Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.comAmazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Let's get all instructions of all sets ever made as PDF, together!

EDOMEDOM GermanyMember Posts: 4
I would like to have all instructions of all sets as PDF. And I want to have them all stored on my computer, so I can access them anytime, immediately, even when I am offline. And I am pretty sure that there are more people like me who share the same wish. Maybe someone has already accomplished that goal, but I couldn't find anyone, so I am starting this thread, hoping to find some people who are willing to join me in my efforts.

I know that (almost) every instructions ever made are to find online somewhere. But some are very hard to find, some are in very poor quality, some are one-file-per-page (very annoying), some are watermarked beyond readability... - I don't want this anymore!

So last week I started by batch-downloading all instructions currently available at LEGO.com. It's 7810 files and 64.7 GB of data. I renamed all files to also show set-number and set name, for example "3936-1 (6006136) (Emma's Fashion Design Studio)". Additionally I added some PDFs I created from single-page-per-file sources. For example I downloaded all 16 images of the instructions of set 928-1, created a single PDF file containing all these 16 pictures and saved it as "928-1 (Space Cruiser And Moonbase)".

The ultimate goal is to have all instructions of all sets available like this...

Is anyone interested in joining me in my efforts? (Details of how to proceed could/should be discussed together...)
Norlego

Comments

  • NorlegoNorlego ScotlandMember Posts: 449
    While you are at it, could you get green to show up as "green" in the manuals. Would help a lot...
  • ArtfulDodgerArtfulDodger Member Posts: 106
    I have trouble distinguishing between the black and gray pieces.
    FollowsCloselymadforLEGOpreverePitfall69bobabricksandheflowerpotgirl
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,038
    This is going to be an anourmous amount of data. Where are you planning to store it? Will it be available to the public? Would love to see a project like this happen, but my fear is that people will drop out after a little while loosing interest.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,520

    I have trouble distinguishing between the black and gray pieces.

    Yeah, new instructions are murder on the eyes sometimes. I cannot count how many times I incorrect thought something was black when it was actually dark gray in newer books (particularly Emerald Night)

    As for your cause, they are always going to be spotty with quality. Not everyone has every instruction book in perfect condition for scans, or the tools to sit there and build a giant PDF electronically of a LEGO instruction book.
    I wish you well, but be prepared for the possibility of disappointment
    Pitfall69
  • TLGTLG Member Posts: 125
    While your at it you could modify the black and grey colors of some to improve the accuracy!
    Pitfall69
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,017
    Be sure not to sell the outcome as LEGO take a dim view of that, I believe.
    Pitfall69MorkManFollowsCloselyShibdougtsjasorsnowhitie
  • NorlegoNorlego ScotlandMember Posts: 449
    ^ And how would the OP make money on this project??? The music industry gave up making money on selling records a long time ago.... It is a good idea to have an offline reference system. But it will be large...
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617
    Lego has public links to all released sets for the last 10 years or so. Are you wanting to do this project to collect all of the older ones? Some are on Peeron, but I'm not sure anyone is curating there any longer. Seems like you would be better off hosting the links to the Lego cache for the majority, then the amount of data is much smaller.
  • RikTheVeggieRikTheVeggie CanadaMember Posts: 356
    edited September 2014
    I would also say to beware of copyright if you're storing & hosting the files yourself. I believe Peeron has local copies of some instructions, but only stores ones several years old - possibly at TLG's request?
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,520

    I would also say to beware of copyright if you're storing & hosting the files yourself. I believe Peeron has local copies of some instructions, but only stores ones several years old - possibly at TLG's request?

    It is more likely the database stopped getting updated with instruction books from the users. I doubt that site has much of an update since BL has part inventory lists (which are also usually more accurate than inventory lists on Peeron), and LEGO usually releases most instructions on line now.
    I think LEGO did ask them to not post the instruction books for new SW sets when sets were released though.

    As many people try to sell electronic copies on eBay, and it appears LEGO does not seem to stop it, I would say LEGO would not care much. That being said, I still would not do it, but that is just my personal opinion.
  • tsitsi Member Posts: 34
    Some years ago, there was already such a community project. The result was a collection of 5 CDs with all LEGO instructions which were online so far. Unfortunately some guys wanted to make some profit with it, and sold them on E*ay. I remember that LEGO requested not to deal with these files.

    Actually I don't like the poor quality of some of the original LEGO PDFs, to have scans of the paper instructions is in my opinion much better.
  • EDOMEDOM GermanyMember Posts: 4
    Thanks for the comments so far. I try to sum up and answer some of the quesions raised:

    I do not intend to make any money with this project.
    I do not intend to make these collected/created instructions available to the open public. I imagine a group of AFOL who share the same goal and share the same files within this group, though not to the open public.
    The amount of data will be enormous. I intend to keep it stored on my local pc at home, as every other user within this group stores the same files on his pc at his home. In case of data loss, you can get a backup by getting the files again from each other.

    I guess we should have some kind of table to keep track of which sets were ever made and who in the group owns which instructions. A simple rows and columns with checkboxes system would do the job, although something more sophisticated would be appreciated (anyone with webbased database experiences around?).

    The instructions for the more recent sets are available at lego.com. So the main focus would be to obtain all the older ones. I could imagine getting those uploaded temporarily to a cloud service (dropbox or anything similar). But again: these uploads should not be available to the open public. They should be available for the project members only to make distribution of new files within the group more easy.

    This group may may have five people, ten people or a few hundred - the more the merrier - but it should be clear to everyone that the group effort is a private effort with no intentions to make money or distribute TLG property to the public. This is mandatory to avoid any legal conflict.

    Step one would be to find some people to get this project started.
    Step two is to agree on a system to name the files (e.g. see first post).
    Step three is to get the files currently publicly available at lego.com to everyone in the group (renamed to the system agreed on in step two).
    Step four is to setup a way to communicate in private (private sub-forum or anything).
    Step five is to create a table of all sets ever and who owns which instructions and make this table accessible to all group members (could be something sophisticated, but even a shared Google Docs spreadsheet would do the job).
    At this point, everything is set up and everyone has a huge base of instructions to start with. Now the group members can start adding their own instruction files. They simply do so by writing an announcing message in the forum, checking the "I own" box in the table and maybe uploading the file to a non-public cloud, for that every other member of that group can download it and add it to his collection, which he stores on his private pc...

    I hope I could explain in more detail, what I have in mind... Suggestions and criticism welcome!


    If now anyone feels tempted to join this effort, please let me now and let's get this project started!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,362
    If you want another interesting spin-off, maybe collect scans of sticker sheets too. That is something Lego don't do for modern sets, so would be quite a valuable endeavour.
    pharmjod
  • tsitsi Member Posts: 34
    edited September 2014
    EDOM said:

    The instructions for the more recent sets are available at lego.com. So the main focus would be to obtain all the older ones.(...)

    The older ones are available (for example) at www.brickfactory.info.
    I don´t think that your chances are great to fill the hole of the very few missings ones with a closed community ...




  • EDOMEDOM GermanyMember Posts: 4
    tsi said:

    The older ones are available (for example) at www.brickfactory.info.

    AFAIK the scans at brickfactory are page by page and not the whole instructions in one pdf file.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950
    How are you going to share 60gb+ (more like 100s when your done) of data? Who is going to be able to download that much info?!
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,980

    I have trouble distinguishing between the black and gray pieces.

    Yeah, new instructions are murder on the eyes sometimes. I cannot count how many times I incorrect thought something was black when it was actually dark gray in newer books (particularly Emerald Night)
    They already fixed this issue two and a half years ago.... pretty much all sets from 2012 or later have the black colored much darker than it had been previously, with white outlines just like black parts had back in the 80s and early 90s. This image shows the difference quite clearly — the pre-2012 black color for instructions is shown on the lower left, with the new black color for instructions immediately to its right.

    As for colors like Dark Green (classic green) and Dark Brown not looking right, that's an issue with how the LEGO Group digitizes/compresses many the instructions they post to their website, not an issue with the files they print the actual instructions from, so it doesn't affect every instruction booklet on their website or scans of the physical instruction booklets. The instructions on LEGO's website for 6093 Flying Ninja Fortress are EXTREMELY high-quality, with every single instruction step as a vector image and impeccable color-matching. But it's also 103.36 KB for just 56 pages of instructions. By contrast, the second instruction booklet for 70728 Battle for Ninjago City has much worse color matching for Dark Green parts and pixelly raster graphics, but it is only 58.76 KB for 72 pages of instructions. I have a feeling this booklet would probably load much better for people with spotty Internet connections, plus it takes up less space on the LEGO.com servers.

    There IS still an option to download high-quality instructions of many current sets from the LEGO website. The instructions you get from individual products pages like this (click the right arrow next to the image until the instructions download buttons show up) often have higher quality and better color matching than the ones on the Customer Service site. But these are MUCH larger — book two of 70728 jumps to 71.8 MB, over 1000 times larger than the version from the Customer Service website!
    CCC
  • TLGTLG Member Posts: 125

    How are you going to share 60gb+ (more like 100s when your done) of data? Who is going to be able to download that much info?!

    Anyone can with the prices hard-drives go for now.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    How are you going to share 60gb+ (more like 100s when your done) of data? Who is going to be able to download that much info?!

    Meh?

    60GB? Bleh, that is nothing... Office 365 gives us 5TB of online storage, anyone with such an account could easily store and share this...

    The question becomes... is it legal to share? Just because you can download it doesn't mean you can host it. :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    How are you going to share 60gb+ (more like 100s when your done) of data? Who is going to be able to download that much info?!

    Oh, as for downloading it, it depends on your connection of course...

    It would take me 56 minutes to download that, but I'm blessed with perhaps better than average service... Thanks Verizon FIOS. :)
  • tsitsi Member Posts: 34
    EDOM said:

    tsi said:

    The older ones are available (for example) at www.brickfactory.info.

    AFAIK the scans at brickfactory are page by page and not the whole instructions in one pdf file.
    That's what you need to create a pdf for an old instruction.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,331
    Let me share some valuable info.... I do produce a "for profit" Unoffiicial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide.... which at the moment goes from 1949-1990s, but I'm working my way up to the present century. My guide covers basically the set image, the year introduced, description of the parts... box variations (some sets are known in up to 17 variations to the box design and/or packing variations), and also images of all the LEGO parts variations (vast!!) from 1949-80 (before the part types went ballistic in numbers. It sounds like everything I'm doing is available online... but in reality that is not the case. If you're not familiar with my guide, here's a sample parts chapter on printed LEGO elements...
    http://www.1000steine.de/brickset/miscellaneous/Lego Chapter 48 Vol2.pdf

    But anyway... so far I've got 2800 pages and 688MB of data, and over 7000 images and 1/3 million words... all in 73 separate PDF chapters linked together in a PDF table of contents. My PDFs are linked together, you might want to do it differently.

    In 2006 I got TLGs blessing to do this, and did get some help from the company.... although don't count on this if you want their help. One reason they help me, is because where their company archives leave off... I fill in the blanks, and can answer questions for them that no one else seems able to answer at the company. Otherwise, I would not expect a lot of help from them for what you are doing.

    For the current iteration of my collectors guide it takes about 15 minutes to download the 688MB of data as a computer desktop reference (either PC or MAC).

    I've been working on my project since 2006.... so good luck!! What you want to do is a Herculean task, even though you would think that everything is available to you. One thing is that prior to 1972 (if you go that far back)... things get very problematic, and complex for instructions... sometimes they're on the box, other times they're on the backside of a "contents list"... not at all as things are today.

    Good luck on your endeavor!
    Gary Istok


  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950
    edited September 2014
    TLG said:

    How are you going to share 60gb+ (more like 100s when your done) of data? Who is going to be able to download that much info?!

    Anyone can with the prices hard-drives go for now.

    How are you going to share 60gb+ (more like 100s when your done) of data? Who is going to be able to download that much info?!

    Meh?

    60GB? Bleh, that is nothing... Office 365 gives us 5TB of online storage, anyone with such an account could easily store and share this...

    The question becomes... is it legal to share? Just because you can download it doesn't mean you can host it. :)
    I'm not talking about hard drive space. New laptops tend to sell with 500gb-1tb hard drives as standard, so it's not an issue. And I know you can pay silly money to Microsoft* for huge amounts of cloud storage, but it sounds like you would be hosting this for people to download. There would be massive technological issues surrounding hosting a 100gb download. Most Dropbox-style cloud services cap the size of downloadable (or even uploadable) files or limit the number of downloads. You could host it independently, but there's huge issues with that too - who is going to pay for hosting the file, where are you going to find a host with that much bandwidth, etc.

    And, like LFT says, that's before you get to legal issues.

    My point is just wouldn't it be better contributing to Brickset's** instruction database and making it complete and/or consistent, or even making your own site dedicated to instructions. Once you have that running, with consistent and wide ranging instructions, maybe then you could think about offering massive downloads.

    *other evil corporations with cloud hosting facilities are available
    **other Lego fan-sites with instruction repositories are available
  • EDOMEDOM GermanyMember Posts: 4
    Thanks again for your input so far.

    Addressing the storage and web-traffic issues:
    Webspace really is not a big deal nowadays. Today I chose Google as "evil corporation with cloud hosting facilities" (nicely put, plasmodium ;-)) and started uploading all my instructions. I pay less than US$2/month for 100GB of web-space. And if 100GB will not be enough some day in the future, I will be willing to pay some bucks more. So online storage is not stopping this project.
    Traffic indeed could turn into a problem, but only if the files are shared with the public, i.e. everyone. Since the files - at this stage of this project - would only be shared with a few people (i.e. the contributors to this project), web-traffic would be marginal. And once every contributor has initially downloaded the files, only the updates and new entries will be downloaded frequently, thus further minimizing traffic amount.
    Finally, keeping the files online in a cloud serves as backup and synchronization tool for the contributors. In fact I expect every contributor to store a copy of all files on his hard-drive at home and not to access the cloud server every time an instruction needs to be accessed. So web-traffic is not stopping this project either.

    Addressing legal issues:
    I don't believe that TLG has any legal options to stop me and some fellows from privately collecting PDF-instructions. As long as we are not providing public access to our collection and are not doing it for profit, I doubt they even bother. In return, they will not provide any help, but frankly I ain't expecting any help from TLG on this project anyway. Why should they be interested?

    Addressing community interest:
    I would love to have all instructions accessible through Brickset. I would love to have all the files available to the whole public. But - at least at this stage of the project - I do not make this my goal, because legal and web-traffic would surely become an huge issue, once the files go public. And I just cannot solve those.
    So for now it's getting the collection as complete as possible first and then looking for someone to make it available to the public.

    If anyone wants access to all the instructions files so far and upcoming -> join and contribute! (As of right now, the number of people who have joined this project is 2).
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,017
    Happy to help where I can, e.g. private topic here and providing the source data.

    I do have instructions for 2000+ sets although I don't relish the thought of scanning them all!

    Peeron apparently had an agreement to share instructions of old sets online. Now that the site is defunct I guess it might be possible to approach LEGO and ask if Brickset could host them instead/as well. I don't think bandwidth and storage would be a major issue.
  • tsitsi Member Posts: 34
    Huw said:

    (...) if Brickset could host them instead/as well. I don't think bandwidth and storage would be a major issue.

    As far as I know, set-pictures of brickshelf are hosted on 1000steine.de-Server.

  • CupIsHalfEmptyCupIsHalfEmpty CanadaMember Posts: 547
    I'm happy to contribute to the project once it gets started. I would be more interested in doing it as a service to fellow enthusiasts making it public rather then keeping it private.

    The way I see it, is there's two phases:
    1) Collecting all instructions in a standard format.
    2) Then managing those PDF's so they are available for download either one at a time, or as the original poster wants, all at once.

    I can see how Brickset could be used for downloading one at a time. And I see how you could compile a huge file to be downloaded with all instructions. But I don't have the knowledge to sync thousands of files on individual computers, every time they are updated. Seems like something you would need to write a program to do so you don't have to redownload Gigs every time there's an update.

  • NorlegoNorlego ScotlandMember Posts: 449
    If scanning is an issue, what about taking photos? Not a great idea, but better than no instructions.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,520
    But if one of the complaints is poor quality, then not many people have perfect instruction books or good quality scanners at their disposal. So you would likely see some with poor quality scans.
  • tsitsi Member Posts: 34
    edited September 2014
    Edit: sorry, typing error - I meant brickset not brickshelf
    tsi said:

    Huw said:

    (...) if Brickset could host them instead/as well. I don't think bandwidth and storage would be a major issue.

    As far as I know, set-pictures of brickset are hosted on 1000steine.de-Server.

  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,017
    edited September 2014
    ^ They are, and either I would ask Rene if they could be hosted there or put them on the Brickset server, which is fronted by a CDN which would take the load off of it.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    And I know you can pay silly money to Microsoft* for huge amounts of cloud storage, but it sounds like you would be hosting this for people to download. There would be massive technological issues surrounding hosting a 100gb download. Most Dropbox-style cloud services cap the size of downloadable (or even uploadable) files or limit the number of downloads. You could host it independently, but there's huge issues with that too - who is going to pay for hosting the file, where are you going to find a host with that much bandwidth, etc.

    Crazy money? :)

    Your information might be out of date my friend...

    I paid $68 for a 1 year licence for Office 365 Home Premium giving me 5 accounts each with 1 TB of space. I went ahead and paid for a second year because at that price, why not...

    There is no longer a file size limit on OneDrive, it used to be 2GB (and you could have broken this up into a multi-park RAR file), but now there is no file size limit. There is also no reasonable number of download restrictions (there is language there for commercial use, but I doubt this file would be downloaded THAT much).

    If this gets put together and no one else offers space, I'll stick it on one of my spare OneDrive accounts.

    Frankly, I'd think Brickset would want to host it, space is cheap and it offers something of value to the community.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    EDOM said:

    Addressing legal issues:
    I don't believe that TLG has any legal options to stop me and some fellows from privately collecting PDF-instructions. As long as we are not providing public access to our collection and are not doing it for profit, I doubt they even bother. In return, they will not provide any help, but frankly I ain't expecting any help from TLG on this project anyway. Why should they be interested?

    TLG won't do anything if you just share it with a few close friends, that clearly falls under the various "Fair Use" laws.

    Sharing it with the whole world? That becomes a problem. Various web sites have tried it in one form or another and be sued by various IP holders.

    I point you to the various points of history of Home of the Underdogs:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_of_the_Underdogs

    I've been following that web site for a long time, watched it get into all kinds of trouble, it is an interesting case study in IP law. And no, I'm not a lawyer, but boy could you spend some money on one in IP law. :)
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at LEGO.com or Amazon?

Please use our links: LEGO.com Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy Brickset.com

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.

Brickset.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.