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tdhbr
Member Posts: **188**

A few days ago I was painstakingly stacking 1x2's to fill a holiday PaB box and started thinking about board-feet ... probably many of you know the (U.S.) construction and woodworking term "board-feet," which is a generalized method of determining the amount of wood needed for a project, regardless of type and size of board. Is there, or could there be, a comparable unit for Lego?

Let's use a 1x1 brick as the basic unit, and call it a "nominal brick" (or Nob?). Then a 1x2 brick is 2 Nobs, a 2x4 brick is 8 nobs, etc. A 1x1 plate is 1/3 Nob, a 1x3 plate is 1 Nob, a 2x6 plate is 4 Nobs. Get it?

So a wall that is 16 studs long, 1 stud wide, and 10 layers high is 160 Nobs. In theory, you could make that wall with (80) 1x2's, or (40) 1x4's, or (20) 1x8's (ignoring requirements of stability, aesthetics, windows, etc). Obviously, a lot of pieces would be difficult (or impossible) to categorize this way - minifigures & accessories, a lot of detail parts, some wings and slopes. But while Part Count ignores sizes of pieces, "Nobs" could give an idea of ... mass, maybe?

For example, 10197 Fire Brigade has 2,231 pieces, and 21010 Robie House has 2,276. FB is obviously better on overall cost and cost per piece, using RRP - but I'm sure it's far better if you compared "Nobs" since Robie is virtually all plates.

So ... does this make any kind of sense? Has anyone tried anything like this? And, most importantly, does anyone care? Feel free to just nod and smile, and ignore my rambling.

(By the way, most of you know that the holiday PaB box is 11 studs x 11 studs x 9 layers - which comes out to 1,089 Nobs. Meaning you could fit 1,089 1x1 bricks into that box, if you cared to spend an hour stacking them perfectly).

Let's use a 1x1 brick as the basic unit, and call it a "nominal brick" (or Nob?). Then a 1x2 brick is 2 Nobs, a 2x4 brick is 8 nobs, etc. A 1x1 plate is 1/3 Nob, a 1x3 plate is 1 Nob, a 2x6 plate is 4 Nobs. Get it?

So a wall that is 16 studs long, 1 stud wide, and 10 layers high is 160 Nobs. In theory, you could make that wall with (80) 1x2's, or (40) 1x4's, or (20) 1x8's (ignoring requirements of stability, aesthetics, windows, etc). Obviously, a lot of pieces would be difficult (or impossible) to categorize this way - minifigures & accessories, a lot of detail parts, some wings and slopes. But while Part Count ignores sizes of pieces, "Nobs" could give an idea of ... mass, maybe?

For example, 10197 Fire Brigade has 2,231 pieces, and 21010 Robie House has 2,276. FB is obviously better on overall cost and cost per piece, using RRP - but I'm sure it's far better if you compared "Nobs" since Robie is virtually all plates.

So ... does this make any kind of sense? Has anyone tried anything like this? And, most importantly, does anyone care? Feel free to just nod and smile, and ignore my rambling.

(By the way, most of you know that the holiday PaB box is 11 studs x 11 studs x 9 layers - which comes out to 1,089 Nobs. Meaning you could fit 1,089 1x1 bricks into that box, if you cared to spend an hour stacking them perfectly).

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## Comments

104It would be difficult to calculate without creating a database with the 'nob' value of every brick and linking it to a site that inventories every set but i am sure there are people out there who could whip something up.

Another idea could be to calculate how much water the set displaces, or simply the weight of the set, since almost all of the sets weight is ABS plastic and the common non ABS plastic parts such as wheels, metal rods, cloth or PF items could be assigned a different value.

860Also, the idea doesn't quite work, because some pieces have a lot more 'depth' but only have one or two studs - a 2x2 dark red plate has the same number of stads as a 2x2x3 dark red slope tile (a la Cafe Corner) but I think we could agree that the value is considerably different!

179As mr_benn points out, though, this measurement system doesn't take into account the inherent value of more rare pieces like, say, a 1x3 curved slope brick - it would have the same "value" as a 1x2 brick in this type of equation (with a degree of variation due to the curve itself) but a 1x3 curved slope brick is easily more inherently valuable than a 1x2 brick due to rarity and usefulness.

4,1291,071Actually, if you want to calculate value with more granularity than price per piece, you could easily calculate the al a carte price of a set. The market value of individual pieces is known since there is a market for that. The part lists of sets are readily available. It is rather trivial to link the two together.

188Just a couple follow-up comments - this was not intended as a way to calculate value of pieces themselves, just a companion comparison to Part Count. Also, it's not about counting studs, it's about the size of the piece(s) involved. We all know that (3) 2x2 plates stacked together = (1) 2x2 brick, so therefore a 2x2 plate is 1/3 the nominal unit of the brick. So a 2x6 plate, which equals (3) 2x2 plates, is also equivalent to a 2x2 brick.

Determing the nominal units of slopes shouldn't be that hard. A 45 degree 1x2 slope is more than a 1x1 brick and less than a 1x2 - so we can call it 1.5 nominal brick units (or whatever the term might be).

78To my thinking, a 1x3 plate does not equal a 1x1 brick, rather 3(1x1) plates do. So maybe the basic unit is the 1x1 plate (the smallest unit), rather than the 1x1 brick. But I like the "nob" name. Maybe flat? As in 3 stacked (1) flat = 1 nob.

I can see the value of it, as per your example, for some straight walls. Maybe develop a symbols-type Font or icons to capture > slopes, Y or K hooks, etc.

188872So 3X = 3Y but X not equal to Y?

I like the idea though