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LEGO Following 3D-printing Developments


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Hapori Tohu

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Posted Mar 06 2014 - 10:54 AM

As ToyNews reported earlier this week, LEGO is keeping a close eye on 3D-printing technology and the opportunities it may create. While it is currently not looking into using 3D-printing for its own products, there's certainly a lot of areas where the technology could be used while playing with our favorite bricks. Who here has never wanted a plate with studs on both sides or some other piece that doesn't quite exist in the LEGO palette? As the technology continues to mature hopefully LEGO will make the most of it!

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#2 Offline KZN02

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Posted Mar 06 2014 - 01:28 PM

Imagine the possibilities combining LDD with 3D Printing,


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#3 Offline Gengar

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Posted Mar 06 2014 - 03:02 PM

Wow...too bad 3D printers are expensive as crazy.


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#4 Offline Mr. Lightning Bolt

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Posted Apr 09 2014 - 08:53 PM

Imagine the possibilities combining LDD with 3D Printing,

That would require some heavy software modification I bet. Plus I highly doubt Lego would allow that kind of thing to happen. Most of their business stolen by a printer. Imagine the implications!

That said, I'm interested in whoever here has a 3D printer, and would make a mask, considering I'm looking for some special ones... 
Wait. What kind of plastic is used with 3D Printers, and how is it different from the plastics Lego used during Bionicle's tenure?


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#5 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Apr 10 2014 - 12:22 PM

Imagine the possibilities combining LDD with 3D Printing,

That would require some heavy software modification I bet. Plus I highly doubt Lego would allow that kind of thing to happen. Most of their business stolen by a printer. Imagine the implications!
That said, I'm interested in whoever here has a 3D printer, and would make a mask, considering I'm looking for some special ones... 
Wait. What kind of plastic is used with 3D Printers, and how is it different from the plastics Lego used during Bionicle's tenure?


3D printers use a variety of plastics but ABS, the plastic used in Lego, is a popular one.

Anyway, Lego has little to fear from 3D printing in the short term. And I don't think Lego will have a lot to worry about even in the long term as far as a loss of sales in favor of 3D printing is concerned, since mass manufacture will always be more economical than individual part creation through 3D printing. I imagine a greater fear relating to 3D printing would be a proliferation of unregulated part creation by fans—Lego does a great deal of safety testing on their own products and if people gain the ability to 3D print their own parts en masse, it could lead to a lot of "pseudo-Lego" on the secondhand market that may not necessarily be as high-quality or safe for children.

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#6 Offline Mr. Lightning Bolt

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Posted Apr 10 2014 - 12:53 PM

 

 

Imagine the possibilities combining LDD with 3D Printing,

That would require some heavy software modification I bet. Plus I highly doubt Lego would allow that kind of thing to happen. Most of their business stolen by a printer. Imagine the implications!
That said, I'm interested in whoever here has a 3D printer, and would make a mask, considering I'm looking for some special ones... 
Wait. What kind of plastic is used with 3D Printers, and how is it different from the plastics Lego used during Bionicle's tenure?

 


3D printers use a variety of plastics but ABS, the plastic used in Lego, is a popular one.

Anyway, Lego has little to fear from 3D printing in the short term. And I don't think Lego will have a lot to worry about even in the long term as far as a loss of sales in favor of 3D printing is concerned, since mass manufacture will always be more economical than individual part creation through 3D printing. I imagine a greater fear relating to 3D printing would be a proliferation of unregulated part creation by fans—Lego does a great deal of safety testing on their own products and if people gain the ability to 3D print their own parts en masse, it could lead to a lot of "pseudo-Lego" on the secondhand market that may not necessarily be as high-quality or safe for children.

 

 You do have a point there. Just getting the printers and the plastic for the printing would be prohibitively expensive for most, and since you made the point of 'safety', people could get litigious if something happens to their kids after an accident with a 3D printed part. 

 

In the end though, I'm kind of looking to see if I can get some "custom" masks printed. What do I do about that? I know it was mentioned in another post that some companies do printing for people but I'm curious as to how I send in a design, say of an already produced mask. What if I want a transparent one like a Kaukau?


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#7 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Apr 10 2014 - 01:44 PM

Imagine the possibilities combining LDD with 3D Printing,

That would require some heavy software modification I bet. Plus I highly doubt Lego would allow that kind of thing to happen. Most of their business stolen by a printer. Imagine the implications!
That said, I'm interested in whoever here has a 3D printer, and would make a mask, considering I'm looking for some special ones... 
Wait. What kind of plastic is used with 3D Printers, and how is it different from the plastics Lego used during Bionicle's tenure?


3D printers use a variety of plastics but ABS, the plastic used in Lego, is a popular one.

Anyway, Lego has little to fear from 3D printing in the short term. And I don't think Lego will have a lot to worry about even in the long term as far as a loss of sales in favor of 3D printing is concerned, since mass manufacture will always be more economical than individual part creation through 3D printing. I imagine a greater fear relating to 3D printing would be a proliferation of unregulated part creation by fans—Lego does a great deal of safety testing on their own products and if people gain the ability to 3D print their own parts en masse, it could lead to a lot of "pseudo-Lego" on the secondhand market that may not necessarily be as high-quality or safe for children.

 You do have a point there. Just getting the printers and the plastic for the printing would be prohibitively expensive for most, and since you made the point of 'safety', people could get litigious if something happens to their kids after an accident with a 3D printed part. 
 
In the end though, I'm kind of looking to see if I can get some "custom" masks printed. What do I do about that? I know it was mentioned in another post that some companies do printing for people but I'm curious as to how I send in a design, say of an already produced mask. What if I want a transparent one like a Kaukau?

Submitting a design of an existing mask to a company like Shapeways would not be legal, because LEGO part designs are under copyright. Submitting a design of a custom mask simply requires 3D modelling experience. Something the size of a BIONICLE mask and made of plastic should not be prohibitively expensive.

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#8 Offline Toa Varova

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Posted Apr 10 2014 - 05:52 PM

Wow...too bad 3D printers are expensive as crazy.

I'm going to take a highly uneducated guess and say that LEGO can easily afford some. I'm not even 85% sure, and I could EASILY be wrong, so correct me if I am. But if the LEGO Company can afford some of the 3D printers, it doesn't sound too far fetched to me.


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#9 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Apr 10 2014 - 06:19 PM

Wow...too bad 3D printers are expensive as crazy.

I'm going to take a highly uneducated guess and say that LEGO can easily afford some. I'm not even 85% sure, and I could EASILY be wrong, so correct me if I am. But if the LEGO Company can afford some of the 3D printers, it doesn't sound too far fetched to me.


This article isn't about that. Lego has had 3D printers and other means of rapid prototyping for a while. This is about Lego looking into how to take advantage of and adapt to 3D printing by the end consumer.

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