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build virtual legosLEGO is a timeless toy that generations have enjoyed around the world. Back in 2003, LEGO released a free software tool called LEGO Digital Designer. The easiest way to describe it is to say that it is a CAD tool that uses LEGO bricks to perform the design.

You can download LEGO Digital Designer for both Mac OS X and Windows. When you start it up, you’ll see that you have the option to build virtual lego designs using factory, mindstorms, or creator. For each of the three options, you can choose to use a starter design, free build from scratch, or open a model you’ve previously saved.

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To start designing, you just select bricks from the brick palette and start placing them down on the surface with your mouse. The bricks are grouped together by type, so you can expand a group and then select the type and color of brick you want to use. Then just place it wherever you would like.

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Placing the bricks can be a little tricky at times. Sometimes the bricks just don’t seem to go where you want them to go. To help get things into the right place, you can move the view around with the right mouse button.

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Just press and hold down the right mouse button, and then move the mouse around to rotate the view. If the design has fallen off the screen after you’ve rotated it, you can hold the shift key down while you also hold down the right mouse button. This allows you to move the entire viewport up, down, left, and right.

There are a number of selection tools available in the toolbox.

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  • Single Selection tool – Select a single brick at a time
  • Multiple Selection tool – Select multiple bricks at a time
  • Connected Selection tool – Select a single brick, and all bricks connected to it will be selected as well
  • Color Selection tool – Select all bricks of the same color of the brick selected
  • Shape Selection tool – Select all bricks that have the same shape of the brick selected
  • Color and Shape Selection tool – Select bricks that are the same color and shape of the brick selected

There is also a LEGO Factory Gallery, where you can see designs that others have made and uploaded. You can download the designs and customize them any way you want. All of the designs in the gallery are free to download.

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Download the LEGO Digital Designer to build virtual legos today, and simulate all your childhood memories!

  1. T.J. Mininday
    March 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I see a "Check Price" in the gallery section. Can you actually buy all of the pieces for this? If that's the case, that would be awesome. Create your own Lego masterpiece and then order all of the parts needed to assemble it for real?

    • Jorge Sierra
      March 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm

      Yep, you can actually purchase and physically construct the models you design. I was looking at some of the prices on designs the gallery and they seem as though they may be a bit pricey. There may also be some limitations as to which bricks you can use on purchased models. I noticed that some of the starter models popup a message saying that you won't be able to get pricing due to some of the bricks used in the design.

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