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To stack or not to stack?

monkeymonkey Member Posts: 235
Experienced lego owners, what do you think about stacking your lego when in storage - do you think it may affect the quality/longevity of the bricks? I found stacking really useful as it allows me to use one container for different types of bricks and still be able to find things easily.

But now I've read people complaining about bricks developing cracks in them........ :o Might stacking in storage exacerbate the danger? I love my bricks and try to keep them clean and pristine and want them last forever!!


  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,037
    What loosens connections in the long term is stacking and unstacking hundreds of thousands of times. Not keeping the elements attached for storage or display. The elements that develop cracks usually crack the very first time you attach them. The cheese-slopes are the worst. They are just badly designed. So yeah, you should have no problems keeping your bricks stacked. :)
  • monkeymonkey Member Posts: 235
    Many thanks I'll keep stacking then, you put my mind to rest, :) Luckily I haven't had any bricks crack on me yet, fingers crossed!
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    akunthita said:

    What loosens connections in the long term is stacking and unstacking hundreds of thousands of times. Not keeping the elements attached for storage or display.

    Is this based on any research or testing?

    I have several 1x1 and 1x2 bricks with cracks (on the narrow end, in the case of the 1x2s). The cracks are essentially invisible until the piece is attached to another. So it's clear the piece is being stressed when attached. Whether the stress is cumulative while the piece is attached, I don't know. But after noticing this, I store all of my parts unconnected.
  • monkeymonkey Member Posts: 235
    Oh dear!.... :o

    What other people think, or do? Do you stack your lego for storage?

  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 651
    I don't stack mostly because it would be very time consuming. Space isn't really an issue for me, but I'm still in the process of seriously sorting my lifetime collection, so I have to spend a lot of time going through parts to decide what to keep, what to sell, and where to put things.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,342
    I don't stack for storage. There isn't much benefit, and as noted above, it is time consuming and also keeps stress on parts indefinitely. I have no evidence the continued stress breaks parts though. I have a few MOCs that have been together for at least 5 years untouched, and none of them seem to have cracks - so that is no different to being stored as a stacked pile for 5 years.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,804
    My heart just missed a few beats. I thought you were asking about the boxes until the page loaded. Phew!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,342
    PS. I use the bag inside a box method (or cups or smaller boxes). It still allows you sort parts for ease of finding them, but store them in a single (stackable) box or drawer.
  • peterlinddkpeterlinddk DenmarkMember Posts: 170
    I stack most bricks (not 2x6 and larger) and some plates (2xN).
    My dad stacks almost all his bricks, and have been doing so since the early 1970's. No bricks have ever developed cracks. Some have been stacked for the better part of 20 or more years.

    Some bricks crack when exposed to too much sunlight, some crack when exposed to too much oil (from greasy fingers), and some seem to just crack the minute they are used. I haven't seen any brick crack as a result of prolonged stress, neither from being kept stacked, nor from being used hundreds or thousands of times.

    I have the feeling that some bricks are just going to crack, no matter what you do - whilst others seem to last forever.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 814
    Storing them attached for extended periods of time can affect the clutch power, although apparently unpredictably. Some people have reported bricks tightening over time-- I personally have experienced bricks loosening over time.

    In my experience, it was interesting-- I experimented with a 6085 Black Monarch's Castle that had been assembled for 10-15 years. Two arbitrary pieces that had been together for a long time would attach to each other more loosely than normal. However, when I would rotate the connection points by 90 degrees or by 180 degrees, the clutch power was pretty much normal. Additionally, when attaching the elements to OTHER bricks that they had not specifically been attached to, clutch power seemed fine.

    Another example was my LEGO AT-AT, which was assembled in 2001, and I noticed had problems after staying assembled for about 2 years. Specifically, the neck was assembled with plates pointing forwards, such that the clutch power of the plates supported the weight of the AT-AT's head. When first assembled, this reliably (but just barely!) held up the head. But by 2003, it became difficult to display, because the brick seams in the neck kept breaking! Repeated re-adjustments of the plates allowed it to work (usually), but it it was clear that the clutch power was gradually reducing.

    So, my personal experience is that the clutch power can be affected. But I've heard other people report different experiences, so it's not clear that it's uniform-- there may be a lot of factors involved (temperature, humidity, light, year of manufacture, color, etc).

    Assembled bricks are less likely to scratch each other, though-- which comes from a lot of rooting around in bins, or shaking and wiggling of boxes. I haven't noticed that myself, but I've heard others suggest that storing elements stacked reduces this effect.

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,537
    I personally have a had two sets #5590 and #5591 assembled from 1990 and have never been taken apart and have been on display since that don't have any clutch problems.
  • monkeymonkey Member Posts: 235
    edited November 2014
    Thanks all for you thoughts. I'm a new collector so majority of my lego is from recent sets, but I bought couple of lots of mixed bricks on ebay and noticed that older bricks have different feel to them - the plastic appears crisper, as opposed to more "rubbery" feel of newer bricks.

    I am not sure if this is because of age, or because Lego changed their plastic composition with years? But those crisp bricks attach really strong when connected, and perhaps because of this they'd be more likely to crack/get damaged when in use?
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 819
    I've had a lot of issues with cracking. Even with a variety of different bricks. I used to stack, but I quit doing that. I do agree that some bricks will just crack no matter what. But I think the constant force between the bricks will cause a stress break eventually.

    Your mileage may vary, though.
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,433
    I wonder if environment doesn't have a lot to do with it. I live in South Florida and the AC is pretty much on year round and I have zero cracking issues.
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