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Bricklink guide

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Bricklink guide

Postby Ferretclaw » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:26 pm

Hey guys, I am new to getting stuff from bricklink and I understand it is a great piece resource. So I have a few questions about it.
So first off, how do you message a person to ask questions about a piece of merchendise?
Second, if an item says quantity: 18(x2) does that mean that each sale they would send you two pieces?(if not, what?) and if it just says quantity: 2 that means two pieces in the order? Or that the seller has 2 in stock?

Then, what is the best way to find an irem in search? I always manage it eventually, but usually I have to spend 20 minutes searching through catalogs and set contents to find a piece ID to put in search.
How can you tell the shipping price on an item?
It it safe to buy from foreign countries?
Is it better to buy stuff in large orders?

So yeah thats about all. Thank you guys!

If anyone else has any questions about bricklink, you can post them here :)
Last edited by Ferretclaw on Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby AK_Brickster » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:52 pm

Ferretclaw wrote:So first off, how do you message a person to ask questions about a piece of merchandise?
When you are in a store, at the top, the 2nd to last tab says "Contact Store". Use this to send the store owner a message.
Second, if an item says quantity: 18(x2) does that mean that each sale they would send you two pieces?(if not, what?) and if it just says quantity: 2 that means two pieces in the order? Or that the seller has 2 in stock?
In your example, 18 (x2) means that you must order in multiples of 2 ("x50" means multiples of 50, etc.). If it says "Quantity - 2", that means that they have 2 available in that "bin", if you will. Sometimes sellers will have multiple "bins" of the same part, but different quantities, prices, or conditions (new vs. used). If that's the case, take note of any additional descriptions that they may provide. Sometimes they have it broken out because one bin is for "regular used parts" and the other bin is cheaper because it is "heavy play wear" or "cracked", etc. Other times, it's just because they uploaded that part to their inventory twice without bothering to consolidate the lots into one "bin".
Then, what is the best way to find an item in search? I always manage it eventually, but usually I have to spend 20 minutes searching through catalogs and set contents to find a piece ID to put in search.
The best way is to just have some experience with what the naming conventions are. General stuff like "2x4 brick" is easy enough to find, (other than the fact that there are a bunch of printed bricks to scroll through to just find the "plain" one). Eventually, you'll get used to searching for "1x6x2 arch", etc.
If there is something you'll be buying regularly, you can add it to your wishlist and search for it that way, but that's a bit more advanced than what I'm trying to cover right now.
One of my preferred ways is to just look up a set that I know has the type of part I want, then scroll through the inventory for that set to get the part number. At that point, it's easy to pull up the catalog entry to choose a different color, if needed.
You can also use the catalog parts categories to browse by item category (http://www.bricklink.com/catalogTree.asp?itemType=P), or if you want to build something in a certain color, but don't know what parts are available, you can browse the catalog by color (http://www.bricklink.com/catalogColors.asp).
How can you tell the shipping price on an item?
The "Store Terms" tab will tell you what their shipping policy is. Some stores have a posted minimum shipping charge, and then add cost depending on the weight. Some stores have flat rate shipping depending on the total dollar value of the order. Many stores will let you see what the weight of your order is by going to "view cart", and then you can mentally add a bit of weight for packing materials and just go over to USPS.com to look up what it costs to ship a package weighing "X" ounces from their state to yours.
It it safe to buy from foreign countries?
It varies, but you can generally evaluate it by looking at their reviews to see if they have any negative ones, particularly within the last month or 6 months. (the little number in parenthesis is how many reviews they have. Click on it to read their feedback). Keep in mind that international shipping is usually prohibitively expensive, particularly for large orders. I've bought from a few people internationally though, and have always had good experiences.
Is it better to buy stuff in large orders?
Generally, yes. Keep in mind that there is almost always a minimum shipping and handling charge. For example, if someone buys a single minifigure from me, I have to charge $2.08 for shipping (USPS minimum for a parcel) plus $0.50 for a padded envelope. For the same shipping price, they can probably order up to 4 minifigs before the shipping starts to increase based on weight, so it's almost always a better value to buy a few things than one part at a time. Some stores also have a minimum extra charge for orders less than a certain amount, even if they don't have a posted "minimum order". From experience, this fee is to make it worth their time to package a very small order and drive to the PO to mail it. They lose money and time if they let people order 10 cents worth of parts at a time from them.

So yeah thats about all. Thank you guys!
I hope that helped! Let me know if you have any other questions. This thread will probably be a useful FAQ for others who are new to BL as well.

:mrgreen:

(I guess I might as well plug my store while I'm here: http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=AK_Brickster)
Last edited by AK_Brickster on Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Ferretclaw » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:21 pm

Ok, thanks. If anyone has any more questions they can put them here. :)
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Str0ngbad » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:11 pm

There are two reasons I will buy from international sellers:
1. They are the only one who has the piece I need in the quantity I need. I recently bought 1,000+ of a part http://www.bricklink.com/search.asp?colorID=86&itemID=436 that has only been in 2 sets in quantities of 2; I had to order from Germany for that. I got fantastic service (they included gummi bears!) and the shipping was only about $6.
2. If you need a LOT of a part, even if it's a cheap part, and the cheapest seller is international. Suppose you were after 1x1 trans clear dots. They are a very cheap part but supposing you needed 1,000 of them for a waterfall, a 1cent difference per piece would be a $10 total difference.

I'm not the fastest at searching but I find that selecting both the category and color help narrow it down a lot. If you have a keyword to add to those like 'headlight' or 'hood', you'll find what you need in a hurry.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby AK_Brickster » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:22 pm

Yeah, if the price difference is significant and you're ordering in bulk (works great for small pieces that don't cost a ton to ship), international can be a great option.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Bluesecrets » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:50 pm

I would like to add a thought or two to why I order international. I do agree when looking for a lot of parts like was previously mentioned, Europe has a great number of pieces, especially in Germany that are usually cheaper. But..be careful and remember they will charge you VAT. Most European bricklink stores do talk about it in their store policies and some even include it in the banner.

But I LOVE non-production parts...yes I know...WHAT?! non-production parts?! Think of it as parts that don't exist in sets, like the trans black gem stones I have like 10 of. And there are others, they are sometimes expensive, sometimes not. And there are the fellows who chrome bricks...all of these are primarily located in Europe. And they are just soooo tasty. Shiny..oh the shiny is so lovely.

If you are ordering International and are worried about it, ask questions. I do usually request my international orders come in a box instead of a bubble envelope, just to make sure they arrive safe, and I do pay for the difference in that happily.

Overall, the only time I worry about an order being International is if I'm building under a deadline. Then I stick with bricklink stores that I am well acquainted with and know ship very fast. So basically, I don't fear the international order.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Ferretclaw » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:10 pm

Currently i am working on a fell beast moc, and I need a pair of black 19x11 wings. There is a pair for sale in the US, but it is used and has chips and nicks and scratches on it, which i don't want. The only other buying options are in Europe, so I think I will have to get them from there. There are some for sale in Germany, which have a "decent" price for this item (these wings were only featured in one set: the collectors edition of bat-mobile) so I think I will be purchasing these. Unless someone here at CC has some for sale, in which case please check out my thread for that and/or pm me.

So on this order it says quantity: 2 and from what I got out of AK's helpful reply that means that to get a pair of wings I would have to order 2 of this item?

Anyway thanks everyone for the advice.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby AK_Brickster » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:51 pm

That is correct. It won't be a "set" unless specifically labelled as such (for example: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=981982 vs. http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=981)
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Redav » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:55 pm

Ferretclaw wrote:It it safe to buy from foreign countries?

Usually, yes but as with anything, there is always a risk. I am yet to have a BL order not show up. One took 3 months (from Canada via boat - I think the CMF's were doing the rowing).

I have made about 50 purchases so far. Almost all of them have been international. This is because I'm from Australia and;
- pieces are cheaper overseas than here
- it can cheaper to post from Europe than it is from another major centre here
- the stores here don't necessarily have what I want or the number of pieces I'm after

There's been several stores that I've made repeat purchases through as they've had what I wanted and I've really appreciated their service.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Ferretclaw » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:40 pm

Redav wrote:
Ferretclaw wrote:It it safe to buy from foreign countries?

Usually, yes but as with anything, there is always a risk. I am yet to have a BL order not show up. One took 3 months (from Canada via boat - I think the CMF's were doing the rowing).

I have made about 50 purchases so far. Almost all of them have been international. This is because I'm from Australia and;
- pieces are cheaper overseas than here
- it can cheaper to post from Europe than it is from another major centre here
- the stores here don't necessarily have what I want or the number of pieces I'm after

There's been several stores that I've made repeat purchases through as they've had what I wanted and I've really appreciated their service.


Alright so it sounds like it is pretty reliable.

AK_Brickster wrote:That is correct. It won't be a "set" unless specifically labelled as such (for example: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=981982 vs. http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=981)


Ok thanks for clarifying. So quantity means the number of items the seller has in stock, not number of items included in the purchase.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby AK_Brickster » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:09 am

Ferretclaw wrote:Ok thanks for clarifying. So quantity means the number of items the seller has in stock, not number of items included in the purchase.

Correct
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Ferretclaw » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:30 am

AK_Brickster wrote:
Ferretclaw wrote:
Second, if an item says quantity: 18(x2) does that mean that each sale they would send you two pieces?(if not, what?) and if it just says quantity: 2 that means two pieces in the order? Or that the seller has 2 in stock?
In your example, 18 (x2) means that you must order in multiples of 2 ("x50" means multiples of 50, etc.). If it says "Quantity - 2", that means that they have 2 available in that "bin", if you will. Sometimes sellers will have multiple "bins" of the same part, but different quantities, prices, or conditions (new vs. used). If that's the case, take note of any additional descriptions that they may provide. Sometimes they have it broken out because one bin is for "regular used parts" and the other bin is cheaper because it is "heavy play wear" or "cracked", etc. Other times, it's just because they uploaded ...


Alright. So it means that you have to buy two of the item. So say this is the info:item: brick. price: $2.00. quantity: 18 (x2) would that mean I would pay 2 dollars and get two bricks? Or would I be required to pay 4 dollars and get two bricks, and would not be able to simply pay 2 dollars and get 1 brick.

(Ps, I would never buy a plain ol' brick for 2 dollars :lol: and thanks very much to everyone helping me out here, and especially AK.)
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby AK_Brickster » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:47 am

It means you would have to buy 2 bricks for $2 each, $4 total.

Not only that, but you can't buy an odd number of bricks. It has to be in multiples of 2 (as indicated by the (x2) requirement).

If you really only want one, you can always PM the seller to see if they will allow an exception.
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby royalbrickcustoms » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:39 pm

How cost-effective is it to buy internationally. Do you save any money considering shipping is $5-7?
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Re: Bricklink guide

Postby Bluesecrets » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:58 pm

How cost-effective is it to buy internationally. Do you save any money considering shipping is $5-7?


That all depends on the piece and quantity and price of the item. It also depends on the rarity of the item you are looking for. Personally, if a store has a lot of what I want I don't really care about the cost or shipping. It is far more cost effective to shop from one store than from ten. But that is of course a personal decision to make.

If you are buying International, then you know you are going to pay more for shipping. But then, even in the US (if that is where you are buying from) it can still cost that much if you are buying big brick that requires a box. Heck, the rise in cost for postage in the US has risen so much this year, that even shipping to within the US is crazy. If your package weighs more than a few ounces, postage is going to cost a lot.

So I guess the answer to your question is: are you looking for quantity or price?

If it is price then I suggest finding a buddy or two, place a bigger order with the International Bricklink store, to divide the costs amongst you. Several of us have done that many times and ended up quite happy, but then you are paying double shipping unless you are going to see the person in person.

If you are looking for quantity, then sometimes there are no other options.
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