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How to build your parts inventory?

mss2503amss2503a United StatesMember Posts: 4
Hi Everyone,

I'm Mandeep. This is my first post in this forum. I'm looking for some tips from you guys.

I'm a novice lego builder, with only a few lego sets (a few small technics & a mindstorm nxt 2). I'm fascinated by lego technic vehicles, especially the motorized ones (example of builder I admire is - madoca1977 (youtube handle)).

The first hurdle I hit when trying to build something, is the lack of parts. Eg: I was looking at the front suspension of my vehicle with 2 spring shocks. However, I only have one of those from my 8066 set. How do I get more shock absorber parts? Do people buy std lego sets for parts or do they look at ebay and the likes for custom parts (like I found someone selling 4 shocks & a few gears on ebay).

I've seen lego builders have so many bricks/joints/gears etc, I always wondered if they are scavenging regualr lego sets for parts or do they just order specific parts in bulk (and from whom)? I don't see lego officially selling just parts alone.

Thanks for your time.



  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,385
    Ebay tends to be expensive for individual parts - try

    also LEGO do sell individual parts online either as pick a brick which tends to have little inventory or bricks and pieces which is a little more difficult to find on the site (reach it through customer service page) however they close that service this time of year to add new parts, should reopen in February I think.

    Most people who build original creations do buy sets at part them out, but I think once you’ve been doing it for a while you get a feel for discounts that make it more worth while.

    Also if you have a local rLUG I’d recommend joining them as that will give you access to other programs that might be useful in the future.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Sofia BG/Dallas TXMember Posts: 4,234
    Buying deeply discounted sets for parts works too. Especially if the set has desirable minifigs you can sell or trade. In the past I have gotten parts basically free by selling off the figures after finding a good clearance deal. That is getting harder to do though with a flooded marketplace on the seller side.  
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 795
    Shop clearance sales at places like Walmart and Target and buy sets that have parts that look useful. Sometimes Amazon has good deals, too. Then there are thrift stores, Craigslist, etc. After two years of collecting, I’ve learned to wait for at least 40-50% discounts off RRP before I will buy just for parts. Ideally, you should be getting a price that works out to 5 cents per piece or less.
  • mss2503amss2503a United StatesMember Posts: 4
    Thanks guys! Thats a lot of info to process! Much appreciated!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,578
    Learn what you use a lot of, then either purchase sets with a high percentage of useful parts in (at a discount if possible), or buy individual parts from bricklink.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,952
    ^ Yeah, you might find a cheap small CITY set at £2/$2/whatever, but if half the 50 parts are wheels, tyres, mudguards, steering wheel, minifigs etc, it might not really be worth it if you just want it for parts.
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,359
    If live in a rural part of the USA, go out now and check local Walmart stores. Most just went through what is likely the last round of clearance and knocked stuff down to 75% off or greater. Buy up anything that you think looks like it has interesting parts and sell off the minifigures to offset the cost. Next round of Walmart clearance won't be til summer.
  • mss2503amss2503a United StatesMember Posts: 4
    Where do people sell stuff mostly? ebay? craigslist? ...?
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 338
    mss2503a said:
    Where do people sell stuff mostly? ebay? craigslist? ...?
    eBay, Bricklink, and local craigslist are the most common.  There's a few other LEGO sites too, like Brick Owl, but they are smaller thank Bricklink.
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 986
    mss2503a said:
    Where do people sell stuff mostly? ebay? craigslist? ...?
    Don't forget here in the marketplace section. 
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 1,982
    1. Find an active Lego Club that is participating in the Lego program called LugBulk. It's a great way to obtain large quantities of specific parts. 

    2. Craiglist! You will see parents unloading their kids Lego all the time. They generally price them too high but do not be afraid to negotiate. 5 dollars a pound is a decent price and anything lower is a great buy. Here is a good example:

    There is a probably a local facebook group that is worth checking. It usually called (your city) Yard Sale.

    3. As mentioned before, Bricklink is the source for any and all parts. Usually fairly competitive on pricing but it is THE place to find that specific part that you need like this trans-blue Octopus for about $20.00!

  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 413
    I will add that in my experience, I've gathered a huge variety of spare parts from garage and yard sale discoveries, as well as trawling through various thrift stores, like Goodwill or Women's Shelter. Not often, but often enough, I've found not loads of used sets and bricks at bargain prices, but even the occasional sealed set, too. Always beware for filth and off-brand pieces, though! It may take a little extra work cleaning some bulk brick finds, but the cost savings makes it worth it.

    Fun fact, I've never once used Bricklink to buy parts.
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 795
    ^ I’ve bought a lot of used LEGO, some of which has been fairly dirty (but not disgustingly so). To clean it up I run it through the washing machine with my towels using the Blockwash net bags sold on Amazon:
    These have held up well after dozens of uses. I put about a half-shoebox worth of LEGO in the bag so it has plenty of room to move around. I pick out any pieces beforehand that I think might get damaged in the machine, like large plates, long skinny plates, antennas, large trans canopies and windows, etc. These I wash by hand with a toothbrush. To dry the pieces I just spread them out on a towel and leave them to air dry. I haven’t noticed much if any water spotting doing this. Some pieces do hold more water than others (like larger 2x bricks) and I shake the excess water out of those. 

    Then comes the sorting...

  • MorabrickMorabrick Michigan, USAMember Posts: 1
    Download the apps letgo or OfferUp. I just got a big box of mostly complete Star Wars sets for $45 from a guy who lives near me. That, and If you're just looking for a bunch of random parts, although you can find some specific sets on too. But for something more specific, definitely Bricklink is the way to go. 
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,014
    Keep an eye on the "What are you buying", "Dare I say Walmart", "Target Deals", and "Brag" threads here at Brickset to find out what sets other folks are finding cheap, and where they find them. I paid little attention to Brickheadz up until today, but seeing that people are finding them for $2.50 piqued my interest, so I'll be making a trip to Walmart today.

    Don't put off sorting when you start accumulating parts. I neglected sorting when I got back into LEGO, now have over a dozen 66 quart (62 liter) tubs of unsorted parts. Being able to find parts you own is as important as having them.
  • lady_brickerlady_bricker Member Posts: 10
    Don’t forget to put the word out among your friends, coworkers, family, etc., that you could use their old LEGO. And stress that any old LEGO is fine and they don't need to clean it first; otherwise they'll hesitate to offer you a dusty pile of random bricks in an old cardboard box (that you'd be really happy to have!).

    Every town is different in terms of where to best/most cheaply acquire used LEGO. Where I am, everything on Craigslist is very overpriced but Facebook marketplace is very reasonable (so far). The local WalMart never has good clearance sales, but a WalMart 35 miles away has clearance that lasts for weeks and goes all the way to 90%. So make sure you investigate all possibilities and find out the best spots in YOUR town.

    The best advice anyone ever gave me was "buy what you like to build." Sets on deep clearance are so tempting (both to build your collection fast and to get the "look at the deal I got!" buzz) but if you won't use the parts, they're a waste of money. In the end, you might look at the pile of sets you've bought and realize you'd have been better off buying a few really useful sets at full price!

    Try to balance your purchases between random lots (to build up a nice pile of pieces to MOC and experiment with) and some very deliberate purchases that you know are right in the zone of what you want to be building. You'll end up with a more useful inventory that way.

    If you want to trying reselling some LEGO (or parts, or minifigs) to help fund your hobby, go slow and start very small. Make sure you enjoy it and the return on investment is worth the effort.

    Good luck and have fun!
  • mss2503amss2503a United StatesMember Posts: 4
    Thank you so much again everyone! I have a lot to learn!
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the WestMember Posts: 2,106
    The Lego Stores have these free Lego play bins.
    You can get free pieces there.

    I KID!!!!
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 51
    I'm fortunate that I live near a few stores that specialize in selling second hand Lego.  I usually go in with a list of parts I need and I'll also pick out rarer pieces I find that will come in handy at some point.  I also use BL and BrickOwl when I need a high number of a specific part (this is mostly for convenience).  I'm also a member of the local LUG and pick up parts here and there, though sometimes they're not exactly parts that fit into what I build (mostly trains and City).  Every once in a while I'll pick up a new set on sale if it has useful pieces in it.
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