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Best way to buy lots of specific pieces to complete many sets?

I'm winding down the exhausting process of sorting ~60lbs of unsorted Lego (without manuals) into the sets they came from. (Sets ranging from 2002 - 2013.)

Unfortunately, and not unexpectedly, I am missing quite a few pieces. Some sets need just a few common parts, others need a lot of less common fidgety parts.

Between Bricklink and Pick a Brick online store, I'm sure all the parts are available somewhere. That said, 20 different purchases to find everything I need will ruin me with shipping charges.

Has anyone written a tool that takes a list of missing bricks and calculates the cheapest way to acquire them all? If not, does anyone have any tactics to tackle the problem efficiently? What about a simple tool to calculate which parts are most rare, so I can look for stores that sell the rare parts as they likely sell a lot of the common ones too?



  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    alternatively, build a wanted list in bricklink.

    1) start with the most rare and/or expensive pieces, and using trial and error find the right store to order those from. add other common pieces from the same store, so long as their prices on those aren't way out of line for items you need many of. paying $0.25 instead of $0.10 isn't a big deal if you only need 5, but if it's hundreds, then you are better off buying from another store, even if it means another set of shipping charges. remove purchased items from your want list
    2) repeat step 1 for the remaining rare/expensive items.
    3) use the "by shop" feature to find stores that have a high amount of items you want. compare prices among those stores, as well as minimum buys, add on charges, and other fees.
    4) place order from the store that has the best combination of selection and price. remove purchased items from your wanted list
    5) repeat step 4 until all items on your list are ordered.

    This isn't necessarily going to give you the absolute chepeast solution, but you can get "close enough" for the time spent. it's more art than hard science.
  • henrysunsethenrysunset Member Posts: 242
    I hope that Matlab solution is something that still works and I'm able to get up and running. It seems like the ideal solution!

    Thanks for the ideas!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,896
    If you are after smaller number of lots of parts, @dougts solution is often more efficient.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,782
    IMO Only use LEGO Replacement part or Pick a brick site if you need new condition parts.
    If the sets in this lot are old and you use new parts it may look iffy especially due to shading differences or sun wear on the brick. (especially since there may be sets that use light grey and dark grey before the bluish grey color started being used by LEGO)
    If they are all used sets, i would say avoid LEGOs site and use BL.
  • brickgrrlbrickgrrl Member Posts: 6
    Brickowl has some nice tools for shopping a wishlist across multiple stores - not quite as many sellers as BL for some parts, but it's easy to import a wishlist and check it out.
  • brickgrrlbrickgrrl Member Posts: 6
    Sorry.. meant to add: the ability to see what you're going to pay in shipping up front means that you can pick out the seller who wants $1 to ship a couple parts from the mix of sellers who want $3, which sometimes offsets any savings to be had from shopping in the BL marketplace with more sellers.

    Disclosure: I buy on both sites, sell on neither. ;)
  • henrysunsethenrysunset Member Posts: 242
    edited January 2014
    I couldn't get the scripts to work with Octave (free Matlab clone), but it works great with the full Matlab software.

    It looks like I can easily get the ~100 pcs I need so far for under 20$ (using a total of 3 vendors).

    Awesome, thanks all!
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