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I would like to find a large catalog of Lego designs/ideas that can be built with "traditional" lego bricks (both normal and duplo).

I have found many nice designs in the web, but most of them require exotic pieces. I am interested more in a catalog of models (for inspiration) that mostly do not require to buy a specific set or making a specific order to the Lego shop.

I found this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0756686067/geekdad0b-20 but I am wondering if a free resource exists somewhere ?

UPDATE:

I have just read this review of the book I linked above, apparently it also suffers from the problem of requiring too many non-standard pieces:

We thought this book would be great since my 5 year old is just getting into Legos. Opened it up and realized that every project in this book looks like it requires non-standard, specialty Lego kit pieces- and lots of them. I didn't see any projects in this book that you could build using standard Lego pieces. Returned the book the next day.

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The book doesn't REQUIRE anything. It shows you examples. Take it from there, and extrapolate and build something similar, but with the pieces you have. Alternately, if you really want the special pieces (which I somehow doubt you do), you could buy them from sites like Bricklink. –  gev Dec 9 '13 at 10:06
    
The problem with any idea book such as this is that it will always require pieces you don't have, unless it comes with all the pieces for all the creations it has inside. Maybe you should buy a couple of the Creator sets; they have lots of generic bricks and plates as well as "specialized" pieces such as hinges, clips, etc. Plus they come with instructions for alternate models that can be built with the same kit. If you want a challenge, build the alternate models without following the instructions. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 9 '13 at 14:05
    
hi @Mr.ShinyandNew安宇, I am a bit new to this, what is exactly a creator set ? it is just one of these boxes that provide pieces to build something very specific (like a boat or an airplane) ? –  Sergio Dec 9 '13 at 22:30
    
The Creator sets are a theme that Lego produces. Most of them say "Creator" on the box and these are the ones with the alternate model instructions. shop.lego.com link. You can browse the sets on Brickset and see scans of the instructions. For example, this Eagle set comes with instructions to make a scorpion or a beaver. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 10 '13 at 14:05
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That's correct Sergio. They have a lot of "core" pieces are are really great for a wide variety of other models. You can check out the Creator sets at Lego's website: lego.com/en-us/creator/products/all-models –  Grandpappy Dec 12 '13 at 15:57

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

LEGO has released a number of large brick buckets over the years. A few of these came with instructions and ideas for models that could be built with the contents. These include lots of ideas for animals, vehicles, and structures. Here are a few examples:

helicopter

girl and cat

house

There are plenty of ideas available if you browse through the instructions for these sets. Here are some of the larger brick set with links to their instruction scans:

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here are some additional sets that mostly use fairly standard pieces you're likely to have in a basic lego collection:

Peeron Lego Instruction Sets

To add to jncraton's excellent answer, here are additional sets from Peeron's Lego Instructions Archive using generic bricks:

Official Lego Instructions Site

Lego's Customer service website you can browse various instruction sets by category, numeric id, or keyword. http://service.lego.com/en-us/buildinginstructions/

Some sets likely to be possible with generic bricks include:

Small Lego Sets

Lego also has a whole categories of sets which are almost all small holiday themed sets made out of common pieces, such as snowmen, chicks, turkeys, etc.

Mini Builds

Lego also makes a variety of monthly "mini-builds" which are small items made with fairly common pieces. They only keep the current one available on lego's website, but others have collected the old instruction sheets for various mini-builds.
enter image description here and they appear to in some cases overlap items from the "seasonal" instructions above.

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Here's a suggestion: Go to Brickset.com. They have scans of the boxes of almost every set every released. Many of the earlier sets (i.e., those released in the 1970s) are built almost entirely out of basic bricks, and you can usually figure out how they are built just from looking at the picture. Some links to get you started:

Browse list of sets by year or theme. Click on the set number to quickly pull up the picture. Also check out old sets listed under the "Basic" theme.

a simple firetruck:

enter image description here

a jumbo jet:

a jumbo jet

Good luck!

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There is this site you can try - Rebrickable. You can enter what sets/parts you own and then browse what other creations you can build with the parts you have (or almost have).

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Rebrickable is a good idea, but let me say that unless your collection is seriously huge, or you are lucky and someone uploaded an "alternate model" creation based on a kit you already own, you will never find creations that fit in your collection. I have hundreds of sets totalling over 40,000 pieces and I can build almost nothing on rebrickable without making serious substitutions. Not to mention that the OP is looking for creations made primarily out of basic bricks and most creations on rebrickable are quite complex. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 9 '13 at 14:06

I do not know of any book that would have a large catalog of models built only with traditional bricks. I agree with Sergio above, that the best approach is to get a set that comes with lots of alternate instructions. LEGO Creator buckets and LEGO BrickMaster books are excellent in this regard.

Also, I would like to add that building anything from basic LEGO bricks is actually very easy. It is basically the same as building with traditional wooden blocks. You won't find a lot of instructions for those either because children just naturally figure out how to stack them to make a tower, a house, a bridge... so you could simply pour out the LEGO bricks and say, "Let's build a house!", then start stacking bricks to make the walls, leave openings for windows and doors, etc. You can also mix toys and use LEGO to build a castle for example and use Playmobil soldiers to populate it.

The beauty of LEGO is that it is an educational and creative tool. Learning how to free-build with LEGO is one of the greatest joys of this hobby. Most 5-year-olds will much prefer that over following instructions or the designs of others. So you could just look through picture books (or the world outside) and when your child says "Oh, I would like to build a tower like that!", then get the LEGO out and just build it!...(c:

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There is a popular site, which my kids love, with step-by-step instructions: www.buildingexamples.com The lego instructions are categorized by age and type and are also available as App for smartphone and tablet. You can build animals, rockets, buildings and even the Eiffel tower. The youngest children start with small examples, while older children can use more complex instructions. All are based on basic building blocks.

Have fun! My kids love it.

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