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Ever found yourself ankle-deep in a sea of LEGO, wondering why you always seem to end up with a handful of extra bricks? You’re not alone. It’s a common puzzle that’s left many a LEGO aficionado scratching their heads.
The sneaky little pieces seem to multiply, much like socks disappearing in the laundry. If this conundrum tickles your curiosity, then buckle up, fellow LEGO enthusiast!
We’re about to embark on a wild ride into the heart of LEGO’s mysterious world of extra pieces.
Let’s set the scene. It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon. You’re nestled comfortably on your living room floor, surrounded by LEGO pieces, and engrossed in the challenge of assembling the latest Star Wars Millennium Falcon set.
As you place the final brick, you’re struck by a sense of accomplishment, only to be immediately replaced by bewilderment. Why are there extra pieces? Did I miss a step?
It’s a question that’s baffled LEGO lovers for years: “Do LEGO sets have extra pieces?” Well, you’re in the right place, because we’re about to venture deep into the rabbit hole to find the answer.
Many (but not all) Lego sets will have a few extra pieces in the set in case some of them get lost. The extra pieces are often the smallest ones since those are the most common missing bricks.
They do this for a variety of reasons but the most common is so you don’t have any missing Lego pieces or broken pieces that would keep you from completing your set.
Lego does this so that you can enjoy your Lego structures and build them down to the smallest detail even if when opening the package a tiny piece disappears on you.
However, this can be pretty confusing to a lot of people when they finish building their Lego kits and have a few small pieces left over and can’t figure out where they go!
So if you have built a Lego set recently and can’t figure out what a few small extra pieces are for, this is it. They are for those people who accidentally lose one when building the set.
The History and Evolution of LEGO Sets
LEGO, hailing from the tiny town of Billund in Denmark, has been captivating builders of all ages since 1932. In the early days, LEGO was all about wooden toys. Yes, you read that right.
No colorful bricks, no assembly required. It wasn’t until 1949 that the first LEGO bricks, then known as ‘Automatic Binding Bricks’, made their appearance.
The journey from rudimentary wooden toys to intricate plastic bricks was no cakewalk. As LEGO sets evolved, so did the number and variety of pieces included. The ‘Town Plan’ set of 1955, for instance, had a mere 200 pieces.
Fast forward to 2023, and we’re looking at the ‘World Map’ set with an astonishing 11,695 pieces! Now, that’s what I call a quantum leap!
But let’s not get carried away with the numbers. We’re here to talk about the extra pieces.
Behind the Scenes: LEGO’s Approach to Quality Control
LEGO’s commitment to quality is nothing short of legendary. The precision with which each brick is manufactured is akin to a Swiss watchmaker crafting his masterpieces.
Just imagine this: the allowable error for each LEGO brick is a minuscule 0.002 millimeters. That’s thinner than a human hair!
But the story doesn’t end at production. Packing LEGO sets is an equally meticulous process. Using a combination of weight and count checks, LEGO ensures that each set includes the exact number of pieces required.
But here’s where things get interesting. LEGO’s packing process has an additional twist – the inclusion of extra pieces.
According to LEGO, extra pieces are added to ensure a smooth building experience. As Jamie Berard, Design Manager Specialist at LEGO, puts it, “We just want to make sure people have a great experience… and that’s why we’ll always add a few extra.”
The Truth about Extra Pieces in LEGO Sets
The verdict is in, folks! Yes, LEGO sets do include extra pieces. But it’s not as random as it seems. LEGO specifically includes extras of the smallest pieces – you know, the ones that have a knack for disappearing just when you need them most.
Why does LEGO include these extras, you ask? Well, there are a few theories. Some believe it’s to cover for potential losses during the building process. Others hypothesize it’s to accommodate for the margin of error during the packing process.
A third theory suggests that LEGO is simply encouraging creativity by providing extra bricks for free-form building. Here’s a quick rundown:
- The Loss Theory: Ever lost a LEGO piece in the heat of building? We’ve all been there. LEGO understands that these things happen, especially with the smallest of pieces. So, they throw in a few extras just in case.
- The Error Margin Theory: LEGO’s packing process is incredibly precise, but even the best systems aren’t foolproof. Some suggest that the extra pieces are LEGO’s way of hedging against any potential packing errors.
- The Creativity Theory: LEGO is all about creative play. By including extra pieces, LEGO may be subtly encouraging builders to go off-script and use these pieces to add their unique touch to the set.
Regardless of the reason, one thing’s for certain: these extra pieces are a treasure trove for LEGO fans. They open up a world of possibilities, from fixing mistakes to creating entirely new designs.
Unraveling the Impact on LEGO Fans
The discovery of extra pieces in a LEGO set can be a real roller coaster of emotions. First, there’s the panic (“Did I miss a step?”), followed by relief (“Phew, everything’s in its place”), and finally excitement (“Ooh, bonus pieces!”).
It’s a wild ride, but one that many LEGO fans wouldn’t trade for the world.
The presence of extra pieces in LEGO sets has sparked some fascinating reactions within the LEGO community. Let’s take a look at a few:
- The Architects: These are the LEGO fans who see extra pieces as an opportunity to improve upon the original design. For them, these extra pieces aren’t just leftovers – they’re tools for innovation.
- The Collectors: There are those who collect these extra pieces over time, eventually amassing enough to build entirely new creations. Imagine having a whole fleet of mini LEGO spaceships, all made from extra pieces!
- The Lifesavers: Ever had that heart-sinking moment when you step on a LEGO brick? Some LEGO fans have found a novel solution – using extra pieces as a decoy to save their feet (and sanity)!
- The Artists: For the creatively inclined, these extra pieces become an outlet for artistic expression. From intricate mosaics to dazzling sculptures, the possibilities are endless.
In essence, the impact of extra pieces on LEGO fans is as diverse as the fans themselves. Whether they’re viewed as a safety net, a tool for creativity, or a foot-saving miracle, extra pieces undoubtedly add a sprinkle of magic to the LEGO experience.
Do Lego Sets Always Have Extra Pieces?
First off, the extra pieces in a Lego set are not something that always happens. There are a few reasons that sometimes there will be these extra small pieces in the set and other times there won’t be.
Lego claims that when it comes to packing the smallest pieces, they are not 100% confident in how many are in a specific bag and getting it accurate all of the time.
Most Lego components are loaded into little plastic baggies, and this is done automatically by the weight of the Lego pieces. However, the smallest pieces are complicated to weigh and require more precision and accuracy than most scales can offer.
It is always easy to discern if a rather big piece is missing but with small ones, it is incredibly difficult to tell. Therefore, Lego has proposed a solution to this dilemma.
The company’s remedy is that for the majority of elements that are lighter than a specific threshold, they will add one extra piece of that category per small baggie. In most cases, many tiny extra bricks are added. This leaves you with a number of extra pieces when you buy a set.
Putting in extra pieces of the various small Legos means that the set is still complete even if one of those tiny pieces went missing, or if it was crushed, while the bag was being sealed.
This lessens the need for buyers to get in touch with Lego regarding any missing Lego bricks as they can still finish the model even if a little piece was lost or damaged (since there were extras).
If you do have a few missing parts (even with the extra ones that are normally included) you can contact the Lego Group with your set number and part number and they will get your missing pieces sent out. They will get you free replacements for any missing pieces so you can have a perfect set.
Reasons Why Lego Sets Have Extra Parts
Aside from the weight aspect, there are other reasons for the inclusion of extra pieces in most sets. Lego sometimes adds extra accessories like antennas in the set as such delicate pieces are prone to breakage and are easy to lose. They often do this with different projectile elements, too.
Manufacturing is yet another reason for including extra pieces.
Specific kinds of train wheels are manufactured jointly. For many steam trains, Lego utilizes wheels that are produced in groups of three from a similar mold.
Nonetheless, not all trains employ these molds. Limited editions like the holiday train set only has two flanged driver wheels and skipped on using the blind wheels yet the set still included an extra blind driver wheel.
This is because Lego failed to utilize the flanged wheel in the train set without incorporating the blind one.
Many sets come with extra black pegs, as they are extremely lightweight. The layout of the black peg has become even thinner over the years and thereby lighter.
In many Technic sets, particularly those split up into numbered stages, there will often be an additional piece of every small type in the small pieces bag in all of the large stage bags.
Lastly, Lego also adds extra pieces as a treat for their customers to make their experience even more elaborate and fun and to keep from disappointing them.
Which Lego Sets Have No Extra Pieces?
There are some sets where no extra pieces are included in the set at all. This is the case with the Lego Juniors and Duplos sets.
Their design and configuration have larger pieces that allow for proper weighing so the company does not add extra pieces in these sets.
What Are The Most Common Extra Lego Pieces?
Lego adds extra pieces in the set in order to make sure that you have a spare one should you lose one of the tiny pieces. This is a very effective way of ensuring a perfect customer experience even if the customer was the one who lost the Lego piece.
You get an extra piece from the start. So if you lose one, you don’t have to go through the hassle of contacting the retailer and asking them to send you a replacement.
The replacement pieces that usually come with spares are the smaller elements and details. Small parts of a Lego structure can easily be misplaced or get lost during packaging, shipment, or opening the item.
Lego recognizes the possibility of having these issues, so they make it a point to add a few extra pieces. If none get lost, then it’s an added bonus and precaution that users can enjoy.
Some of the common pieces that Lego adds as extras are:
- 1×1 plates
- 1×1 tiles
- 1×1 studs
- Cheese slopes
- Flower petals
Large pieces don’t usually come with extras. So if you build something and you have a few large pieces you weren’t able to use, the chances that you missed something is high.
In a rare case, you might have an extra large brick instead of extra smaller ones but this rarely happens in an official set. It can happen with a larger Lego building but again it isn’t likely.
Other Reasons Why Lego Packs Extra Pieces
More pieces, wider imagination
Aside from making sure that you have a spare in case one is lost, Lego’s customer service team says that they also add extra, random pieces to go in the set.
This is to ensure that the players can widen their imaginations and use the random extra pieces to make their own creations or own variations with the spare parts.
Imagine having to pack dozens of tiny little pieces in small plastic bags and making sure that the count is a hundred percent exact.
That would take ages to finish!
Considering the production demands for Lego pieces, the company cannot afford to take this much time and use this much manpower.
Lego has its own packaging technique where several like pieces are put in small plastic bags and calculated based on weight. The weight is the main determinant of whether or not the pieces are enough or are missing something.
Because of this, the numbers of small pieces cannot be a hundred percent accurate. There may be some extras, but they never want there to not be enough so they always try to err on the side of extra pieces.
For the company, it’s a smarter move to lose a little income for small pieces rather than to have missing pieces and have customers contacting them over and over again trying to get the right pieces.
With this packaging method, it’s also possible to not have any extra pieces at all. In others, you can get over 10 extra pieces. The circumstances would differ, depending on the Lego set.
Fun Ways To Use The Extra Lego Pieces
When people find extra pieces in their Lego set, many cannot figure out how to utilize them and either decide to throw them away or find some storage space for these replacement parts.
However, there are many ways you can use those extra pieces and make amazing things as well as simply make an alternate build.
Below are just a few things that you can try to make with the extra Lego pieces from your sets.
Lego Photo Frames
It is always fun to try some creative home decor ideas. A great way to utilize the tiny extra pieces is to make a photo frame.
Grab a glue gun and your extra Lego bricks.
You can paste them on either a frame or cardboard if you wish to make your frame from scratch. Lego bricks have a basic plastic back that enables the photo to slide into the “frame” quite easily as well.
A rather fascinating way to use your extra Lego pieces is by creating a Lego lamp. If you have an old lamp with a broken shade or you do not like its design, you can use it as a base for a Lego lamp.
Take the extra pieces and build a covering around the base and then use one electricity source for the bulb and voila!
You now have a beautiful and functioning Lego lamp.
Lego Phone Stand
You can always build a stand for your smartphone by taking the pieces and firmly gluing them together in a rectangular form according to your phone’s size.
Be sure and leave a hollow space in the middle for putting your phone in. Moreover, you can browse stand design ideas, as there are different styles on Pinterest/ the internet that people have created.
You can make a unique and eye-catching keychain by just threading it through some Lego pieces that have holes or you can drill a little hole into a Lego piece, whatever you think works better.
You can even pair it up with a basic Lego board using bricks and mount it on your wall to work as a key holder. This way you will never lose your keys and have some fancy decoration pieces, too.
Lego Desk Organizer
A well known trait of Legos is that you can join them and build things in any way you want. Another creative idea is to build a colorful and vibrant desk organizer.
You can make as many sections as you like and this construction will not break or knockdown like flimsy plastic ones.
Donate Lego Pieces
For extra pieces, Lego also suggests donating them to your local charity so even if you do not want the extra pieces, someone else can share the joy of playing with Legos.
Normally it’s better to save all the extra pieces for a while until you get a decent amount before donating them as most places won’t know what to do with a single Lego piece that was extra.
Some people throw away their extra Lego pieces for the simple reason that they no longer need them, especially if they’ve already built the structures that they were aiming for.
However, there are a lot of better things to do with them.
If you put away all the extra pieces you find in every new Lego set you buy, soon enough, you’ll have a lot of spares just lying there and waiting for you to use them.
With these small elements, you can add decorations and more details to your existing structures. Or you can even create a new and unique miniature structure using them.
These extras that you’ve collected can also come in handy if you lose pieces in the future and need a replacement immediately.
Return them to Lego
You can also opt to return your additional pieces to Lego for recycling or donating. Lego has a campaign, which they call “Lego Replay.”
In this movement, they accept donations and returns from Lego fans and repackage the bricks to donate to special organizations like Teach for America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
To contribute to this cause, you just need to ship your bricks using the post office and send them to the Lego warehouse.
The donated bricks also go through quality control. If they do not meet the Lego standards, they aren’t donated. Instead, Lego can opt to grind them up and use the material to make new pieces.
Most, if not all, Lego sets come with a few extra pieces so that you can complete your structure even if you’ve lost some invaluable Lego parts.
Smaller pieces are often provided in larger quantities than you need just in case one or two go missing.
Just make sure that you don’t lose any big Lego pieces and you’ll be able to complete your structure without any problem.