how to turn an idea into a complete Lego set


In this article I would like to consider one interesting resource – lego ideas, and share his experience of publishing works on it. It is noteworthy that even if you don’t have a Lego constructor at hand, it’s not a problem. The main thing is to have a good imagination and love to collect designers (well, a computer will not hurt). I will also mention that the participant must be over 12 years old.

Website lego ideas, developed by The LEGO Group, allows users to submit their ideas for a prize draw, or even to fully release your idea as an official Lego set. As soon as I learned about this opportunity, my inspiration knew no bounds, and I began to figure it out.

In total, there are 3 types of participation on the site: Activities, Contests and product ideas.

  • Activities – simple exercises that are held almost every week and in which there are no prizes or winners. You can participate only to test your strength, or to warm up. Of greater interest are the following 2 competitions, for which you can already try.

  • Contests – full-fledged contests, which are held much less often and last about a month. They already have much more restrictions and requirements, which are described in the conditions of the competition itself. Contests are held in several stages: after the submission of works, the judge usually chooses a few that he likes. Then the voting stage begins, in which any registered user can vote for their favorite work. According to the voting results, winners are announced who receive valuable prizes (Lego sets, travel, or something else). It is noteworthy that there can usually be several winners. The main prize is taken by the one who took first place, and several others behind him – no less good prizes.

  • And finally product ideas – the most interesting and at the same time difficult competition. But the prize justifies itself. As the authors of the project themselves write:Product ideas take a long time to develop, you will have to promote your project and only the best will win hearts“. You can publish your idea at any time, after which any registered user can vote for your work. The goal is 10,000 votes, after which the idea will be reviewed by the Lego team. If the idea is approved, it will be released as an official set, and the author will receive one% from its sales and 10 copies the same set.

However, everything is not so simple here. Your published work will have limited time to gain votes. You have 60 days to get the first 100 votes. Upon reaching this mark, you will have to collect 1,000 votes in 365 days, then 5,000 in 182 days, and finally 10,000 in another 182 days. If you type some mark before the deadline date, the number of days will simply be added to those that remain. However, if time runs out, and the work does not have time to gain enough votes, the work is marked “Overdue” and is eliminated from the competition.

Publication of work

100 votes

1000 votes

5000 votes

10000 votes

60 days

+12 months

+6 months

+6 months

Expert review

The second caveat is that even after reaching 10,000 votes, the work can still be rejected by the Lego team. I have already seen several works that very quickly gained the coveted 10,000, but they were rejected for one reason or another. If the work is rejected, the Lego team will offer up to three LEGO products worth a total of $500 as a consolation prize.

Lego – Plants vs. Zombies

For a set of 10,000 votes, the work can be updated periodically (improve, change pictures, description and tags), but this can only be done once a month! In total, this whole process and waiting will take about two years, so if you decide to participate, you should be patient.

Kit Creation Toolkit

When I first learned about the opportunity to create my own sets and participate in Lego competitions, I was a little confused. All my children’s sets were left in another city, and even if they were, the necessary details would obviously not have been found for my ideas. I began to look for a program that would allow me to assemble sets from available Lego parts, and as a result I settled on Studio 2.0. (By the way, it is recommended on the Lego Ideas website as an alternative to a real assembly). This program does a great job: a library of all available Lego parts (that are currently being produced), a high-quality rendering of the resulting model, and even creating building instructions! (not for these contests, but the possibility is very interesting). On the same link there is a link to download the program PartDesigner, which complements the first program well with the ability to customize details. Thanks to it, you can overlay any image on the parts, create your own minifigures and import them directly into Studio 2.0.

Control and interface

The program interface is intuitive. Cursor control is very similar to similar programs for 3D modeling. Use the wheel to control the scale by holding PKM change angle, paintwork working with details and everything else. The list of parts is divided into groups, and they can be found in several ways: by group, by the name of the part itself (which will be remembered over time), by their size, or by part number.

Of the tools available rotation (“Hinge“”), cloning (“clone“”) and the movement available by clicking on the detail paintwork and selecting the move icon from the context menu. Tool “Connect» allows you to select the part of the part that you want to connect, and select another part available for connection.

Also of the interesting features is the function “collision”, which, when turned on, shows transparent those blocks that overlap each other. Having selected several parts, you can create a submodel by calling the context menu PKM. This will allow you to split a large model into smaller ones and later edit them separately, or move the entire group at once.

Studio 2.0 Toolkit

The last of the useful functions I will highlight “Render”, which allows you to select the desired angle and save the image of your model. Other features of the program can be read on the initial screen.

I note that in the list of parts on the right, if some part is marked with a yellow exclamation mark, it means that it is painted in a color that is not available to it in reality (not in production). And in this case, the part must be repainted in another available color. (There is a “Hide unavailable colors” checkbox in the color palette, which will hide all unavailable colors for this part). If, on the contrary, you obviously know the color you need and are looking for a part for this color, there is also a color palette to the right of the parts search, in which, when “Hide unavailable parts in the selected color” is turned on, the program will display only those parts that are available in the selected color.

Build Examples

After mastering the program, I asked myself, how can I collect those things that are already assembled in some set, or if I don’t know what some part is combined with? For these tasks, I found 2 useful sites:

  • By this link you can download the instructions for any Lego set that has been officially released before. On it, I looked for examples and similar models that helped me collect similar ideas. Why assemble a bike if it has already been assembled?) At the end of each instruction there is a list of parts that were used in the kit. Under each of them there is his number. And there is a nuance. In our program, you can search for parts by number, but by the number of the part itself. And in the assembly instructions, the part numbers of a certain color are indicated. That is, the base part has one number, and each color of the same part has other numbers. And this is where the second site came in handy.

  • – on it you can find a part in the search by the number from the instructions, then in the pop-up result go to the desired part and find out the number of the base part without color. This number can already be inserted into the program and find the part you need.

Thanks to the instructions, I saw how some parts interact with each other, how to add mechanisms and movements to the set, and so on. This greatly simplified the assembly process.

Search for ideas

Before the direct assembly of the idea, I want to discuss the idea itself. The Lego Ideas website has very strict rules for submitting work. In particular, the submission of works for many franchises is prohibited. I got so burned twice by collecting sets that are prohibited from submission due to copyright. Therefore, I propose the following method: if your idea is abstract, not related to any product (movies, video games, TV shows, etc.) – then feel free to choose the first option when submitting your work by selecting “No, it’s my original idea» (You can submit your work using this link.). If your idea is based on some kind of franchise, then before starting the collection, I strongly recommend checking whether it is allowed. To do this, you need to enter it in the second option “Yes, it’s based on an existing IP“. If it is marked with a green checkmark, everything is fine, you can be creative. If not, you need to come up with something else. In case the franchise is not found at all, you can submit your idea at your own risk. When reviewed, the moderators will determine if the franchise your idea is based on is allowed. And then how lucky.


Lego – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Chemical Plant Zone

After translating your idea into a 3D model, it’s time to render it and submit an application for consideration. I will describe a few things. In the render window itself, I recommend the “Photoreal” tab. Otherwise, you can choose the settings of your choice. You can adjust the camera angle, choose the background color, image size (I recommend setting it to more than 1280x720px). After selecting the settings, add the image to the render queue using the “Add to Queue”, and you can continue to choose other angles.

When you add all the necessary views to the queue, go to the Queue tab and click “Render Queue”. The rendering process will begin, which will take some time and computer resources.

Publication of work

To publish your work on the site, you need to come up with a title, description, tags and add pictures of your work. The minimum image size to upload is 1280x720px. Maximum file size – 5MB. Before publication, it is allowed to use Photoshop for color correction of images, resizing, etc. I also usually use arrows to indicate interactive elements that will actually move. But be careful here. Moderators do not like collages and any other extra design on your pictures, which is why your work may not be accepted the first time, but sent to you for revision, indicating the reason for the return. One work was returned to me 6 times, so I know what I’m talking about) It is necessary that nothing overlaps the model itself.

As for the textual information on your work, everything should be in English. So that open translator remember English, and create. As I mentioned earlier, the work can only be edited one month after publication.


In general, this is all I wanted to share. I will be glad if this article is useful to someone. This is my first post, so criticism is welcome. If it’s interesting, I’ll write the second part about creating model animations, drawing custom minifigures, and something else.

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