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How to Avoid Losing Pieces?

BrickchapBrickchap AustraliaMember Posts: 819
It's happened again. That thing that plagues us all when building. You put down a piece and it disappears! Or it is accidentally bumped off the table and you can't find it, or you push something together only for it to explode, the pieces go flying and also disappear.

This just happened to me and like Samuel L Jackson's character at the end of John Wick 3: "I am really pissed off"

So, what strategies do people have to mitigate these issues?

I was building in an area unusually free from any Lego pieces (it's all been packed away and I was just swapping some pieces from one MOC to another). The floor was also relatively clear but the piece I've lost is gone forever!

I have heard of non-Lego modellers tucking a serviette, piece of cloth, dishtowel etc. between themselves (when seated at a table) and the table so that any pieces that roll or fall off simply go into the cloth and can be easily retrieved instead of bouncing/rolling away on the floor.
This isn't always practical however, especially if it's just a quick MOC or seeing if something works.

Any ideas?

Comments

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,307
    Use a tray or have a build area with a lip on the table edge.

    Wooden floor instead if carpet.
    Brickchapautolycus
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,220
    Use a white table with nothing on it, don't have anything on the floor nearby, don't knock stuff off the table, don't be all thumbs and make stuff explode.

    :)
    Astrobricksscottdd2iwybsdavetheoxygenmanFizyx
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,307
    Build in a Zorb ball.

    eMJeeNLBrainsluggedandhelowleaddavetheoxygenman
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,760
    edited June 20
    I use a white bedsheet spread out on the floor when building from bulk lots, allows me to spread out the parts, plenty of room to build, and easy to pack up. Only real drawback is getting myself back up off the floor...
    560HeliportBrickchapeggshen
  • pxchrispxchris Oregon, USAMember Posts: 1,926
    I typically like to build on a tray with a lip. I've found this one from Ikea to be a good option for me.
    AstrobricksBrickchapdavetheoxygenmanFizyx
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,704
    Until you lean on the lip and catapult all the pieces... :D

    Also build barefoot (not with your feet...), you will instantly step on any piece you drop.
    scottdd2pxchrisautolycusCCCBrickchapGrannyLEGO
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,080
    andhe said:
    Until you lean on the lip and catapult all the pieces... :D

    Also build barefoot (not with your feet...), you will instantly step on any piece you drop.
    I have done both of these... and catapult is definitely the right word!
    andheAstrobricksBrickchap
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 3,237
    I employ my children to look for pieces. Their eyes are closer to the ground, so it makes sense.
    PJ76ukBrickchapBumblepants
  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 1,242
    I put all the pieces in small organizer bins. I also often do all of the building inside of a shipping box that has 3" high sides and no top. Works like a tray but with extra-tall sides.

    Hardwood floors definitely help because you can hear which direction a piece bounces if it does end up off the table.

    Catapulting of a box/tray full of pieces is both very exciting and extremely frustrating. Mostly frustrating.
    560HeliportAstrobricksBrickchap
  • PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 225
    I build on a table and keep pieces in washed out plastic trays from frozen dinners.  (They stack, so I can store them easily and then pull out one for every bag...or for bags within bags.)  Sometimes I build on the dining room table and other times I build in the unfinished basement where the Lego is stored and displayed.  When I build upstairs, I make sure the air conditioning vents in the floor are closed just in case something falls.

    I've always lived by an unwritten rule which I've passed on to my son that Lego does not leave the house.  We never take it outside and it doesn't go in the car.  That's just asking for trouble.
    GrannyLEGO
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,307
    How to Avoid Losing Pieces?

    Don't open the boxes!
    PJ76ukCymbelineBumblepantsiwybs
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,163
    I used to do a lot of sorting in a room with hardwood flooring. If I dropped a piece I couldn’t immediately find, one of my cats would eventually dig it out in a day or two :)
    560HeliportBrickchap
  • BrickchapBrickchap AustraliaMember Posts: 819
    All good suggestions! Strangely although the floor is wooden I never heard the piece drop. One moment I was taking it off a headlight brick, the next it had just disappeared.

    Currently I'm working with all sorted pieces however naturally you start to have random pieces lying around as you work on the MOC. (in my case transferring parts between a vintage ambulance made out of the modern ambulance in the 2018 hospital, a 1960s British police van made out of the 2011 police van I think it was, and the latest Great Vehicles ice cream truck.) I had all three sitting on the table with parts scavanged from each other. I prised my rear view mirror build off a headlight brick in order to replace the white headlight brick I needed with a Technic 1x1 brick with pin hole and the rear view mirror build just disappeared! (it's a dark grey 1x1 stud attached to a cup holder I think they call it, that piece often used for rear view mirrors on cars). So now my police van has one rear view mirror and an ugly hole on the other side.

    Being dark grey isn't the best as the room I'm building in doesn't have the best lighting.
    You guys are correct, normally when a piece hits a wooden floor you get a bit of an idea where it flew to but this time I have absolutely no idea. Looks like I'll have to completely empty the whole room of furniture and boxes :(

    Maybe Lego should put tiny pieces of metal inside their pieces so one can use a metal detector to find AWOL parts.

    I think felt in future might be the most practical solution. A lid with lip is a great idea but having experienced a catapult situation a few times, I think I'll pass on that idea haha.
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 3,237
    Bluetack under the container might help there?
    560Heliport
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,307
    Maybe all pieces should be glow in the dark. I remember my son dropping a little piece off the Monster Fighters train years ago. That was easy to find by turning the lights off.
    560HeliportFizyxSwitchfoot55
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,080
    CCC said:
    Maybe all pieces should be glow in the dark. I remember my son dropping a little piece off the Monster Fighters train years ago. That was easy to find by turning the lights off.
    I wouldn't be able to sleep at night, due to the intense glare! 
    Switchfoot55Astrobricksscottdd2
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,232
    CCC said:
    Maybe all pieces should be glow in the dark. I remember my son dropping a little piece off the Monster Fighters train years ago. That was easy to find by turning the lights off.

    I'm a giant, weird nerd, so I love (LOVE) glow in the dark pieces, and actually have a collection of just glow in the dark pieces in a large gallon bag just in case I need them. (The collection contains about 30 skeleton horses, so I'm about ready to expand to a 2 gallon bag...)  Anyways, I really just wanted to comment about how true this is.  I'm constantly amazed by just how well the LEGO glow in the dark pieces well... glow in the dark.

    Back on topic for trying to avoid losing pieces: I use multiple tables pushed together, since my workspace isn't permanent, and I can't build one huge table.  It took me a couple 'lost pieces' to figure out that I needed to make sure the tables were very firmly pushed together, and smaller pieces should be kept away from the table 'seams' or they could very easily become wedged in and 'lost'.
    560HeliportBrickchapWesterBricks
  • PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 225
    When I drop a piece on the floor (or, more likely, my son does), it helps to use a flashlight (or "torch" for you Brits) to find it.  Put the light as low as you can and sweep it across the floor like a lighthouse.  The piece will cast a shadow that makes it easier to find.  This is especially useful when I'm looking for loose Lego bricks that my son dropped on our living room carpet before I vacuum.
    560HeliportCymbelineBrickchapFizyxWesterBricks
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,163
    When I drop a piece on the floor (or, more likely, my son does), it helps to use a flashlight (or "torch" for you Brits) to find it.  Put the light as low as you can and sweep it across the floor like a lighthouse.  The piece will cast a shadow that makes it easier to find.  This is especially useful when I'm looking for loose Lego bricks that my son dropped on our living room carpet before I vacuum.
    Also good advice for anything else, like tiny screws and nuts.
    BrickchapFizyx
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,307
    When I drop a piece on the floor (or, more likely, my son does), it helps to use a flashlight (or "torch" for you Brits) to find it.  Put the light as low as you can and sweep it across the floor like a lighthouse.  The piece will cast a shadow that makes it easier to find.  This is especially useful when I'm looking for loose Lego bricks that my son dropped on our living room carpet before I vacuum.
    You can do better than that. Surely everyone has at least one LEGO light house. So get that out*, attach the torch to the top of it and pretend you are in an actual lighthouse as you sweep the light across the floor.

    * don't drop any more bits and further compound the problem.
    560HeliportpxchrisFizyxSwitchfoot55
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 3,237
    ^ Surely the elevation of the lighthouse would make such a set-up impractical for the job at hand? Unless it's a very odd lighthouse with the light at the bottom! :-)
    560HeliportAstrobricks
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