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What is your approach in taking apart a 'big' set?

aeloleaelole Member Posts: 34
edited October 2012 in Building and Techniques
Silly question I know.. I was trying to break down the 10212 IS last night and I found myself not knowing from where to start. Do you have any specific 'strategy' in breaking down big sets (>2000 pcs) or complicated ones like a technic set?


  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited October 2012
    After I disassemble a set, I generally never intend on building it again. I don't bother to disassemble every last piece; I break things down just enough so that all of the "chunks" will fit in the original box, which saves time. The box then goes back in a closet(s) until EOL, at which point I'll sell the set (hopefully for what I paid or more).
  • AnthonyC173AnthonyC173 Member Posts: 101
    edited October 2012
    i don't really want to build it back again either. I was planning on breaking down my modular FB and try to see what can i build from it. But then i thought about rebuilding it, and just left it alone (as i do plan on keeping it as a display)

    edit: to be on topic, i actually did break the FB, but only the roof and 2nd story. at first i wanted to do it brick by brick, but then got lazier and started leaving some pieces whole until i decided i don't wanna break it down.
    If you are breaking it down for parts you just need to be patient and do it one brick at a time, if you want to store it away just break it in chunks so it can fit back in the box or wherever you intend to place it.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    When I take a set apart it's usually to put the parts into my building supplies, so I have no interest in keeping the parts of the set together in order to rebuild or sell later.

    I get a bunch of plastic 'take away' -style pots (I buy them in bulk from catering suppliers) and separate out the parts as I dismantle the set. One pot for technic parts, one pot for transparent parts, one for wheels and tyres, and then one pot per colour. If it's a big set, I'll then go through & separate each of the colours by type (1x plate, 2x plate, larger plate, 1x brick, 2x brick, larger brick, hinge pieces, studs-on-side pieces, etc) which then makes it easier to integrate with my existing brick supplies (which are sorted by colour & type). I do the same if I'm parting out an unbuilt set or sorting loose brick.
  • cloud0cloud0 SingaporeMember Posts: 101
    I for 1 intend to rebuild a large set at a later point in time.
    I usually separate the parts into 3 categories.
    1 for Bricks, 1 for Plates and 1 for everything else.

    Zip lock them all up, and hopefully I can build it easily in due course.
  • SirKevbagsSirKevbags Fairy Land Member Posts: 4,030
    I get out the instructions and work backwards. For things that started life as numbered bags they are placed into a zip lock and labeled correctly.

    For non numbered sets I work backwards again and create my own numbers. I recently broke down the VW Camper and it ended up in around ten bags. I love building but despise sorting and searching for that one element.
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 687
    ^I really should do that, since I always intend to rebuild sets (and sometimes I do!), but when I break down a set it's usually because I'm moving or I need to clear out a room, so I'm trying to quickly disassemble 20+ sets at a time. Smaller sets: all the parts go into a zip lock bag and back into the box for storage. Larger sets: I try to separate the minifigs and their accessories into a separate bags, then all the other parts into 1-3 ziplock bags.

    Note to used set sellers: some buyers (like me) would rather have all the parts separated upon receipt, instead of having all these partially-assembled chunks. So, you may wish to keep that in mind as you're breaking down sets to sell...
  • pvp3020pvp3020 Member Posts: 176
    Whether or not I may one day rebuild a set, I always separate all the parts and store them according to type/colour etc. This makes it easier to find parts for other projects. With 2000+ piece sets I may break it down in several stages as I don't have the space to sort all the parts before storing.

    And I agree with Oldfan - I enjoy building sets from the instructions and when I buy used sets I'd much prefer them to be in pieces.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    Whenever I separate a set, I break it down into bags first usually meaning I have huge chunks of the model or several smaller bits depending on how easy it is to dismantle, then separate into individual bricks before bagging it up.

    I don't intend on selling any of my sets - they are for me and for my son and daughter when they're older so I want it as simple as possible for them to put the sets together. I did piece a few together recently and it was hell because I never labelled the sets so couldn't find all the relevant bags. I now generally bag the smaller bags into 1 larger zip-lock which is, largely anyway, labelled and then stored in stackable containers.
  • aeloleaelole Member Posts: 34
    Thanks a lot, all of you, for your recommendations. I actually start dismantle the set using the instructions backwards and bag each section into a different zip-lock as I am planning to rebuild in the future.
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    A couple years ago I took apart #10179. Every single piece.

    I used an assortment of 17 plastic bins and hardware trays to sort all the pieces. I fully intend to rebuild it sometime, when I have space to display it, and I wanted to be able to find everything easily.
  • PhoneboothPhonebooth USMember Posts: 1,430
    kevbags said:

    I get out the instructions and work backwards. For things that started life as numbered bags they are placed into a zip lock and labeled correctly.

    This is the best way I've handled larger sets (i.e., 10188), but the smaller sets generally get bagged by color.
  • bricksanbricksan Member Posts: 566
    I have a simple solution, don't :P

    When I build a set, I have no intention to take it apart again :-)
  • cwhlscwhls Member Posts: 11
    How about seasonal sets, like the winter village? Do you take each set apart and rebuild the next winter? Or is it better to store it complete?

    I think it would be fun to take it apart each year and then make it a family tradition to re-build and display the next year. Would this reduce the quality of the bricks though?
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    @cwhls This is the exact question I was looking for an answer for. I was not sure what the best way to preserve the sets long term would be, and if I should keep them together or take them apart.
    I would also really appreciate an answer if anyone knows.

    What I have been doing is the following. Thanksgiving weekend, we put up our decorations. The kids then build the new winter set together, and then play for a few days with the new set and the previous winter sets, before they are displayed the rest of the season.

    The previous years sets I store semi-complete in stackable plastic bins from Target. I have smaller bins, so some sets fit better than others. For sets that do not quite fit, I simply take off a roof piece, and just store the two large chunks together with the directions in the bin.

    At the end of the season, I buy a new bin for the new set, and then pack everything up again. I do not rebuild the sets every season, simply because I want the focus on the new build.
  • kezkez United KingdomMember Posts: 831
    What is your approach in taking apart a 'big' set?

    Well I've never taken apart a set yet but if I was to I would work my way back through the instruction booklet/s starting from the last page taking bricks away that tell you to build on until I get to page 1 and that is the problem sorted :)
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    Uhh.. I break it down in chunks and ziploc bag them.
  • MaskieBoyMaskieBoy Member Posts: 25
    I take all the bags and put each bag into a bowl. This helps me not loose the pieces. I take it one step at a time according to the instructions.
  • YodaliciousYodalicious DagobahMember Posts: 1,366
    I do more of a sorting method if I plan on putting it together again.

    The first thing I do when I open a big set is to quickly sort by type to make locating pieces during the build quicker. So I basically do the same thing when I disassemble. For instance, all the 1x2's, 1x3's and 1x4's are put together and all the 1x6's and up are put together. To me this is a better approach than by color, but to each their own.

    With the Modulars, I have the four I own sorted together. I want to put them all together again, but figured their pieces could be stored together because the type method still makes it easy to find the pieces I need. I take the same approach with my SW and LOTR sets. I don't mix themes because then my 1x2 box, for instance, would be unbelievably big.

    For sets I don't plan on building again, the parts are sorted the same way, but essentially get their own theme of sorts..."Free Build Pieces." Sure it means I have multiple boxes for those 1x2's, but if I'm rebuilding a SW set, I know exactly which boxes to bring out.

    I used to sort in the large storage Ziploc bags by set, but found I was taking more room and buying so many bags.
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