You probably know LEGO as the perfect gift for the builder in your life, or maybe you know them from the incomparable pain felt when you step on one of those tiny bricks. Regardless, everyone knows LEGO. But did you know that LEGO is the king of parts management? Their team of designers regularly saves time and money by finding creative ways to reuse existing pieces.
For example, if LEGO makes a wheel for their Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster playset, why would they redesign and rebuild a similar wheel for their Picnic in the Park bicycle and cart? Using the same part on multiple designs is obviously a great way to save time and energy while designing new products.
But what about more obscure pieces? For example, the Pteranodon wings from the Jurassic World set? Pieces like that seem difficult, if not impossible, to reuse. However, LEGO fans have recently taken to TikTok and other social platforms to share the sneakier ways LEGO reuses those odd pieces.
Wings and surfboards aren’t the only pieces LEGO reimagines. In 2001, LEGO released a series of Harry Potter sets that included tiny green frogs.
As of 2022, those frogs have been created in 14 colors and used in over 180 different sets. As one Reddit user noticed, a modern, more vibrant version of this frog was found in LEGO’s Bonsai Tree set disguised as cherry blossoms.
Social media posts like this have led to the discovery of other parts being reused. One Star Wars fan took to Twitter after realizing his rocket boosters were actually carrots!
Websites like Rebrickable and BrickLink have made finding those reused “misfits” an easy task. These sites break down each LEGO set based on parts. Users can search by set to find all the parts used in that set, or they can search by a specific part and find each set that that part is used in. For example, if you look up the rocket booster carrot, you will find that it has been used in over 200 different sets. From farms, to mines, to space crafts, carrot part #33172 is quite versatile!
Using sites like these, avid collectors can evaluate their own part inventory and save money by only purchasing the single pieces they don’t already own.
LEGO’s efficient use of parts is impressive, to say the least! Parts management is a sustainable practice that can make room for creativity and save any industrial company time and money. So, the next time a manufacturer steps on a LEGO, I hope they are inspired.
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