After I posted the previous entry about modeling the synchro drive in SR 3D Builder, I decided to try doing it in Lego Digital Designer.
- Good: I love the way axles and pins just snap into holes, and vice versa. Much easier than either SR 3D or MLCad. The current version of SR 3D (0.6.0.9) has a feature called "automatic brick orientation" which offers a similar ability, but it's still marked as experimental, and doesn't feel as snappy as LDD's.
- Good: Pan, zoom, and orbit control with the mouse is just like Google Sketchup. In contrast, SR 3D requires you to use a slider to zoom, and I haven't figured out the pan controls yet. (Update: hold down the middle button or both left and right mouse buttons at the same time.)
- Good/bad: Collision detection is very good, but can be intrusive. It won't let you drop a piece where it intersects with another.
- Good/bad: The building guide was easily generated. The building guide is also animated, and can be rotated and zoomed. But it created structures which will not fit without some disassembly.
- Bad: without a pin in place, the software could not figure out where to put a studless beam.
- Bad: Limited selection of parts and colours. For example, the 1/2 thick triangle shaped beam only comes in grey, red or black. In my personal collection, I have this item in blue, from an old Star Wars set. In the other programs, there is a wider selection of colour and even transparencies. I really enjoyed the fact that I could make the turntable a light transparent blue. It's such a large piece that leaving it all black makes the other pieces harder to see.
- Bad: The division of parts into themes seems unnecessary.
- Bad: The 12-tooth bevel gear is filed under the "Extended" theme, as a "conical wheel, z12". It does not show up searching for "bevel" or "gear". It's also only available in red
- Bad: Bevel gears have a problem fitting. Couldn't figure out a solution to this one.
Here's what I was able to do. It was pretty easy to throw it together because of how easily pins and axles just fall together. But I had to leave out one of the bevel gears, and substitute a cross thingy for the 3482 wheel.