The Flippytan Method is a variant on sorting via size/shape. Each Eneey has 16 trays, so we had to experiment with many different ways of consolidating some of the various shapes of LEGO. The Flippytan method focuses on intuitive location of LEGO pieces during the build process, maximizing the use of each tray, isolating small pieces from large pieces to reduce "digging", and consideration for how the human brain works during the sorting process.
The image above shows how the labels are intended to be oriented on each side of the desktop adjacent to the openings. Note how one side of the table is mainly focused on bricks while the other side catches more of the odd-shaped pieces. When sorting, the human brain craves this layout, and is often confused when brick shapes and odd shapes are on the same side of the desk. We have tested this theory many times on a large variety of people. Children are slightly more flexible, but their sorting speed is slowed when bricks and odds are mixed on one side.
This layout also allows for smaller pieces to not have to fall as far before being captured in a tray. This reduces the energy and chaos that could lead to smaller pieces jumping out of their trays.
The Flippytan Method is intended to assist children during the building process. Finding a 1x2 brick in a tray of 1x2 bricks tends to be easier than finding a 1x2 brick in a tray of red LEGO pieces (sorting by color).
Under the "Definitions" portion of this page are the loose guidelines for what we define for each label. You will find gray areas where a piece could technically meet the definition of two or more different trays. In those cases find the individual who will be looking for those pieces later. Have him or her determine where they should go. Each family will have a slightly different amalgamation of shapes in some trays because of the "gray area" pieces.
We encourage our clients to develop their own labeling strategies too. We understand that our desks are used by a wide variety of crafters and LEGO fans. The Flippytan Method is just one way to get things organized.
We don't judge.
1x3 & 2x3
1x4 & 2x4
1x6 & 2x6
1x Long & 2x Long
Most of the above are pretty self-explanatory. We include Technic bricks here. For example, a 1x4 with Technic holes in the side would go in the "1x4 & 2x4" tray. Note that the 1x2 and 2x2 trays are separate while the other trays combine 1x and 2x bricks. History shows that most collections have way more of these 1x2 and 2x2 bricks than of the other larger shapes, thus filling that tray twice as quickly.
1x1 & 1x2 Plates, All Flats & Radar
Lots of tiny pieces go in this tray making them extremely easy to find. We include the tiny sloped 1x1 and 1x2 pieces here. Think of this as the tray for the ornery pieces that fall to the bottom of large unsorted bins, causing children to loudly dig for seemingly hours.
Everyone loves this tray for the reduction in noise and frustration it provides.
As Maui from "Moana" would say, ♪ ♫ "You're welcome!" ♪ ♫
Be sure to read that last line twice in case you didn't hear it sung out in The Rock's voice the first time.
These two trays catch the parts and pieces that do not fit other categories. We know it is ironic to have two trays dedicated to "Special" pieces. Look for us to further refine these labels in the future. We are currently considering dedicating one tray to "Doors, Windows, and House Parts".
Gears, turnables, pulleys, axles, bushes, liftarms, pins, and connectors typically provided in technic-related kits.
This was originally only "wheels, rims, and tires" before we expanded it. The "Car Parts" tray includes those plus chassis, windshields, seats, controls, steering wheels, spoilers, doors, ect.
Large Plates ≥ 3x
Plates where the narrowest face dimension has 3 or more studs.
Small Plates ≤ 2x
Plates where the narrowest face dimension has 2 or fewer studs.
Any LEGO piece with a slope of any kind except for the tiny pieces dedicated to the "1x1 & 1x2 Plates, All Flats & Radar" tray mentioned above.
Minifigs & Accessories
Minifig torsos, legs, clothing, weapons, tools. Basically this covers minifigs and any small pieces that they can hold or wear.