As a certified LEGO Master Model Builder at the LEGOLAND California Resort, Robbie McCarthy earns a living doing what most kids (and many adults) could only dream of. According to his job description, McCarthy frequently combines good old-fashioned brick building skills with proprietary software and custom fabrication to manage LEGO projects from creative conception through to installation at the popular LEGO-themed resort park.
Along with fellow Master Model Builder Bill Gowdy, the two help lead some of the most impressive LEGO builds ever created inside of the ginormous LEGOLAND Model Shop – a workshop of dreams with more than 3 million bricks in 70 different colors.
Unsurprisingly, many of the epic builds that McCarthy and Gowdy undertake use nearly 100,000 bricks and require more than some basic living room floor engineering know-how. To ensure that all models are built exactly to their specifications, the builders use the company’s proprietary software to help subdivide large models into structures that can be created using the multiple colors and sizes of bricks within the LEGO brick library. Interestingly enough, the resulting layer-by-layer build-up process is not unlike 3D printing.
While it may not be as powerful as what’s used by the Master Model Builders, the free LEGO Digital Designer software lets users create their own digital models from scratch – models that can then be processed into physical LEGO builds with specific bricks directly through the company’s Pick a Brick service. Not a bad place to start for the Master Model Builders of tomorrow.