Build with Chrome. Source: WhiteClouds
Build with Chrome. Source: WhiteClouds

Google teamed up with LEGO to create Build, a simple, free online 3D modelling software.

Google and Lego recently partnered to release an easy-to-use 3D modelling online app called Build (https://www.buildwithchrome.com). The site states, “[Build] is the largest LEGO set the world has ever seen,” and “Build is a place for everyone to imagine, create and explore building with LEGO bricks online.”  Build is a fun program for all ages. It can be used to introduce kids to 3D modelling and challenge the LEGO skills of adults.

If you have a Google account, we recommend signing in. This will allow you to save your builds, publish your builds so others can see them, and track your progress in the Build Academy.

When you first open Build, there are three options:

1.    Build Academy – the Build Academy has a number of building challenges to help you become a Master Builder. The Build Academy also has an interactive tutorial that will teach you all about the Build interface. After you complete each challenge, the next challenge will be unlocked. This is where we recommend aspiring master builders to begin.

2.    Explore All Builds – This option opens up a version of Google Maps that shows all of the builds others have placed on the map. You can sort the builds you want to view by 2D, Characters, Random, Buildings and Vehicles. Search for your city to view the builds in your neighborhood. Each build also has some information about the builder. You’ll need to sign in with your Google account to publish your own builds.   

3.Start Building – This is where you’ll be able to create your own builds on an empty workspace. What you can create with Build is only limited to your imagination. The user interface is user-friendly enough for children to use.

Here are some of the basics:

Keyboard and Mouse Controls:

Left Click = Place brick

Right Click = Remove brick

Space + Drag = Rotate Build Plane

Arrow Keys = Rotate Brick

Mousewheel = Zoom in and out

Md/Ctrl + z = Undo

Build Interface:

LEGO bricks window – Choose which LEGO brick you’d like to build with.

Extras window – Here you’ll find specialty bricks like doors, windows and other shapes. 

Map window – This is where your build will be placed if published. Google chooses this for you when you click Start Building. If you want to select your location, click Explore All Builds and zoom in until the LEGO ground appears. From here, you can choose a plot and click Build Here to begin.

Perspective– Rotate the build platform to view your object from different angles.

Zoom – Zoom in and out on your creation.

Change Height of View – View your creation from different heights. This is helpful if you are building something tall.

Google/LEGOIcons – Clicking the icons in the upper/left corner of the screen will take you to the home screen.

Cancel – Cancels your build and returns to Explore All Builds

Publish – This will publish your object so other people can find and view it. You must be signed in to your Google account to use Publish. You can categorize your object as 2D, Characters, Random, Buildings and Vehicles. Once you publish your build, there is no way to revise it. You can delete it and start over.

Build is an entertaining app for any LEGO enthusiast. You can now play with LEGOs anytime, anywhere, and you don’t need to clean up when you’re done or worry about losing bricks under your bed.

If we could add one feature to the app, it would be the ability to export an STL file of your build so you could send your file to a 3D printing service such as WhiteClouds to 3D print your LEGO creation.