connections a bit more sturdy, fire away in the comments.