Solscud007

3D Printed LEGO

41 posts in this topic

I went to Maker faire. It is a fair hosted by Make-zine a DIY magazine for electronic projects and furthering skill sets for nerdy but cool people.

I went to check out 3d Printing technologies.

Makerbot is an inexpensive FDM machine. (Fused Deposition Modelling) it extrudes a plastic filament and builds in layers.

Anyway I was at the Makerbot booth and looking at some of their printed samples and they had lego bricks that work!!! I dont know how compatible they are with real Lego but pretty cool.

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Looks like they would have a bit trouble with gripping.

But that is pretty cool. :)

-Omi

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Not bad at all. Machines like those could be potentially useful for making custom minifigure parts.

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Not bad at all. Machines like those could be potentially useful for making custom minifigure parts.

They already do. Shapeways is common nowadays for customizors.

-Omi

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They already do. Shapeways is common nowadays for customizors.

-Omi

But 3D printing is very expensive. Unless you didn't want to make a profit, parts would go for $100-$200, and maybe more for bigger pieces.

Edited by Mrlegoninja

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But 3D printing is very expensive. Unless you didn't want to make a profit, parts would go for $100-$200, and maybe more for bigger pieces.

ummmmmm

Looks pretty cheap to me.

And all those prices are set for them to make profit too.

-Omi

Edited by Omicron

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Those aren't 3-D printed. So, your examples are not applicable.

Yes they are. By what reasoning do you say they aren't?

"Shapeways is your personal fabrication service, using 3D printing. Personalized products for YOU and BY you." They also happen to be at Maker Faire showcasing their 3D printed products.

I have purchased from them

-Omi

Edited by Omicron

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But 3D printing is very expensive. Unless you didn't want to make a profit, parts would go for $100-$200, and maybe more for bigger pieces.

You seem to be confused on this. 3-D printers are extremely expensive. But 3-D printing services like Shapeways offer on-demand 3-D printing at a fairly low cost. It can sometimes be higher in cost depending on the material and the size of whatever you're ordering. But in general, 3-D printing is much cheaper than actually creating molds, hence why TLG themselves have a 3-D printer they use when creating prototype parts (as seen in some of the videos on the LEGO Cars website).

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Does anyone know the cost model for 3D printing? I assume the cost would be based on the amount of plastic used and the time it actually takes to print the element. So, small elements would likely be more worthwhile. Is that about on par, or is there something else missing? Anyone have any idea how long it takes to produce, say, a minifig-sized gun or something, using 3D printing?

DaveE

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Does anyone know the cost model for 3D printing? I assume the cost would be based on the amount of plastic used and the time it actually takes to print the element. So, small elements would likely be more worthwhile. Is that about on par, or is there something else missing? Anyone have any idea how long it takes to produce, say, a minifig-sized gun or something, using 3D printing?

DaveE

With Shapeways, an item like that takes them 8-10 days for them to receive the order, print it to specifications until it is right (they had to print something of mine 3 times to make sure it was right), and then deliver. And it would cost roughly between 1-3 dollars depending on the material used as well. If you click the links to the stores above you can see such examples.

-Omi

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But in general, 3-D printing is much cheaper than actually creating molds, hence why TLG themselves have a 3-D printer they use when creating prototype parts (as seen in some of the videos on the LEGO Cars website).

Cool! I didn't know that. Thanks for the info.

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With Shapeways, an item like that takes them 8-10 days for them to receive the order,

I'm not terribly interested in the business model-- that depends on how many orders they're getting, how much staff they have, whether or not they have to order more supplies, etc. Mostly, I'm interested in the process itself.

print it to specifications until it is right (they had to print something of mine 3 times to make sure it was right)

Now, that part's interesting-- it means there's a good chance that they can't just print using the file you provide them-- that it needs some tweaking or something to convert it into a format they can use. Maybe something like the path that the plastic injector uses to fill plastic or something? Anyway, that means there's probably some human element in there to analyze the quality of the output, and some manual tweaking of a data file for printing.

But the other thing I'm curious about is how long it actually takes to print a single element-- say, minifig gun sized. 3 minutes? 45 minutes? I have no idea.

DaveE

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Now, that part's interesting-- it means there's a good chance that they can't just print using the file you provide them-- that it needs some tweaking or something to convert it into a format they can use.

It was mainly because it kept breaking (it was a thin item) or didn't meet their standards (could have come out sloppy or something). Not everything can be printed perfect on the first try. :P

-Omi

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Interesting. Hopefully within the next few years 3d printers will be a bit higher quality and more affordable, I might have to get myself one and make some custom parts.

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3D printing of bricks & accessories could be possible one day in the future.

A lot of 3D printers produce resin renders. That particular one looks shoddy compared to some on the market

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3D printing of bricks & accessories could be possible one day in the future.

It already is possible. People do it all the time.

-Omi

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As mentioned in the other thread I've been keen on designing and producing custom minifigure accessories, so I placed an order with Shapeways for some basic models I created last night in Blender. Let's see how it goes.

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My school has a 3D printing rapid prototype machine. According to the teacher, the plastic cost USD 4.18/cubic inch (in 2009/2010) and the machine was about the price of a car, but cost the school less because of grants. Depending on the complexity and size of the object being prototyped, it would take about an hour to a day to make something. Minifig accessories would probably take a few hours each.

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I'm adding some more information I've came across concerning 3d printers and Roland's new milling machine.

Roland's iModela Hobby Milling Machine Link

With the iModela hobby milling machine, 3D modelers and hobby enthusiasts can easily and accurately create and embellish a wide range of projects by producing 3D shapes, reliefs, textures and patterns from modeling wax, foam, balsa wood and plastic materials.

Some of you may recognize the Roland name. Roland is the same corporation that makes musical instruments/products.

Current State of Consumer 3D Printing Link - A good article covering consumer 3d printers available as of January 2012.

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I'd love one of these for all sorts of purposes other than making faux-LEGO bricks, but I fear I'm in the minority here.

What happens when Bricklink is full of people selling homemade knockoffs of LEGO elements?

Edited by Blondie-Wan

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I'd love one of these for all sorts of purposes other than making faux-LEGO bricks, but I fear I'm in the minority here.

What happens when Bricklink is full of people selling homemade knockoffs of LEGO elements?

Not much of a concern. I suppose it is unlikely, because the seller would get bad reviews, and the printer itself is so expensive that they would have to sell millions of bricks to even break even. Also I like to think people are more honest than that (Though unfortunately that isn't often the case...)

I too can think of a lot of non-LEGO uses for one of these... With enough plastic (And other materials which will hopefully be printable in the future) one could manufacture anything they need at home for a very low price.

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I'd love one of these for all sorts of purposes other than making faux-LEGO bricks, but I fear I'm in the minority here.

What happens when Bricklink is full of people selling homemade knockoffs of LEGO elements?

3D printers are fairly expensive, so I don't think that's a problem. When they do become cheaper, they would just be custom pieces, like Brickforge or Brickarms.

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I'm guessing these lower end printers would not be good enough simply as their output isn't accurate enough, and requires too much finishing.

Plus for any printed content, you won't get the strength that you would from a high pressure injection molded process like Lego uses.

But for some custom made minifig accessories it could be interesting. And for non-structural items like bley rigging for the UCS falcon.... :P

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I'd love one of these for all sorts of purposes other than making faux-LEGO bricks, but I fear I'm in the minority here.

What happens when Bricklink is full of people selling homemade knockoffs of LEGO elements?

Because they'd make more money selling custom Lego accessories than legit Lego knockoffs.

-Omi

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