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Plastic Warping in Old Lego Parts

CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 30
I was working on my old #4095 set the other day and finally built some thing with it after fixing it. However, I was having problems actually attaching certain pieces. Some pieces still fit but no longer click, instead they are very hard to attach and feel quite spongy when pressing them down. When I was building the head of the robot dog build, the whole thing was uneven and trying to twist apart. It wasn't until it had some bracing that it finally stayed straight, but those pieces took considerable force to attach and made loud snaps when they connected. (nothing broke, it was just the pieces finally connecting under great strain)

I did play with this set allot as a kid, is this something that happens just with normal wear and tear or is this something that legos do when they get old? It was stored assembled on a shelf in a corner for years, could that have done it? Is there anything I can do about it? Will they just straighten out naturally if I build different things, or are they permanently messed up now? As someone who wants to eventually get into collecting vintage LEGO when I get the means to do so, this is a legitimate concern for me.

Comments

  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,003
    LEGO bricks can warp, particularly those from the earliest days of the LEGO brick which weren't made out of ABS. Your set is only 14 years old, however, and I wouldn't generally expect warping in bricks of that age; I've recently been playing around with a bunch of sets from the late 70's and early 80's, for instance, and the bricks were pristine.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,894
    edited October 12
    LEGO bricks can warp, particularly those from the earliest days of the LEGO brick which weren't made out of ABS. Your set is only 14 years old, however, and I wouldn't generally expect warping in bricks of that age; I've recently been playing around with a bunch of sets from the late 70's and early 80's, for instance, and the bricks were pristine.
    Gotta agree with you Dr. Dave.....
     
    Unless it is 1950s and 1960s Cellulose Acetate... the bricks should not warp.  I've had newer ABS parts (as old as the 1970s) that were in constructions for 35 years, and they are still fine... no warping or other problems.

    I wonder if maybe the LEGO in question may have spent many summers in blazingly hot American attics.... could do that to ABS.... but even then.... I've not heard complaints about that.  I'm befuddled?? 
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 30
    I live in Maryland, it doesn't get that hot here. The set was on a shelf across from a window, but it was on the bottom, which I thought was protected from direct sunlight. But then again, you said they shouldn't do that, especially since the pieces are mostly green and not black or another very dark color that gets hot in sunlight. Perhaps it has something to do with the brick stress of the particular build it was left in? I wouldn't think this would be a problem though.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 398
    ABS bricks wear out over time.  I have some childhood sets from the late 80s that barely hold together.  The key statement that people seem to be missing is that @Cyberdragon said that he played with this set a lot as a kid.  The more you assemble and disassemble are particular group of bricks, the more there wear down.  As a kid you tend not to notice these small changes over time.  But if you set the bricks aside for a number years and then come back to them they will feel funny, particularly if you are familiar with how new bricks fit together.

    Used and worn out ABS bricks can be an issue if you looking to get into collecting vintage sets.  The first copy of #6080 I bought in 1999 (which had about the same age difference as your #4095 does to now) was so loose and worn it felt more like building with cheap knock-offs. 

    There's is also interesting reverse phenomenon.  Some older bricks have almost too much clutch power.  I've had the problem of bricks not wanting to fit together.  And when they do it's a really hard snap.  Trying to pry them apart feels like your going to break them.
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