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Full Version: Do I need an updated LDraw folder?
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I just downloaded and am playing around with Bricksmith (a great program BTW!). I'm having loads of fun. My 6 year old is bringing me his MOCs and together we are making little instruction booklets to give to his school buddies. We are having problems finding some wheel parts and I'm wondering if the LDraw folder that came with Bricksmith is outdated. How can I tell if my parts list is the most up-to-date? I am also a bit confused about how to update or add new parts. It seems I would need to run some EXE program which is entirely foreign to my Mac sensibilities. I see an lcad1101.zip file that was released today. Does this contain only new parts or ALL parts? If it contains only new parts, how do I merge them into my existing LDraw folder?
My suggestion for the easiest way to keep your LDraw library up to date is to download LDView (a separate model viewer program) and configure it to use the same LDraw folder as Bricksmith. LDView has a "Check for LDraw Library Updates" option that will automatically download library updates. It can also search for and download unknown parts in models it opens.

That exe is included in the library for backwards compatibility with older PC programs - you definitely don't need it on the Mac.

You can add parts manually by putting their files in the following LDraw subfolders: /parts, /parts/s (subparts), /p (primitives - bits reused in many parts), or /p/48 (high resolution primitives). You can get unofficial parts (works in progress that haven't yet been added to the official library) at the LDraw Library Tracker. The tracker should link to any needed subfiles for a given part.

If you update your library while Bricksmith is running, you may need to click "Reload Parts" in the Parts tab of Bricksmith preferences for the new parts to become available in Bricksmith's part chooser.
For Mac OSX, since it doesn't merge subfolders like Windows but copies over them, I recommend just downloading complete.zip everytime, unzipping it, and copying over your existing ldraw folder.
It would be good practise if this kind of Q/A could in some ways be condensed by the person who answers into a form suitable for a FAQ. In this way we can quickly build an updated FAQ for the new site.

I have added a link to the complete.zip on the 2011-01 Parts Update entry at

Thanks for all the helpful advice. I will install the contents of complete.zip into a new LDraw folder.
However, If I decide to add some unofficial parts from the parts tracker they will be deleted next time I install a new LDraw folder. It might be nice if the PATH variable to the LDraw folder could contain multiple folders. That way you could have the official LDraw folder and then a user-specified folder with a few extra unofficial parts that may be needed for certain models, but which have yet to be included in the officially distributed set of parts. Just an idea.
Cheers and thanks for the help.
Actually Scott, that's the preferred way. Place the unofficial files in their own folder. It's not really a good idea to merge them with the official files.
Bricksmith actually has instruction on how to set up the official and unofficial libraries. Go to Help -> Getting More Parts and follow the instructions there
My advice is stronger that that - it is "a really bad idea" to merge unofficial files with the official library. Updated files may incorrectly change a part orientation or origin, may refer to missing subparts, and may have other errors that could break the rendering of an existing model. This is why we have a rigourous review process on the Parts Tracker, and checks that each release forms a coherent package.

I appreciate that users may want to use unofficial parts before they are released, but the disclaimer is as valid as it has always been: These are unofficial parts. They may be incomplete, or inaccurate, and it is possible that when they are officially released they may be changed in ways that could mess up any model you use them in.

If you want to see parts get into the official releases more quickly, them please consider signing up as a Reviewer. The current throughput is constrained by the limited time and tremendous efforts of very few individuals.

Yes. Help > Getting More Parts should guide you to the simplest route. Also, since I'm no technical writer, I'll gladly accept improved verbiage for those help pages if you find anything confusing.
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