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I have bought myself the technic set 9393 Tractor. I really like the model and I want to dig deeper into the Lego technic universe. I am not focused in building pre-designed models (although I enjoy it, and it would be a plus), but I want to have a decent set of technic parts, such that I can build models on my own. So what is the best way to get a basic set of bricks:

  • Buying some sets and take the parts from the sets? (rather buy a big set, or several small ones?)

  • Buying used parts as bulk?

  • Are there non-model technic sets, similar to the traditional Lego, for which they have door sets, wheels sets etc. ?

I know this question might be a bit broad. So let me add that I am not necessarily want to build motorized models right away. Also, I do not plan to build huge models, more in the size of the 9393 model.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Here are the two things that I would recommend:

  1. Get yourself a big set if you have the budget for it. These will have a large variety of pieces and once you've built the models from the instructions you'll have a good understanding of a lot of different building techniques.

  2. Watch eBay or similar sites for large lots of Technic parts by the pound. These can be a little hit or miss, but the price per piece is far lower than most other ways of buying parts. Keep in mind that prices tend to be higher around the holidays.

There used to parts packs for Technic like what you are describing, but I believe they were removed now that pretty much everything is available from Pick-A-Brick. You can also get any parts that you want from bricklink.com, and if you don't mind used parts, this can be a pretty affordable option.

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I support the idea of getting a big set first. Personally when I got back into LEGO Technic (for the purpose of using it with MindStorms) I got the 4x4 Off Roader (#8466, 1134 pieces) –  pcantin Dec 15 '12 at 18:13
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I have to say I did the opposite and bought loads of small kits first and then larger kits later, however I did do a lot of research on the net and there are plenty of good books for reference material on individual mechanisms on Amazon (without having to buy lots of useless pieces for only specific functions on one kit only – can be quite expensive option). Ebay can fill up on specialised hard to get pieces and in a variety of colours too- although one has to wade through most of the junk available to find what one needs and it also depends on what you want to build? Bulk buying is a good use of this method – pick a brick can be expensive but the quality of the new bricks are without question.

Pinching plans of Technic kits from LEGO directly or from other fansites, is a good idea (with permission) to expand your knowledge of all the possibilities out there, too. Finally, I find that technical manuals from real machines are really good for inspiration like those cutaways from plane books are really useful or car repair books etc – so do your research first and ask around – lots out there...

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