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PAB Cup Packing Techniques

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PAB Cup Packing Techniques

Postby theJudeAbides » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:15 am

So, with all the recent talk about PAB, I decided to make a thread about the packing techniques I use when I decide to fill a cup. This is something I've put a fair amount of time into researching and studying in order to get my money's worth. However, like with all research, this is certainly not the "final say," as better techniques may arise.

Anyways, one of the most common questions asked is "how many 2x4 bricks can one fit into a single cup. Using the following technique, I can fit about 142:
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This is what the cup looks like when filled. Note, in step 4, it would probably be wiser to use 5 2x2s connected into the structure, but since the point was to show how many 2x4s I could fit into a cup, I removed them in favor of the 2 2x4s.

If we do a little calculation using a price of $15 for a PAB cup, we see that we get a cost/piece of $15/142 ~= $.11, which is less than half of the online PAB cost of $.26. And this doesn't even take into account the various smaller pieces that you'll be able to fit into the various cracks along the edges.

Because of the 2x4's large and clunky nature, you can't really fully utilize all of the cup's space, so next I tackled the issue of using filling the cup with as many 1x2s as possible:
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Note that the crevice should be filled in like this. When it is filled, the cup ends up looking like this. As you can see, I was able to fit about 607 1x2s into this cup.

Doing some more calculation, we see that the cost/piece ratio is $15/607 ~= $.025 (2.5 cents). When we again compare it to LEGO's online PAB price ($.15), we begin to see what a sham it is. I don't understand why LEGO can't set it's prices to be competitive with itself. It's troublesome.

So I guess the moral of the story is, if you're going to pick a brick, go to a store and stack wisely. You'll end up with more LEGOs for less coin, and that's something everyone can appreciate.
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Re: PAB Cup Packing Techniques

Postby Gingerbeard Man » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:40 pm

Neat! But looking at it from a "time is money" perspective - how long does it take to fill a cup like that? (ie. from standing in front of the PAB wall with an empty cup)
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Re: PAB Cup Packing Techniques

Postby Draykov » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:10 pm

Thanks, JA, for sharing your research. Useful and insightful information, that. I'm sort of with Ginger, though. The P-a-B wall at my closest LEGO store is generally pretty chaotic. You'd have to go on a pretty slow day to be this methodical, but it'd be worth it.
Last edited by Draykov on Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PAB Cup Packing Techniques

Postby TheThrasher » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:46 pm

Thats pretty cool. Now if I only had LEGO store near me to use this at... But anyway, I'v been to a LEGO store once, while in Disney World, and the place was crazy. Like they said, isn't it hard to do all of this with there being alot of people there.

And one thing to add on to what you have done. You could also put a bunch of 1x1 studs or other really small pieces in all the open spots on the sides of the cup just to fill it all in.
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Re: PAB Cup Packing Techniques

Postby theJudeAbides » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:21 pm

Gingerbeard Man wrote:But looking at it from a "time is money" perspective - how long does it take to fill a cup like that? (ie. from standing in front of the PAB wall with an empty cup)


This is a very valid point. I generally avoid doing PAB when my LEGO store is extremely busy. It's difficult to move from bin to bin. However, there are strategies here as well. My LEGO store is in the MoA (Mall of America) which, much like Disney World, attracts tourists like no other. Many simply wander the store gawking, not buying anything, and generally getting in the way. This is why I try to avoid going at night on the weekends. I'll usually go either on a weekday night or early in the day during the weekend. Ideally, I would going early on a weekday, but work generally interferes with that.

The plan isn't foolproof, as MoA holds events at random times which cause crowds to swell. Also, as a general rule, I try to avoid the MoA altogether between Thanksgiving and New Years. It really is a madhouse during those times (even in the middle of a weekday).

Anyways, if it's generally quiet/uncrowded, I can usually fill a cup in 15-20 minutes, sometimes more. The 2x4 technique is easy to remember and quick to use, so it's not bad. I usually use a more generalized version of the 1x2 technique that more closely resembles the 2x4 technique. It isn't as efficient, but it is quicker.

The first thing I do is survey all the pieces they have and note which ones I'm interested in. I then begin by filling the bottom crevice with 1x1s, 1x2s, or other small parts. Then, I start with the bigger pieces constructing the blocks above. After each block (using the 2x4 method) or every 4 layers (using the 1x2 method), I'll stop and fill in the cracks along the sides with small parts (1x1 and 1x2 plates fit nicely). I then continue this build block/fill cracks method until I get close to the top. If there are any non brick/weirdly shaped pieces that I want (like trees and stairs), I'll wait to the end to add them. Finally, I'll fill in the "stud" in the lid with smaller sized pieces and snap it on.

At first, it took me longer, but with practice I was able to not only fit more pieces but do so quicker. I recommend practicing at home with an old cup and the pieces you have. You can take your sweet time and perfect your technique so that when you go into the store, you know what you're doing and can quickly fill your cup(s) and be on your way.
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Re: PAB Cup Packing Techniques

Postby plums_deify » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:39 am

Nice presentation of the information. Really simple and eye-catching.

I have to say...the biggest issue that comes with packing a cup is the longer you stand there, the more other customers assume you're an employee. Course, as you spend more time, you can actually answer product questions just the same as the actual employees there. ;)
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Re: PAB Cup Packing Techniques

Postby Draykov » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:47 am

My height is what gets me in trouble. I'm a sucker for all the 5'3" mothers and 3'5" little kids staring longingly at the high bins.
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