If you have not discovered this little gem yet, boy are you in for a treat. LEGO® Digital Designer (LDD) is a really cool program that I discovered a while ago purely on accident. This program allows you to build with virtual, digital LEGO® bricks and let me tell you, the possibilities are endless! I use this program all the time – it gives me access to the pieces I need without spending hours (and I mean, hours) digging through the LEGO® bins. Plus, it has so many pieces that if you have a small collection, this expands your building power many times over.
Here is what you see when you first start up the program:
This is your basic start screen where you can open a project you’ve been working on or start an entirely new creation. There’s three tabs at the top – you can create a build in just the regular Digital Designer tab, the Mindstorms tab or the Digital Designer Extended tab. The start screen gives you a preview of your workspace which sits behind the popup window.
The blank canvas….
Ok, so say you’re looking to start your project off with a 1×2 and you click on the brick icon. The icon expands out and literally gives you the option of choosing a 1×2 brick in just about every color it’s made in and even gives you the option of modified 1×2 bricks. Seriously. Cool.
Simply click on the block you want and drag to the virtual baseplate.
You can stack blocks on top of each, insert blocks in under other bricks and you can even use the options at the top of the screen to change the color of blocks that are already in place.
The program will even build a set of digital building instructions so if you do decide to build your creation with physical pieces, you have instructions to follow. (One word of caution though, if your build is complex, the instructions can come out goofy. By goofy, I mean the computer builds it in a way that no human ever would. They will get you from point A to B so even though you may be wondering what the computer is thinking along the way, it does work out. I let the computer have its chance to teach me how to build my own creation and so I follow its instructions…….once. That’s when I make my own instructions that make sense.)
You can even have the computer generate the building instructions in an html file. The really handy thing about this is that at the very end, it gives you your supply list for the build. To get the html building instructions, click on the HTML button in the upper left hand corner of your digital building instructions and save the file to your hard drive.
Best of all? This program is free! Yes, I said FREE! Visit this link to download your copy of LDD and let the building fun begin! You’ll be amazed at what you and your kids can create with this program!