I am new to Bricks.StackExchange, but not to StackExchange, nor to LEGO bricks. I have run into a problem and was hoping for some ideas.

I was trying to imitate the cool water technique of Legopard on MOCpages.


Sadly, I found that when I did it on a large scale (about 46x46 pegs), the water tends to warp upward in the transverse direction, curling the edges. I cannot get my lake to sit flat. I get the standing wave in the longitudinal direction, as shown in the picture, but the entire sheet warps in the transverse direction.

I first thought that perhaps mold type played a role, but building it in either clip type gave the same results.

Next, I tried putting in longer 1x plates below to hold the longitudinal wave as shown in the picture, while hopefully straightening the transverse curl, but the problem is that the 1x1 clips hold the water/tiles too tight in the transverse direction, thus pulling the pieces too close together, so the plates end up making the warp worse as they push the bases apart further (due to the normal tolerance or piece spacing).

I would love any ideas people can offer. I am not sure how Legopard got his to sit so flat. I am finding that even 6 tiles wide gets a noticeable warp and his picture is many times that.

  • 2
    Have you tried putting anything longer underneath? Maybe a 1x10 plate for example. – Craig Mar 21 '18 at 20:43
  • 2
    Yes, as described above, putting in a transverse plate was great for the standing wave in the longitudinal direction, but it made the transverse curl worse as it forced the 1x1 clips underneath even further apart. – Thomas Mar 21 '18 at 21:24
  • ah, I didn't understand the "putting in 1x plates below" was talking about long plates, I read that as just 1x1. Could you edit the question so it's clear. – Craig Mar 21 '18 at 21:48
  • Fantastic question! Welcome to Bricks! – jncraton Mar 23 '18 at 1:54

This image of the same model

This image of the same model shows that the whole set sits on a frame of bricks. In the inside, you could place bricks underneath wherever necessary to attach the water plates (not only 1x... but maybe 2x10, or several 2x4 in a row). They are invisible, so color and type don't matter. If this row of bricks reaches from one side of the frame to the other, it can shift to allow the longitudinal waves but it cannot curl up transversal(ly?).

  • 1
    I just tried that out, just a preliminary attempt, using two 2x10 bricks running transversely. Believe it or not, it causes the curl to concentrate itself at the joint, creating a strong "V" between the two bricks with a full 1-2 mm gap. Thus, this method would require a lot of large bricks. I will have to look at it more to see if I can afford the extreme depth. My project is 16' x 6.5' (5 m x 2 m)! It sits on a masonite board, so any depth requires special work in creating a hole and deepening the masonite board in that area (as mentioned, the bean-shaped lake is 46x46 pegs). – Thomas Mar 22 '18 at 16:21

I admittedly don't have the 46x46 = 2116(!) 1x1 clips to properly build this, but I was able to build a small sample to replicate the problem.

Because this construction technique eliminates the natural tiny gap between elements, you can't easily reinforce it just by attaching plates and bricks to the underside. This construction is essentially "out of system". When you attach bricks underneath, you are forcing an error between this and standard system construction. This is why you see the "strong v" when bracing this with plates or bricks underneath.

One way that you might be able to brace it is by using a continuous offset of some sort. Here's an example: continuous offset bracing

continuous offset bracing

You could also try building it without any reinforcement and then try to flatten it out (e.g. you could leave it under a pile of books overnight). I'm honestly not sure if this is likely to work, and it may permanently deform your bricks if it does, so I can't strongly recommend it. Realistically, this technique is already putting these parts under a lot of stress and may permanently harm them anyway.

  • I agree it is definitely stressing them. I have a large metal bowl, and I considered putting the lake on the upside down bowl and weighting the edges a little. I don't think it will work, however, as I have a few pieces that are falling out all the time and I think it is because their grips are a little looser; I will need to verify that. If I loosen the hole batch, I think the whole thing will just fall apart. – Thomas Mar 23 '18 at 3:00
  • There seems to be a fundamental flaw here. When I line up a dozen 1x1 clips, 1x1 tiles, and 1x1 plates, it appears that the clips are a little wider than the others, the plates next and the tiles least. Thus, straightening the warp demands the creation of gaps between the tiles, again pointing to a problem if I try to stretch the grips out with weight. – Thomas Mar 23 '18 at 3:02
  • I will play with your technic idea and let you know what I find. – Thomas Mar 23 '18 at 3:03
  • 1
    That certainly seems to be the core of the issue. If you wanted to turn to the dark side, you might be able to fix it by sanding down the 1x1 clips. :) – jncraton Mar 23 '18 at 11:57

To help share ideas, in case somebody else runs into this someday, I will post another idea I have been playing with. I don't know which solution I will go with yet, but I add this idea to help others.

The idea is basically to create some fault lines through the lake where I can hinge the water and avoid the accummulation of stress. I have started playing with it on one end.

Basically, I remove all of the 1x1 clips across the entire width of the lake, but using some pattern that allows a somewhat natural look to remain.

Next, I put a collection of 1x plates beneath that area, so that the colors don't look too bad.

Finally, at my high points in the wave, I use some 1x hinge plates to connect the two pieces. Thus we keep a single top surface, but cause the accummulative warp to remain minimal.

I will try to get a picture of the underside and top to help people see what I am doing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.