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LEGO Digital Designer 2018 update

by admin on March 31, 2018

in Community News

With all the LEGO news and new sets coming out at the beginning of the year, I neglected to mention one important piece of news for LEGO fans; LEGO Digital Designer has been updated at the beginning of February with over four hundred new parts! 🙂

As we discussed previously, LEGO is planning to retire LEGO Digital Designer, however due to major outcry from the LEGO fan community, they decided to keep the software running until they have something else to replace it with. The software no longer gets updates and bug fixes, however new parts are added from time to time. You can read more about these changes here: LEGO Digital Designer – The End is Near…

The last time we got an update to the software was at the end of 2016, with LEGO Digital Designer 4.3.10. During 2017, LEGO added a large selection of new parts, and it was frustrating for LEGO fans that they were not able to use them for virtual building. However, with LEGO Digital Designer 4.3.11, pretty much all of the new parts released in 2017 were added to the database. The image below by LEGO fan CM4Sci nicely lays out most of the new elements.

LEGO Digital Designer is available both for Mac and Windows operating systems, but please read the minimum system requirements before downloading the software. You can find the download page here, and the support pages and user manual here.

Please also note that LEGO Digital Designer has three versions; the Basic Version that includes currently available pieces and colors, the Mindstorms Version for building with Mindstorms elements, and the Extended Version which includes the largest selection of parts (both current and retired) and you can select any color you want (even if they are not available). In general, the Extended Version of LDD is most useful for LEGO fans, although you will have to double check the make sure the parts and colors are actually available.

Since the future of LEGO Digital Designer is uncertain, it is also a good idea to try out some of the alternatives. Some of them are quite similar to LEGO Digital Designers, while others are more powerful but require a steep learning curve. BrickSmith utilizes the LDraw library and is created for Mac users. LDraw is for Windows, Mac and Linux. MecaBricks is a browser-based software and is similar to how LDD works. MLCad is also based on LDraw and is a very powerful CAD system for Windows and Linux. And Stud.io by BrickLink is also very similar to LDD and works both on Windows and Mac, with the added benefit of being fully integrated with the BrickLink marketplace.

What do you think? Do you use LEGO Digital Designer? And have you tried out the new parts selection yet? Are there any interesting pieces that you have noticed in the database? Or are there any issues that you ran into? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

jabber-baby-wocky March 31, 2018 at 11:13 AM

Good to know. Thanks! Haven’t used it for a while now, but I hope they will continue supporting it.

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BigShawn March 31, 2018 at 11:25 AM

There are some glitches in the latest LDD with hoses. Sometimes they get all twisted in weird ways. Is that going to be fixed?

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kingcobra March 31, 2018 at 11:35 AM

I have seen that problem with the previous version too. Looks like they can’t fix it.

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Håkan March 31, 2018 at 11:55 AM

For now, it seems they don’t find it worth the trouble for free software, I guess.

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admin April 1, 2018 at 11:33 AM

Yeah, according to their last announcement they are no longer doing bug fixes and such. Only adding new parts. Sooner or later LDD will just fall apart on its own. 🙁

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SLS March 31, 2018 at 3:42 PM

Beware, the “basic version” doesn’t “include currently available pieces and colours.”

First, the newer (from the last couple updates) parts aren’t available at all… unless you get them from Extended; but then, they aren’t colourable in “basic,” so you need to go to Extended again to change their colour.

Second, some of the colours LDD proposes are wrong and have been wrong for a long time: some part/colour combinations are missing, even common ones, and some proposed combinations don’t exist, have never existed, and won’t ever exist in real life.

I’m a big fan of the “normal LDD” but it has become less and less usable with the last updates.

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DavidH March 31, 2018 at 8:06 PM

Yes, it seems that it’s best to use the extended version. The basic version hasn’t been useful for a long time.

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admin April 1, 2018 at 11:36 AM

True. The basic version has been pretty much obsolete since LEGO stopped packaging and selling LDD sets. The only reason they had the basic version is to make sure they have the parts in stock.

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sammy March 31, 2018 at 3:43 PM

Anyone has issues with LDD taking up too much cpu? My laptop always goes to a crawl when I try to use LDD and the fan is working like crazy.

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admin April 1, 2018 at 11:33 AM

I had this issue on my older laptop, but the new one can handle it just fine. Make sure your laptop matches the minimum required specs. But yeah, LDD is resource heavy.

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Kelly April 7, 2018 at 9:53 AM

I did download LDD but got a bit lost at the beginning . Would any of these software have a function to select a list of parts by putting in a set number? So that I can quickly play around to make alternative builds for any one of my sets?

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admin April 7, 2018 at 2:56 PM

Kelly, for that to work, someone has to actually build the set in the software, and be kind enough to share it. You can download the LDD file of many sets from the Eurobricks LEGO fan community. They are all listed here: https://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?/forums/topic/41226-key-topic-official-lego-sets-made-in-ldd/

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Rocky Solid August 31, 2018 at 3:35 PM

I truly find it a massive shame that they decided to tone down the additions of new elements. A lot of elements, especially buildable figure elements, were introduced and discontinued during the planned cancelation. Because they have been discontinued, the LDD Group will use it as an excuse to not implement them in future updates. That’s my belief anyway. This already happened with several elements that they forgot to implement in the past. And this was back when the LDD Group was more active.

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admin August 31, 2018 at 9:44 PM

Hm… yeah, there has been a lot of complaints about this. There are some alternatives however, like Bricklink’s Stud.io, and Mecabricks. They are both very good and the regularly updated with new elements. They also both support rendering.

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