As a good LEGO fan, you have surely made many mounts you would like to share with friends, family or to remember in the future how you can reassemble that figure.
For this, it is best to create your set or assembly kit with a LEGOVirtual and use Specific software to generate LEGO instructions. With the Lego boost We have done some things that are out of the classic robots and I would like to share it and on the other hand my daughters do many things, very interesting, figures that only occur to children and that I think is a very good way of documenting.
Searching for options I have found a large number of tools around the world of LEGO Virtual assembly. There's a CAD-based standard, there are editors, viewers, renderers and even animations for the assemblies we do. And as you can imagine, there is a long list of software and programs that I have to try and then tell you about and recommend which one to use.
At the moment we are going with this general overview that will surely impress you.
As the followers of the blog know here we use linux, specifically Ubuntu, and I am looking for software that I can use with this operating system, but I still leave options for Windows and Mac
The LDraw standard
LDraw™ is an open standard for LEGO CAD programs. We can make models and virtual scenes for our Legos. It is used both to document and create LEGO building instructions and to generate animations or 3D renderings.
Furthermore, most instruction creation software is based on the LDraw standard.
It is cross-platform and we can use it on Linux, Windows or Mac.
To work with LDraw we need two things. On the one hand, download the data library where all the pieces and resources to work are located and, on the other hand, install an Editor with which we can modify and generate our documentation or our creations.
A tool to investigate that I leave noted so that I do not forget is l2cu, to work with LDraw with the command line. Great, for automation and script generation with Bash, for example.
Editors, viewers, generator of instructions and LEGO animations
The main tools that we can find to work and play with LEGO are divided into:
- LDraw editors, which allow us to generate worlds, kists, sets, assemblies with lego pieces
- Viewers, with which we can only see this type of files.
- LEGO instruction generators. With whom to document and share our assemblies.
- Renders and animations. It is software that allows us to create renderings and 3D animations with our assemblies.
- Complete LEGO editors. They are tools that include all or almost all of the above options. Here we highlight Studio 2.0 and LeoCAD as the best.
It is used to design virtual models that we can create with our LEGO blocks
App recommended by LDraw. It is a cross-platform tool, so you can use it on both Linux, MacOs and Windows.
With this tool, which has more than 10.000 blocks, we can read LDraw LDR and MPD file formats.
Before trying it, the first impression is that it has an old interface, which could use a restyling to make it more friendly and modern.
In addition, with the relevant libraries, we can use it to make montages of Tente and Exin Castillos.
It is the official software of the LEGO brand, since in 2020 they bought Bricklink from its creator, Dan Jezek.
Available for Windows and MacOS and at the moment Linux users cannot enjoy the tool, although the community can. If you want to try Studio 2.0 on Linux, you can always use Wine or the Gnome Boxes.
A priori, it is the most complete solution to interact with LEGO pieces. And with the Bricklink integration you can buy the set pieces you build or see someone else has shared.
The downside, and it's not that it can't be used on Linux. Studio 2.0 doesn't follow the LDraw standard, they follow their own way of working and many times there are incompatibilities when you export and try to work on other platforms or with other tools. It is not a trivial subject. Mer seems like something to keep in mind when looking for a work tool.
Studio 2.0 replaces the old LEGO Digital Designer from the Danish company.
A good tool to use with our browser. It has a modern interface with many options and allows, in addition to assembly, 3D rendering
After the LIC project was discontinued, they turned it into a web app that we can use from our browser to generate instructions for LEGO
It is a Web Editor where you import your lDraw file and you can generate instructions. Therefore, this tool is exclusively designed to generate instructions.
Cross-platform editor of models generated with LDraw. It is not my favorite option, it is a more basic tool than the previous ones and with less support.
I don't like that the last update is from 2020, because it seems like outdated software and that it has no continuity. I don't really like the graphical interface either.
On the other hand, I am very struck by the fact that they document and focus on scripting issues.
LDView is a real-time 3D viewer for displaying LDraw models using hardware-accelerated 3D graphics. For information on LDraw, visit www.ldraw.org, the centralized information site for LDraw.
The program can read LDraw LDR/DAT files as well as MPD files. It then allows you to rotate the model to any angle with the mouse.
Virtual LEGO Modeling for MacOS. It only works for MAC, and this specialization is what can make it a strong point for people who use Apple, but, I think Studio 2.0 is a better alternative.
LPub3D is an open source WYSIWYG editing application for creating
LEGO®-style digital building instructions. It is just an instruction generator.
It is based on the LDraw standard and is available for Linux as an AppImage as well.
Blender LEGO AddOn
For Blender lovers, there is a paid Add On to work with Lego pieces. Undoubtedly an interesting option if you know how to use this great tool very well. Although I don't know how developed the addon is or how many blocks it has.
Allows export to LDraw
LegoBlock for SolidWorks
There are blocks to work in SolidWorks with LEGO. I have not delved deeper, because I am not going to use this software. It is possibly one of the best CADs on the market, but its price for a hobbyist is prohibitive.
I only mention it in case there is any SolidWorks user, who knows that you can search for this option.