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Lego Building Instructions

I am an adult builder and have built over 180 sets over the last 20+ years. One constant issue I have had are the building instructions, specifically distinguishing the different piece colors. Additionally identifying the pieces in the instruction insert, are at times very difficult. I have called Customer Service twice and sent three emails to customer service over the years and always received the same response. “We will pass your concern to management”. I was wondering if other members of the Brickset community have had the same issues. Thank you.

Comments

  • HugeBlueBrickHugeBlueBrick At my PCMember Posts: 30
    Colours are sometimes difficult depending on the lighting conditions. I now have a 'daylight' torch to hand when building.
    bluecreekken
  • GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO FloridaMember Posts: 236
    When I first get and build a set the color issue in the instructions are not a problem but when rebuilding I have to find the parts in my storage and then it gets difficult. Recently built #60253 Ice Cream Truck for the second or third time and was half way through it when I found I was using the wrong shade of blue. Had to go back and remove the wrong ones and put the right shade in ... tedious and totally due to the coloring in the instruction booklet. It would be nice also if the number of studs (length) in each piece was noted. I have considered writing in in on some of my booklets.
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 2,377
    I occasionally make a note in the instructions identifying a color, especially if the set's parts are likely to get mixed with another's. 
    bluecreekken
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,105
    I have also had issues with this in the past, especially with the dark colors.  (And stick with me here, this is a bit of a longer post :P ) Like @HugeBlueBrick I found that having a brighter light on hand would be very helpful for those situations.  Because of that, and the fact that I tend to do lots of things at my desk, I ended up just doing some basic research around the best ways to set up my workspace, and what I found is that I had far too little on my work area.  I didn't notice it that much, as it's not like I don't have decent lights in the room, but they really aren't focused on my desk.  I actually got a light meter to see just how dim my desktop was, and I was shocked to find that I was only getting 80 lumens.  (For reference, a 40W incandescent bulb with put out more than 5 times that amount of light.  A standard 60W bulb puts out 10 times that amount.)

    Anyways, as an outcome of that I got some webcam stands and universal movement joint arms, and rigged them up with some (relative to what's out there) very cheap LED light panels intended for photography/video.  These are great because they generally are pretty small and light, very adjustable, give off good directional light (we're trying to light the desk/workspace, not the rest of the room!), and if you pick right, will have very good ( >95) CRI, or color rendering index, meaning that items shown under these lights should look at or very very close to the colors that they actually are.  It's made an absolute world of difference for me.

    So, I'm not saying for sure that lighting is your issue, but I am saying that it's definitely worth checking out.  Even if you think you have good lighting conditions (even good natural light for a relatively close window!) it's actually easier than you think to be lacking good light in the space that you're actually working.  A good indication on if lighting may be having an effect on you would be taking your phone out at your workspace, and looking at the instructions/pieces that you are trying to differentiate by using your phones very bright flashlight functionality.  If it helps you to tell the colors apart, then improving your lighting will 100% help you, even if it doesn't solve the problem entirely.
    pxchris560HeliportbluecreekkendaewooBobflipdrdavewatfordsklamb
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,252
    Due to my age, bad lighting and the amount of greys involved in building a lot of the Star Wars ships that are the largest part of my collection, I've also had this issue with some of the instructions produced and have often wondered how much extra work would be involved to put the element ID's in the little boxes that tell you which parts are required for a particular section of a build. Every (modern) instruction booklet has a parts list at the rear of the book so it could be used as a quick reference to check that the correct colour is being used.
    560Heliportbluecreekken
  • bluecreekkenbluecreekken TexasMember Posts: 4
    Thank you for your suggestions.  Going to research  'daylight'  light blubs.  
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 605
    Fizyx said:
    I have also had issues with this in the past, especially with the dark colors.  (And stick with me here, this is a bit of a longer post :P ) Like @HugeBlueBrick I found that having a brighter light on hand would be very helpful for those situations.  Because of that, and the fact that I tend to do lots of things at my desk, I ended up just doing some basic research around the best ways to set up my workspace, and what I found is that I had far too little on my work area.  I didn't notice it that much, as it's not like I don't have decent lights in the room, but they really aren't focused on my desk.  I actually got a light meter to see just how dim my desktop was, and I was shocked to find that I was only getting 80 lumens.  (For reference, a 40W incandescent bulb with put out more than 5 times that amount of light.  A standard 60W bulb puts out 10 times that amount.)

    Anyways, as an outcome of that I got some webcam stands and universal movement joint arms, and rigged them up with some (relative to what's out there) very cheap LED light panels intended for photography/video.  These are great because they generally are pretty small and light, very adjustable, give off good directional light (we're trying to light the desk/workspace, not the rest of the room!), and if you pick right, will have very good ( >95) CRI, or color rendering index, meaning that items shown under these lights should look at or very very close to the colors that they actually are.  It's made an absolute world of difference for me.

    So, I'm not saying for sure that lighting is your issue, but I am saying that it's definitely worth checking out.  Even if you think you have good lighting conditions (even good natural light for a relatively close window!) it's actually easier than you think to be lacking good light in the space that you're actually working.  A good indication on if lighting may be having an effect on you would be taking your phone out at your workspace, and looking at the instructions/pieces that you are trying to differentiate by using your phones very bright flashlight functionality.  If it helps you to tell the colors apart, then improving your lighting will 100% help you, even if it doesn't solve the problem entirely.
    You got links to the parts? I currently use 2 desk lamps to light my desk from both sides but that kinda build is my jam. Saw Adam Savage build something potentially similar
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,105
    Bobflip said:
    You got links to the parts? I currently use 2 desk lamps to light my desk from both sides but that kinda build is my jam. Saw Adam Savage build something potentially similar

    Actually, his one-day build for his shop lights on Tested, and the year end favorite things video by Norm on Tested is where I got both the idea and the parts suggestions for the arms themselves!  I have 3 lights set up now.  Each one is held up by an 11" magic arm on the end of a sturdy webcam stand.  I like that particular webcam stand (which is also the same one Norm recommended) because it has a 5 pound capacity, which is higher than most of the other ones I've seen.  I took the ball joint off the end to attach the magic arm for the last little bit of range and adjustability.  I actually have mine set up at my desk, since I do most of my building there, in front of the computer. (Probably not healthy, I know, don't judge me!)  So I have the lights actually coming up over the monitor from behind the desk.  You could probably get away with not having the magic arms if you didn't do this, but that extra 11" of movement can come in handy.

    Now, one downside of this kind of solution compared to, say, Adam's solution, is that the total weight capacity is probably around 3 pounds for the lights themselves, and that limits you pretty heavily to smaller, more mobile lights.  That said, the 3 I have put out 400 lux at .5 meters (which is about the height above my desk they are), and while that is definitely not bright as far as photography and video lights go, it's pretty dang good for light on the desk.  It's absolutely the best light I've ever had on a desk, at the very least, and having a 3 nice, diffuse light sources from three directions is fantastic, as it minimizes shadows from my hands and other things while I'm working.  (I have one light directly overhead, one about a foot to a foot and a half to the right, pointing down and to the left, and one the same distance to the left, pointing down and to the right.)  Here are the lights I ended up going with.  I will say up front, these are pricey and you can certainly get cheaper ones and make it work with no issue!  I went for these in particular because I really like the versatility with color and intensity adjustment, AND I can control all three together, at the same time, with my phone.  That ability is definitely pretty overkill for something that I use while I'm sitting at my desk, but it's also nice to just open the app and control without having to turn each one off and on and change any settings I want to shift that day individually.  You could probably pretty easily shave off maybe as much as $30-$40 per light if you go with a cheaper light with fewer features and less adjustability.  I would say the most important things are you will definitely want a high CRI (it should be above 90 at an absolute minimum, and preferably above 95), and personally I find the high color temp lights generally better for working with, although I do know some people prefer to stay away from daylight color temps, which I absolutely disagree with :P  If you do want daylight, you'll want to make sure the light go up to at least 6500k color temp.

    Anyways, that's the heart of my setup, but I also wrapped it up by getting a powered USB-C hub. (The lights themselves use USB-C, which was another positive in my eyes, as I'd like to move away from microUSB any time I can. USB-C is the future!) I also got some cables, and I have the hub situated at a strategic (read, out of sight) place at the back of the desk, with the cables zip-tied to the arms with the lights on them then routed to the hub, so that I don't have to worry about the battery charge on the lights/plugging them in/running out of juice etc since they are always plugged in.  This is a little extra step that you don't need if you're willing to take the lights down and charge them when necessary, but I was really going for as hands-off/no interaction a setup as I could get.  (Final note if you do this:  Make sure the lights you get can be used while they are plugged in.  Especially in some cheaper lights, if you are charging them you can't use them at the same time.)

    Final note:  This is NOT as versatile or easily adjustable as Adam's lighting solution, but it's also been super solid for me, and unlike Adam I don't often find myself needing to move or adjust the lights, so once I had them set in place I also didn't need the crazy amount of easy adjustability as Adam has in his build.  I have a feeling that most of us are the same... we generally build in the same place, and rarely would actually need to really move the lights around as much as someone in a workshop like Adam does.  If you find you DO need to move lights and need a high level of very easy adjustability, and potentially brighter lights, I suggest watching Adam's One Day Build for Shop Lighting for a more involved solution!
    KungFuKennyBobflip
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,105
    edited January 29
    I suppose I could also include a picture.  The monitors are blurred because they have some client info up right now.  The keyboard is blurred because the lighting is good enough to expose just how gross it is in a way my other lights never could.  And yes, I know everything needs a good dusting and wipe down, but I've got too much LEGO stuff to do instead!
    Most important note though:  This picture was taken without any other light sources providing light, ambient or otherwise. You'll notice just how directional the light is if you look... the good, bright portions of it hardly extend out from the front of the desk by more than a couple of inches, and almost none of the direct light is wasted on things like lighting the storage area the desk backs up to.  Personally, I'm super happy with the results.

    pxchrissklambBobflip
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 605
    Thanks for the write up! Had seen that Tested video a couple of years back and been tempted to eventually build one. Will be wanting the movability though, as I do various electronic/modification things and really liked the ability to aim it directly and closely at a area that needs it. Currently using two desk lamps, turning the second on when I need more illumination and shadows would be a hinderance.
    Fizyx
  • bluecreekkenbluecreekken TexasMember Posts: 4
    I purchased two daylight LED light bulbs for my work area desk lamps.  A definite improvement.  Thanks for all the positive feedback.  
    Fizyx
  • PisceanPetPisceanPet UKMember Posts: 38
    I tried every light going and still couldn't see the Dark Brown pieces in the new black background instructions!!  I am now using the instructions app on my tablet and I can see that much better and zoom in when I'm stuggling.
    eMJeeNLFizyxdrdavewatfordKungFuKenny
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