Book Review - Forbidden LEGO by Ulrik Pilegaard and Mike Dooley
Having a couple of close friends who are LEGO-maniacs, I couldn't pass up the chance to read and review this particular title in order to see what it's all about... Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against! by Ulrik Pilegaard and Mike Dooley. I now understand why they find LEGO building so much fun, and it probably wouldn't take much to bring me into the fold...
Introduction; How to Build Great Things; Project 1 - Paper Plane Launcher (PPL); Project 2 - Candy Coated Catapult (CCC); Project 3 - Ping-Pong Cannon (PPC); Project 4 - All-Terrain LEGO (ATL); Project 5 - High Velocity Automatic LEGO Plate Dispenser (HVALPD); Tips and Tricks
So what makes these projects "forbidden"? There are certain rules that have to be followed in order for a LEGO model to be allowed to be marketed as a kit. Some of these rules would be:
- Never launch a non-approved object into the air.
- Never launch a non-approved object into the air with great force.
- Never alter any LEGO part.
- Never connect two moters to run together.
- Never double the approved voltage.
And so on. Generally speaking, a LEGO kit should not be able to injure someone, should be able to be built with standard pieces, and shouldn't use anything that doesn't come directly from LEGO. In varying degrees, these five projects break some (or all) of the official rules. Which is why they are appealing to the LEGO builder's inner-geek. For as complex as these devices look on the surface, the authors do an excellent job in breaking things down into step-by-step instructions. They start with a brief explanation of the project, some of the design hurdles they faced, what rules are broken, and what non-LEGO parts you might need. From there, you find a full parts list (in color, complete with pictures and amounts) followed by a numbered series of steps. The steps show what parts are needed for that specific step, as well as how they fit together with the growing assembly. Surprisingly, they do this without directions... just the pictures. But the assembly is broken down into very small steps, so you don't have to make any major intuitive leaps to get from step 45 to 46. And if you've been building with LEGO before this, I'll guess that you wouldn't have any trouble following along. I could even see myself making any one of these, and I'm definitely *not* an engineering wizard. :) Oh, and another nice touch... the binding is designed to allow the book to lay flat when opened. So you won't be looking for weighted objects to hold the book open while you're building your next contraption.
I don't know that I'd want to give this book to a 10 year old for fear of what he'd do with the items once built. But knowing the person(s) who I'll be giving my copy to after this, I should probably trust the 10 year old a bit more. Great book, wonderful quality, and it should provide a number of hours of fun walking on the "wild side".