Bering

How durable is Technic LEGO?

Recommended Posts

What always interested me is the durability of things. How much pressure it can handle and how's the quality degraded after time. That's why it became my profession.

I noticed Lego bricks quality decreased a lot in comparison to the 80's. Almost al my bricks from the 80's have no cracks or damage (Technic and regular Lego).

I've bought sets recently which had instant cracks or they began to appear after 3 months display (http://www.eurobrick...ic=78740&st=125)

Yes, Lego quality overall is decreasing, no doubt.

However, how's Technic Lego doing? Apart from color differences in a set, i have not seen cracks.

What i did noticed is the clutch power of the recent black friction pins, which decreased a lot, it hardly has any power. People can understand that after a short time the clutch power will disappear. The same for gears on axles... They are far too loose. Just rub it 50 times over the same axle and you won't have clutch power anymore. And displaying models for a long period certainly will do the clutch power no good.

Compare that to the friction pins and gears/axles of the 80's. I wish they lost some clutch power. ;-)

The good old days... when we bought Lego for the rest of our lives.

What do you think of the recent Technic Lego quality?

Edited by Bering

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you buy something for the rest of your life there is no business, that is all.

And that's bad? But that's not what i meant. In the 80's quality was much better. When will be the point that you don't buy Lego anymore? The recent Lego quality for me is just acceptable, not more than that. If it decreases more in quality, i will stop buying sets. That means no business for them, doesn't harm me. ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you buy something for the rest of your life there is no business, that is all.

That is rubbish, sorry.

I have sets from 80s, I will keep them, white is not so white anymore, but otherwise there is nothing wrong with those. And I am still buying LEGO nowadays, I am looking forward to new sets. Not even once I though: "I have tons of eternal bricks I will stop buying"

Business is elsewhere. If "cracking" parts is supposed to be key to sales, there would have been something terribly wrong with your business model.

BTW: I have no cracks in my parts - and I build and rebuild stuff all the time. I have occasional damage (bends, cracks) on very very old parts - but still even these are super rare. Since childhood I treated LEGO with care as something totally valuable. When I was kid, LEGO was only very very seldom in shops, usually gone withing few hours, and it was terribly expensive. I knew how much effort and money my parents had to invest so I could have some LEGO. Now when LEGO is easy to get anywhere, "treasure it, be careful with it, you must not loose any single part" sentiment is still there for me.

LEGO is for lifetime if you look after it. My kids play (and play hard) with my old LEGO, I am sure their kids will too.

Edited by J_C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't say bad or good. It depends. Bad if you are a MOC builder because you break pieces everytime, good if you are a collector, in anycase both will buy again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is rubbish, sorry.

(...)

Business is elsewhere. If "cracking" parts is supposed to be key to sales, there would have been something terribly wrong with your business model.

(...)

I second that, and cracked parts is actually bad for TLG because if you go to customer service you will get send new ones for free.

I think quality has decreased because of lower production costs or maybe the quality of the ABS plastic has decreased and TLG can't do anything about it. But i don't know anything about that

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is rubbish, sorry.

I have sets from 80s, I will keep them, white is not so white anymore, but otherwise there is nothing wrong with those. And I am still buying LEGO nowadays, I am looking forward to new sets. Not even once I though: "I have tons of eternal bricks I will stop buying"

Business is elsewhere. If "cracking" parts is supposed to be key to sales, there would have been something terribly wrong with your business model.

BTW: I have no cracks in my parts - and I build and rebuild stuff all the time. I have occasional damage (bends, cracks) on very very old parts - but still even these are super rare. Since childhood I treated LEGO with care as something totally valuable. When I was kid, LEGO was only very very seldom in shops, usually gone withing few hours, and it was terribly expensive. I knew how much effort and money my parents had to invest so I could have some LEGO. Now when LEGO is easy to get anywhere, "treasure it, be careful with it, you must not loose any single part" sentiment is still there for me.

LEGO is for lifetime if you look after it. My kids play (and play hard) with my old LEGO, I am sure their kids will too.

I share your opinion JC. I am also very careful with my Technic Lego, still, after 40 years. ;-)

I think displaying models (and keeping bricks under pressure) will damage bricks much quicker than building and rebuilding.

But fact is, i never had cracks in my old (Technic) bricks and i have had (wild guess: 100) cracks in recent sets. Only build once, displayed for about 3 months and put it into the box again.

But really, try rubbing an old grey 24 Gear on old black axle 50 times... No difference.

Now try it with a new Dark Grey 24 Gear on a new light bluish grey axle. You will notice the decreased clutch power instantly.

That quality worries me a lot. And i still buy new sets. (The Volvo EW160 and the Claas) recently, but for me the quality is just acceptable, but not the top quality what it used to be.

Edited by Bering

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't been into LEGO for a long time (almost all my TECHNIC parts are less than 3 years old), so I can't comment on whether durability has decreased. I've experienced very little wear/damage on pieces, which is pretty surprising considering the things I've subjected them to. The only piece that I think could be stronger is the transmission driving ring - I broke the bits that lock it to the 16-tooth clutch gears, making it unusable. To be fair, I was experimenting with a gigantic flywheel energy-storage system, but I think the piece was too weak. I wonder how the new 3L driving rings work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also add a little comment: sometimes I see MOCs that are just too big in size. Too ambitious, very impressive, but pointlessly big. (I am afraid even BWE is one of those). Weight, momentum, forces are just too big for given material. It is not Meccano. There would be also interesting study how far more flexible studless vs. way more rigid studded technic parts would compare - and again it comes down to design and engineering behind MOCs and mechanical engineering knowledge of MOCer.

That being said, flexible is not bad by default. It depend how you work with it and how you can make it work for you and your design.

Even official LEGO sets have weak points in design sometimes when stress on few pins is quite big while some other parts around hold "nothing". I would be interested in doing FEM analysis of some LEGO sets, but I just do not have time to make parts into suitable 3D formats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had several destroyed pieces so far. Suprisingly, these were mostly old pieces from 80s... old technic bushings, parts that were used to make steering. Oh, now I recall wheels - often cracked in the axle hole.

Recently, if there is any damage to the parts, it's either from putting to much stress on it (I step on 1x6 plate and bent it, as simple as that. Or I let 24t gear chew in the stuck mehanism driven by buggy motor...) But oher than that, I don't have any issues.

I don't think there has been any decrease in plastic quality (yet... let's see what thi ecology nonsense brings :/ ) and on contrary, lego got much better in designing - older parts had much more weak spots, now there is rarely a part that is likely to break or something.

Regarding all these pictures with cracked 1x1 bricks, well I don't know what people do with these sets... maybe they bake them and quench afterwards? :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old bricks from the 80s and 90s do crack. Especially light gray half bushes, bushes, connectors, universal joints and gears. Those just loved to crack due to the brittle plastic. And don't get me started on old light gray pneumatic switches...

Modern lego is of very good quality if you ask me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I crashed a fast Lego car into a wall and only one part was broken, so it is pretty durable. But on other hand I have some cracked half beams, bushes, pins and connectors. Also I don't recommend you making a crossbow only out of liftarms

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old bricks from the 80s and 90s do crack. Especially light gray half bushes, bushes, connectors, universal joints and gears. Those just loved to crack due to the brittle plastic. And don't get me started on old light gray pneumatic switches...

Modern lego is of very good quality if you ask me.

We don't know yet. I agree with you that the old technic bushes, connectors etc tend to break (only after years of display, under stress). My played Technic bricks (not displayed) do not have cracks.

But we are talking here about Lego 40 years old. I've had many broken modern pieces in 5 years. That's not a very good sign in terms of quality (not to think of how it will be 40 years later...).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience with Technic parts is somewhat opposite, it happen that parts from set from the 90's cracks, especially toothed bushings and connectors. While more modern parts almost never fails. The only broken parts I have experienced in sets from last 16 years: 1. Broken 9398 shock absorber, but the assembled model falled like 2 meters from the top of the fridge, 2. One black 2L pin from the rotors of my 9396, as my little son played a little rough with it.

I realize it maybe due to aging, but the difference, to my experience, is really significant.

Color consistency, on the other hand, seems to me like a bigger issue with recent sets, especially for yellow parts.

Edited by kolbjha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The old Technic friction pins were difficult for children and some adults to get out. The change was probably for easier removal and quality of their play experience. Maybe less parts damage from biting or pliers.

LEGO is not all that durable. I find lots of ABS dust on my GBC modules after running them all weekend. Plus PF motors also burning out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think another point to this discussion is to clarify what we mean by quality. Define it. Because I suspect much of what is meant by quality can actually be summarized by using less ABS. Not to bring up an unrelated topic, but complaints of LEGO being more expensive nowadays can somewhat be derailed when you consider how much ABS was used in each mold in the past compared to now. It is quite a bit less. So..... the idea of "poorer" quality might simply be summarized by the fact that LEGO uses less ABS than in the past.....

Some may consider these the same thing..... I do not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had some broken Lego parts myself. In the 8263 Snow Groomer, nearly all the parts that had an axle attachment where the middle was thinner than the sides, such as this: http://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=6536&idColor=11#T=C&C=11 cracked on the axle holder. I had to get new parts of every single one of those types of parts. Those're the only damaged parts I've had in Technic. I've had no damaged system parts, and an unbelievable number of damaged Bionicle parts, but the original ball joints were infamous for breaking. And all of my sets are from 2003 onward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

can actually be summarized by using less ABS. Not to bring up an unrelated topic, but complaints of LEGO being more expensive nowadays can somewhat be derailed when you consider how much ABS was used in each mold in the past compared to now. It is quite a bit less.

I was going to bring up the same point. While a lot of parts can't be made with thinner walls (studded bricks, for example), other parts have seen an evolution in wall thickness.

All the pins made now have much thinner walls than their equivalents from 20 years ago. They break easier, but I don't have any tooth marks on them so they are easier to play with. At the same time, 1L bushes and u joints are much less prone to cracking, despite little change in the design.

From what I can tell, the plastic being used today is just as good (if not better) as the old one, but there is less of it used. It results in thinner and better designed parts that still fail, but are a lot more enjoyable to play with.

A big improvement has also been made in the fit between parts. It seems like tolerances have been tightened to give a much more consistent feel when working with the same parts. All the pins of one type require the same amount of force to put in, same with gears sliding on an axle, and so on. Gone are the days where an 8 tooth gear would be permanently fused to a 2L gray axle pin. It makes building much more enjoyable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LEGO is not all that durable. I find lots of ABS dust on my GBC modules after running them all weekend. Plus PF motors also burning out.

Use silicone lubricant like i do in my engines and it wont wear out.

Edited by nicjasno

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LEGO is not all that durable. I find lots of ABS dust on my GBC modules after running them all weekend. Plus PF motors also burning out.

I would contend that continuous running at a show doesn't constitute a valid use case for LEGO. There's a reason that bearings and lubricants exist; LEGO uses neither for simplicity and the target audience. That you can't slide one part on another for days on end doesn't make the product of poor durability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Compared to many other toys made out of plastic, i think Lego pieces are between the more durable and stronger ones, i have seen some broken pieces (some of mine) which were broken by a big and lasting stress or by a big hit, but for a piece which is make only of plastic it is very impressive (and you must also consider that most of the pieces have hollow-like structure, to reduce cost and weight, just like birds bones), just see, how many toys have you seen that are able to move 2, 3, 4Kg or heavier models with plastic transmissions?, or able to make a crossbow that are able to shoot 30g objects at more than away 20m? (and this is true, because that was my crossbow), i know sometimes there are pieces which crack with just a little bit of force, like the crossblocks or other pieces like that, but overall all the Lego is a very strong and lasting toy, i have some Lego bricks which are more than 20 years old, and they are still strong, it is possible that Lego is trying to make new materials or new technics to improve the new incoming pieces, at this time i am not able to say if their queality will be better or worse, but with all of the modern technologies, i think the pieces will become better, but even when you could see pieces that could fail, remember that the design process of new stuff is a constant history of fail and success, but at last, lets hope all will be better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I break pieces everyday but I suppose my case is not usual. I never keep MOCs or sets mounting so I guess that my pieces sufer a lot of stress, some of them may have been in more than 15 MOCs and it is true that they have begun to habitually break a couple of years ago, 1 or 2 per hour. These are the most fragile, surprisingly I've never broken a gear or transmission part.

Q2TSQtr.jpg3j9OBZP.gif8cDsFdj.gifVSQ47cs.gifJaWhcJB.jpg0GvNzci.gif3at8IMp.gifV6cz2n1.gifbzaHv1M.jpgeyNkKdx.gifqGIPQLy.gifAz0BC7w.gifWM1Vz49.gif39t3xZc.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That happens to me too, that mostly happens to me mostly when put or remove pieces, for example, the crossblocks tends to crack in the cross-axle hole if i put an axle thru it and make a bit of stress, the thin liftarms and the axle connectors break in the cross-axles holes too, i have also experienced some cracking with the 3L pins and this piece (specifically only with this color): http://madaboutbricks.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Lego-4211865-32054-1x-Light-Blueish-Grey-Md-Stone-Medium-Standard-Grey-2M-Friction-Snap-With-Cross-Hole_2.jpg, but as well, i have i almost havent broken almost any gear (Only 1 old grey 12T bevel gear) or many axles, they only tend to flex, but most of the pieces i have are strong enough and i really like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Use silicone lubricant like i do in my engines and it wont wear out.

Agreed. Also, "running all weekend" is the operative phrase here. In fact, as a children's toy, I'd say that if LEGO can even do that it qualifies as a VERY durable toy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.