Do I need an updated LDraw folder?

FAQ entry
Q: I'm having problems finding some wheel parts and I'm wondering if the LDraw folder that came with Bricksmith is outdated.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.

A: 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). For Mac OSX, since it doesn't merge subfolders like Windows but copies over them, I recommend just downloading everytime, unzipping it, and copying over your existing ldraw folder.

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.

Q: If I decide to add some unofficial parts (works in progress that haven't yet been added to the official library) from the LDraw Library Tracker where shall I place them?

A: Place the unofficial files in their own folder. 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.

Bricksmith has instruction on how to set up the official and unofficial libraries. Go to Help -> Getting More Parts and follow the instructions there. In case you're working with MLCad, this tutorial might helps you out.

Nonetheless, we 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.
LEGO ergo sum
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FAQ entry - by Willy Tschager - 2011-08-01, 11:33

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