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The Great Parts Conspiracy

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The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Draykov » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:42 pm

As we all know, from time to time, LEGO elements we've known of for years and years undergo subtle modifications or revisions. For instance, the famous 1x1 headlight brick (aka 4070) now has a slightly lighter sibling. And that's cool. But they done gone messed with the 1x1 tap. There I am, gleefully assembling my recently purchased (at 25% off no less) 8959 Claw Digger when I noticed that 3 out of my 4 1x1 taps are missing an outlet.
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How should I feel about this? I really prefer my tap with a hole, thank you. What is the world coming to? What else are they going to "Indy 4" on me? Anyone else have similar concerns? Maybe this would be better in the "Ask LEGO" forum, but what does it all mean? Did they have to make a new 1x1 tap mold? And this is what they decided to do?
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Solo » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:24 pm

I think this is a great thread for the Ask Lego section, so I threw it in there. My guess is the old mold needed to be replaced and it was cheaper to leave out that hole, because it's a less complicated molding process.
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Draykov » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:24 pm

Thanks, Don. I understand the need for TLC to save a few pennies here and there, I really do. But what is and isn't sacred? Where does it end? I want my finger hinges back. I want my 1x1 tap with a hole in it. Oh, well. "Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant."
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Solo » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:44 pm

Nothing in plastic is sacred. Bear this in mind and you should do well. ;)
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Draykov » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:13 pm

Solo wrote:Nothing in plastic is sacred.


*grumble, grumble..."stupid common sense"...grumble grumble*
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Iare Tosevite » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:06 pm

Mold changes must be cheaper than long-term price of additional plastic to "plug in" that hole.

Unless there was other changes I wasn't aware of.
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby EwokWarrior » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:13 pm

Personally, I use them as blasters :lol: ! On a more serious note, I don't really care about the change much. If it saves them money that's more money for them to make sets with, right?
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby bluemoose » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:43 am

Iare Tosevite wrote:Mold changes must be cheaper than long-term price of additional plastic to "plug in" that hole.


Molds have a finite life; they can be refurbished to extend their life, but eventually they have to be retired and replaced.

The foundations of one of the newer factory buildings at Billund is filled with retired molds, to stop anyone else getting their hands on them ...
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Solo » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:53 am

That's a strangely eerie fact... I don't know why but it kind of creeps me out. More so than saying the bodies of the founding CEOs were buried under the place. What's wrong with me? :lol:
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby ellerb » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:00 pm

bluemoose wrote:Molds have a finite life; they can be refurbished to extend their life, but eventually they have to be retired and replaced.

The foundations of one of the newer factory buildings at Billund is filled with retired molds, to stop anyone else getting their hands on them ...


This makes a great deal of sense. The tap has been in 387 sets to date:

http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemIn.asp?P=4599&in=S

The ISD has 144 taps in it. Using the element so frequently likely led to an old mold wearing out.

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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Joedward » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:46 pm

Another new change, which I noticed on one of the new CREATOR sets, but was apparently in a few sets last year, the 1x1 cone. There used to be a fairly seemless transition from slope to stud type bit at the top, btu now, the top of the slope is ever so slightly thicker, so there is a sort of ridge.
Pic here, I really dislike this change, and hope it isn't a permanet change (unlikey), these pieces are sort of ugly now...
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Iare Tosevite » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:48 pm

It's possible they want to prevent pieces from being pushed down too far and breaking, hence the ridge?
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby speaknspell » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:34 am

Iare, your observation about Joedward's question is correct. what they've been doing in Billund is going through every part and figuring out if they're actually "in system" or not. A lot of parts were made one way and for one reason or another don't fit just right with other similar parts, so a lot of parts are getting slight adjustments. You're exactly right on the cone. they changed it so it wouldn't get pushed too far into something and damage it or get stuck.

The tap on the other hand I don't know the exact reason for. I theorize that the nozzle may actually have been only decorative and they had no real reason for that hole being there. On top of that, the hole may have made the mold much more complex and by removing it they were able to make it more efficient.

Look for subtle changes like this to happen to many elements though over the course of the next few years. Its all a part of a larger project to make sure everything is working together like it was originally intended.

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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Draykov » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:07 pm

Ooh, insightful. Thanks, Steve.
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Iare Tosevite » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:49 pm

Man wish this forum had karma! I would have added some, speakandspell. :(

Thanks. :D
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Draykov » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:39 am

Things are getting even more confusing:

Windscreen 7 x 4 x 2 Round (presumably retired)
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Windscreen 7 x 4 x 2 Round Extended Front Edge (presumably replaces 30384 - new in 2008)
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Windscreen 7 x 4 x 2 Round with Handle (new in 2011)
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Windscreen 5 x 6 x 2 Curved (new in 2008)
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Windscreen 5 x 6 x 2 Curved Top Canopy with 4 Studs and Handle (new in 2011)
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Chief » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:40 am

Even thought the new one is even less streamlined than the last revision, I think that bar on the front is going to prove useful.
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Draykov » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:44 am

I'm all for new and more utilitarian parts...it just seems weird that we're now getting such slight variations across similar parts...and within just a couple of years of each other.
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby zwolya » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:36 am

If you think those are bad, look up the difference between 1x1 Modified Plates with U-rings vs. O-rings. Then check BrickLink to see that every set listed as containing one "as regular" contains the other "as alternate". And the vice is versa too, so good luck reassembling your sets from that giant parts bin lurking under your bed...
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Re: The Great Parts Conspiracy

Postby Drock » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:08 am

Draykov wrote:Things are getting even more confusing:

Windscreen 7 x 4 x 2 Round (presumably retired)
Image

Windscreen 7 x 4 x 2 Round Extended Front Edge (presumably replaces 30384 - new in 2008)
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Windscreen 7 x 4 x 2 Round with Handle (new in 2011)
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I was just rebuilding my '06 A-Wing last night, and realized how much I prefer the second windscreen to the first. But the third one looks awful. It looks more sturdy, however. Function over form I guess. Are there any new sets yet that utilize the "Round with Handle?"
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