Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SR 3D Builder

Many of you, may never heard about 'SR 3D Builder' before!?
A CAD application for PC, which allows you to create LEGO models. It was created by Sergio Reano, who as been working on its successive enhancements, since 2006.
Actually in version

Among 'SR 3D Builder' features, you may find:
  • Support for other popular program formats like: .dat; .ldr and .mpd (partially support) files
  • 3D view building environment with reflection and transparencies
  • Fast selecting/moving/adding/removing
  • Copy/Rotation/Deletetion/Color change of single or multiple brick
  • Real connections detection (not always the same near brick positioning)
  • Brick selection by Block (means that solid connected bricks can be selected at once)
  • Grid positioning to speed up positioning of pieces
  • Automatic and precise positioning of most bricks according to connection detection
  • Automatic detection of rotation axles
  • Hinges and gear support (includes real time animation of moving parts)
  • Connection Solver for quick connecting hinges and rotating parts
  • Towball connection support
  • Belt Generator with real connections
  • Undo/Redo options and Automatic brick orientation
  • Support of unofficial parts
  • Management of parts groups
  • Exclusive MirrorBuilding features for quick build of symmetric models
  • And much more...

Besides extremely fast on real time rendering, while rotating complex models, 'SR 3D Builder' is not just another LEGO CAD application and it is certainly not because of it, that I'm writing here today about.

It was a bit more than one year ago, when I tried a new 'SR 3D Builder' feature which let me totally astonished and which I was not expecting to see any time soon running this smooth, on a desktop PC (and have been since then, promising myself to write here about it...).
Unlike other LEGO CAD programs like LDD, MLCAD (LDraw package) or LeoCAD, this program is easily and automatically capable to detect rotation axles in parts like gears or hinges, solve connections between these parts and animate their movements in real time with proper relative speeds!
Of course I'm here not comparing this, with professional CAD applications like SolidWorks and others similar.

Doubt it? Then take a look in the small sample video below, that I've produced to illustrate the feature.

Amazing, isn't it!?

But if you enjoyed it, then you may want to see some other videos that Sergio recently prepared to show the capabilities of his application.

Some more examples, may also be seen at Sergio's YouTube channel.

Certainly, features like these, would be a great addition to LDD and others, despite different targeted audiences.
And there are still, new features to come...

Once some have shown curiosity to see how does 'SR 3D Builder' animations would perform with large part-count and complex models, I took the hint and produced another video using the 8480 (Space Shuttle) model file.

While in some situations the results produced are really promising, some others are more funny, so to say!

Don't forget some parts may have not been patched to support automatic rotations and some other sections of the model seem not properly connected for some reason
, which originates a few disruptions (probably not properly handled during set model definition, whichever CAD application was used to make it). It happens for instance, with some hinge plates at the delta wing.
The model has a complex gearbox with driving rings which require proper setting (positioning), to make the functions to work, but not achievable with simple rotational movements. Thus some preparation required to see every e2e mechanism and respective gears working.

Also the moving parts behave like ghosts, moving into the space already occupied by other parts upon rotation movements. To be honest I was also not expecting it to be different at this stage.

Nevertheless it is possible to properly operate the cargo compartment doors, some of the Canadarm and satellite functions, the front landing gear, etc...

Good work!

Last Update: 2009.Mar.26 02:29 GMT


Anonymous said...

Amazing tool! Thank you Fernando :)

Anonymous said...

It is astounding that Sergio is developing this application apparently by himself. The amount of work involved in unbelievable. Not only did he write the application, but for the connections and gears to work he also had to patch all of the individual parts. This is really an application geared (pun intended) toward Technic. Bravo Sergio!

Anonymous said...

A question. All of the animations appear to be video captures of the screen. Does the program have the capability to export a video file? Such a thing would be immensely useful for me in compiling Technicopedia.

TechnicBRICKs said...

Hi Eric,

as I know from the application, it doesn't directly support such feature.

For instance my video was captured with a freeware screen capture application (Freez Screen Video Capture) and post processed with WMM, for titles and compression.
Captured just part of the screen, but it can also capture the full desktop.
There are other free applications available too!

By chance I've also asked earlier today to Sergio which application is he using, just for curiosity, but I'm still waiting for the answer.
Guess it is something similar, but will let you know once answered.

TechnicBRICKs said...

According to Sergio, he uses also a freeware app, for screen recording 'CamStudio 2.0'.
By coincidence one that I also found, when looking for such, but ended downloading and installing an other app, as mentioned in the post above.

As I did, he also recommends to use some good compression tools, after video capture.

Ricardo Oliveira said...

Wow... to be honnest, I heard several times about this program and never had patience to start with it. But now, this tools seem amazing!

By the way, is it able to process some of the mechanisms of the Space Shuttle besides the wounderful rendering shown on the top? :O

Anyway, just perfect!

John Eddy said...

Anyone having issues getting it to run on XP? It runs, but I can't seem to actually build anything (and yes, DirectX is installed per the directions).

TechnicBRICKs said...


I'm running XP and it works perfect! Of course still with a few bugs, but fully functional ;)


Maybe you would like to try it yourself with the 8480 example. It worths!
Some parts work pretty well, some others while work produce funny results... ;)
Don't forget motors won't work yet in this version, some parts won't also and some seem not properly connected in the model, which originate a few disruptions.
Also the model has a complex gearbox with drive ring and so.

Nevertheless it is possible to operate the cargo compartment doors, some of the Canadarm and satellite parts, the front wheel train, etc...

You must try it!

John Eddy said...

@conchas: Hm. Almost everything I do ends up with a non-fatal error. Loads up, I pick a brick type, double click on it (which I'm assuming is what I need to do since nothing else does anything) and get a unhandled exception. It's directX related.

TechnicBRICKs said...

Have you noticed the remarks about DirectX on the download page?
Basically it states you must have the latest MS DirectX drivers available for free from the official MS website.

If it doesn't result, I can only suggest to contact Sergio directly via e-mail.
He certainly will have interest to fix any further errors still existing.

John Eddy said...

@conchas: Yes, and I also read the part where it states that if it crashes on startup to ensure that you have DirectX installed. It wasn't when I started, which did lead to crashing on startup, it is now, which lets it load.

Brandon said...

I can't even get it to run. Of course, I'm using Windows 7 64-bit Build 5057, but even it won't even start using compatibility mode (neither Vista or XP compatibility work). And of course, Windows 7 has the latest version of DirectX installed.

Interestingly enough, this is the first program that I've had problems with (32-bit or 64-bit) in Windows 7.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Sergio, the author of the program

Someone (Conchas) told me you are talking about me, so here I'm

I want just notify some essentials

- First of all I want to say that my application is still in developing so only a small part of mechanism are implemented in the correct way, while other are not or lead to some unpredictable result or crash or hangup the application. You have to be patient about it since this is not my first occupation in my life ;)

- Second: my application is not tested on 64bit environments since I don't have such a platform to test. I know no people that could use it on 64bit system so, for now, you have to wait

- Third: my appl seems to have problem on some ATI graphic cards. I experienced that using latest card driver sometimes (not always) solves the problem

- Fourth (for Vista users): even if you have DX10 installed with operating system, Microsoft have updated its DX9 library since Vista was released and my application uses part of these updated so it maybe necessary download and install latest version from MS official sites.
Note that my application is developed under Vista 32bit so it MUST work !!!

- Fiveth: if you have any question, just ask and I will try to answer


Anonymous said...

Hi, I have windows vista x64 ultimate and ATI graphic. The application crashes at startup.
I install directx 10 and latest graphic drivers. Please help.

sorry for my english, i´m from czech republic

TechnicBRICKs said...


if you read on xSergio comment above, you'll find clearly stated, that this application doesn't work yet on 64bit systems.

Shmade said...

I have just downloaded and installed the program, and it is great! My dreams are comming into reality. And the rendering... it is so fast.

Thank you Sergio

xSergio said...

Hi everybody

as promised in videos, here it is latest version of my application.
IMPORTANT: Read history for a list of changes (a lot of)

I NEED feedback about working on 64bit systems ASAP
Please, (really please), comment this message in English. Thanks for that

download as usual from

xSergio said...

Hi everybody.
Big mistake this time: I have uploaded a [b]WRONG VERSION[/b].
Now things are correct so please, redownload the application

I apologize...


Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I am having problems too. I have used previous version under XP with no problem. However, I now have 32Bit Windows 7and this crashes at program startup, even with compatibility mode on, so I'm guessing that there must be some DirectX problems maybe :S

xSergio74 said...

still not tested under Windows7!!
anyway ensure you updated your directx driver. I suppose you can...

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you knows the news, anyway a new version of the application has just been released.

It is tested and works under Windows 7 in both 32bit or 64bit environment.

Available as always for free at the same http:\\\sergio.reano



Unknown said...

@xSergio74 and Anonymous and 2nd Anonymous

I have tested it on Windows 7, it works just fine. But I DO NOT have an ATI graphics card, I have an nVidia GeFORCE 7200GS, so anyone with Windows 7 and same/similar graphics card should have no problems. As repetitively stated above, the first thing to do if you have problems, make SURE you have all the latest drivers and updates. I did that, worked very smoothly. Great program

tony42 said...

when i start the program the building grid dose not show anything can some one help pls, thank you

Michael R said...

I tried it on a laptop with XP and
Mobile Intel® 915 and 910GML Express Chipset Family
but (it's been a while since I tried it) it said something about needing a T&L compliant graphics card :(

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