So you’ve just received your first pack of Mbriks™… fantastic! Now what?
This post is designed to get you familiar with building and displaying with Mbriks. It's broken out into sections to help you better access the advice you need.
- Getting Started
- Display Surface Considerations
- Building 101
- Advanced Design - Stud.io and Other Block Design Programs
1. Getting Started
The first thing to consider after cracking open your Mbriks pack is what magnetically receptive surface will you build on: the refrigerator door? Some other magnetically receptive object? a magnetic whiteboard or chalkboard? An Mdisplay?
Once you’ve got a display surface in mind, try attaching an Mbrik. Does it stick? Gooooood... (and, dare I say, absolutely necessary for us to move forward ;)
Next, try flipping and rotating the Mbrik - it should stick on all of its sides. Note that once you begin building, you'll be able to display your creations in a wide array of orientations: studs facing up, out, in, tilted, etc...
Now, remove the Mbrik and attach it instead to a LEGO®, or other third party block. Once the two are firmly snapped together, attach the pair to the magnetically receptive surface. Now flip the pair around to try different orientations - just remember that the Mbrik must always be touching the surface for the blocks to remain supported.
Awesome. You should now have a sense for how Mbriks attach to both LEGOs® and magnetically receptive surfaces!
2. Display Surface Considerations
Regarding potential display surfaces, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Is the surface writable? (e.g. a magnetically receptive dry-erase board, an Mdisplay, etc...) If so, you'll be able to draw dynamic backgrounds behind what you build!
- Is the surface flat or curved? If it's flat, you should be able to easily incorporate stickers and other paper backgrounds.
- Will your display surface move or vibrate? (e.g., the refrigerator door). If so, be sure to add enough Mbriks to accommodate the occasional large vibration.
- Does the surface have a glossy finish? (e.g., like many dry erase boards) Consider using an additional Mbrik or two to compensate for the reduced frictional support.
- How much display surface vs. display area? Note that although Mbriks must connect to the surface to function, other blocks in your creation may extend beyond the surface’s edges, letting your creations grow beyond the confines of the magnetically receptive surface.
3. Building 101
Once you’ve assessed your display surface, consider what you want to build. Something big? Something small? Whatever you build, keep in mind the following tips:
- Pick your build orientation first. Which way do you want the studs (i.e. those cylindrical extensions on the top of all your blocks) to face? Out towards you? In towards the surface? Up towards the ceiling? Which orientation will best convey your creative vision? Keep in mind that an Mbrik's magnetic pull is equally strong on all 6 of its sides.
- Mbriks must actually touch the magnetically receptive surface to function. It goes without saying that any Mbrik not touching the display surface will offer no attachment support ;(
- Space Mbriks apart. If your creation uses multiple Mbriks, be sure to space them far enough apart so that they connect to the display surface instead of each other.
- Build first, attach second. While it is possible to snap LEGO® blocks to an Mbrik that is already attached to a surface, it is not advisable. Instead, build your creation on the table or floor and then attach it to the display surface when it is completed. This will limit the risk of large drops during construction. So... first hang your empty display surface, then attach your completed Mbrik + LEGO® creations.
- Build larger creations in sections. For larger creations, building in sections will make placing and adjusting your creation easier; should you wish to change what you’ve built, you’ll only need to remove the section that needs work.
- How many Mbriks will your creation need? The number of Mbriks™ needed to support any given block creation can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including: the magnetic receptiveness and surface finish of the underlying surface, the weight/sizes of compatible blocks used, the thickness of any media placed between your structure and the underlying surface, and your creation's structural design.
4. Advanced Design - Stud.io and Other Block Design Programs
Although Mbriks can be a ton of fun to use with your existing blocks - either building something from scratch using the extra blocks you have lying around, or attaching Mbriks to your existing creations - it can also be quite rewarding to design something new with Mbriks in mind from the start.
Let's say you have an idea of something cool to make... how do you get the blocks you need? I use the computer program Stud.io. With Stud.io, you can design with virtual LEGO® blocks in a three dimensional space (btw, I have not been paid by Stud.io to say any of this - I just truly enjoy their program!).
Stud.io lets you incorporate blocks from LEGO's entire historical catalog... BUT make sure you check the box than ensures the parts are actually available for purchase (more on this in a moment).
Also, be sure to use some sort of placeholder for Mbriks in your digital design (as of now, Mbriks are not available for order through Stud.io). I use 4, 2x2 stud plates; two colored white and two colored azure, to remind me of where each Mbrik will go.
As you build, you can keep track of the cost of your project by clicking "Model --> Model Info" from the top drop down menu. If your project is getting too expensive, check to see if there are particular blocks that are driving up the cost. Some types and colors are more expensive then others, so change out pricier blocks with less expensive ones if your budget requires it.
Once you've completed your design, you can order the blocks you've used AS LONG AS you have checked the box . My experience has been that I usually receive all the blocks I've ordered within 5 days or so of placing the order. You can also use stud.io to create a LEGO-style instruction booklet to help you put together your creation once your blocks arrive!
-----------We truly hope you enjoy building and displaying with Mbriks! Please let us know if you have an questions or suggestions, or would like to share with us what you've built.
Lastly, hang on to the box your Mbriks came in! When not in use, storing your Mbriks in their box will ensure they don’t get lost among your other blocks.