22 illegal LEGO techniques to break the mould, literally

Illegal LEGO techniques will have you breaking the mould in more than one way. While some will go a long way at enhancing your LEGO MOCs, quite a few of them are going to put the longevity of your bricks at risk.

Illegal LEGO techniques you should avoid

Sideways Brick Stacking

Stacking bricks sideways or at non-standard angles is not intended by their design.

Over-Stressing Bricks

Bending or twisting pieces in ways that stress the plastic.

Cutting or Modifying Bricks

Physically altering LEGO bricks by cutting, drilling, or reshaping.

Brick Sandwiching

Forcing a tile or brick between the studs of two other bricks, causing pressure.

Half-Stud Offset

Using methods to offset bricks by half a stud, leads to alignment and structural issues.

Improper Connections

Connecting bricks in ways that aren’t mechanically sound or intended, like attaching a brick sideways to a baseplate.

Overlapping Plates

Overlapping plates without a complete stud-and-tube connection.

Forced Tube and Stud Mismatch

Connecting studs and tubes that don’t match in size or shape.

Clipping Bricks to Flex Tubes

Clipping bricks directly onto flexible tubes or hoses.

Tension-Based Connections

Using the flexibility of LEGO bricks to create tension or compression connections.

Non-Standard Angles

Creating angles that aren’t naturally supported by LEGO’s standard geometry.

Unintended Element Usage

For example, using a minifigure hand to grip the side of a tile.

Excessive Brick Jamming

Forcing bricks together in a way that they become extremely difficult to separate.

Gravity-Dependent Structures

Building structures where bricks are held together primarily by gravity or in unsupported ways.

Unsupported Overhangs

Extending bricks or plates beyond a supported base, risking breakage.

Inserting Non-LEGO Objects

Using non-LEGO items to connect or support LEGO structures.

Unusual Rod and Hole Combinations

Inserting rods into spaces not designed for them, like minifigure hands or brick undersides.

Interlocking Adjacent Plates

Interlocking plates by offsetting them in a manner that causes tension.

Brick Wedging

Forcing a brick into a space slightly too small for it, causing stress on surrounding pieces.

Using Bricks as Bending Elements

Bending elements like plates or thin bricks in an arc.

Flexing Baseplates

Bending baseplates to create hills or uneven terrain, which can lead to damage.

Misaligning Joints

Intentionally misaligning Technic pins and holes to create unusual angles or connections.

What are the rules of LEGO?

If you’re planning to create a legitimate MOC, or you’re planning to submit a LEGO Ideas build to the company – you’re going to need to pay close attention to how these rules play out.

Standard Connections

Bricks should be connected using their studs and tubes in standard ways that ensure stability and compatibility with other pieces. This means avoiding techniques that stress the bricks or are not mechanically sound.

Maintaining Structural Integrity

Builds should be structurally sound. This involves using appropriate techniques and bricks to ensure that creations are sturdy and can withstand handling without collapsing.

Following Set Instructions (for Official Sets)

When building official LEGO sets, following the provided instructions is recommended to achieve the intended design. This is especially important for beginners or those looking to recreate the specific model designed by LEGO.

Plates are not allowed between studs

One of the illegal building techniques listed above covers this in-depth, though you’re strictly not allowed to place thin plates between the ridges of studs. They are not secured in place by the proper Systems in Play.

No Modification of Bricks

Modifying LEGO bricks by cutting, drilling, painting, or glueing is generally discouraged, especially in the purist LEGO building community.

Using LEGO-Approved Parts Only

For purists, only official LEGO parts should be used in builds. This excludes third-party or custom pieces.

No Permanent Changes

LEGO building is about the ability to build, unbuild, and rebuild. Permanent changes like glueing pieces together are generally against the spirit of LEGO building.

Technic Pins need full Insertion

You’re not allowed to put Technic pins into Technic bricks without them clicking into place. This allows the pin to flare without putting pressure onto the inside of the brick, and it locks it into place properly.

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