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Why does the Erling brick (#4070) have a ridge below its outward facing stud?

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Whereas the more versatile and less common #87087 does not? The #87087 piece also has a better use in SNOT usage, as it can accomadate larger bricks.

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

The ridge is there to make the base the standard 5LUs wide (see also "What is an Erling Brick"), enabling it to accept the standard stud.

I believe the rest of the brick was thinned out so that the combined "depth" of the Erling brick and a 1x1 plate (its common usage as a headlight) was the same height as a standard brick.

From the HoMa's World of Bricks page on the Headlight Brick:

If headlight bricks are turned over by 90° and a plate is attached to the stud then this construction is as high as a standard LEGO brick or a layer of three standard LEGO plates.

Stacked bricks - HoMa's World of Bricks

It also helps to keep the 1x1 plate straight to the bricks edge.

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4  
Good visual explanation. Amazing little brick. –  LarsTech Nov 23 '11 at 16:57
2  
Props to HoMa's World of Bricks for the image. –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Nov 23 '11 at 17:03
    
I've never seen that brick used that way. –  Ambo100 Nov 23 '11 at 17:51
1  
There are a couple more uses as well. Two Erlings one stud apart can have a horizontal brick connect them. And you can use 8 to make a cube to which 2x2 plates can be attached (about the size of a Lego die). Very useful parts! –  retracile Dec 1 '11 at 2:22
    
@Ambo100 The Cusoo Delorean uses them in this configuration –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Mar 12 at 20:01
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