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3D printing

3D printing custom kanohi bionicle quality

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#1 Offline Toa Ignika

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 01:50 AM

As you guys may have known for a while 3D printing is becoming more well known and popular. I have no access to one, nor even the software to use in conjunction with the printer...nor even the knowledge to use said software despite taking a course in CAD =.= But still I would like to share my opinion on 3D printing with reference to LEGO:

 

MOCers can create custom parts which are impossible to acquire from LEGO(E.G Movie version Avohkii, Kraahkhan, Ackar's old blade, all of which I really, REALLY WANT) Such little things like custom kanohi and weapons I believe will help keep the Bionicle fanbase going strong, and even encourage creativity amongst those who use it.

 

But due to its nature of use, counterfeit LEGO bits can easily be produced using 3D printers and sold off to unknowing people hoping to get LEGO pieces. LEGO fans might even just go on to producing their own parts instead of buying from LEGO. 

 

What do you think of 3D printing and what does it mean for LEGO? 

 

Oh and can someone make a Movie Avohkii for me using 3D printing? :P Seriously though, that'd be AWESOME!


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P.S. does anyone know of a online source for Bionicle in Singapore? I really wanna catch up on my childhood by buying the old Bionicles I never got to buy back then.


#2 Offline Chro

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 05:40 AM

I think it's fine. As far as I know it's still kind of expensive to actually print something since you have to buy materials, etc.

Besides, I think people have more important things to do with their 3D printers (like making houses on the moon, which is actually being planned) instead of counterfeiting Lego parts. :P


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#3 Offline fishers64

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 06:52 AM

Wouldn't it be cheaper to knock off parts the normal way (or buy them from Lego) than to use a 3-D printer?


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#4 Offline Black Six

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 07:04 AM

Sending this over to LEGO Discussion...
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#5 Offline Meiko

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 07:37 AM

I've only 3D printed one LEGO piece before, which I did as a project in my engineering class for a project. It's a Hero Factory piece that fixes the problems of heads like Witch Doctor and Fangz' to be able to fit on a 2.0/3.0 hero head. It works nicely, but is really small and I lost it. :P The color also is nothing like a LEGO color, but for this use, it was always covered up, so it didn't matter here.

 

Here is that piece, and the CAD document (Autodesk Inventor format) if you want it. http://www.brickshel...ry.cgi?f=487216


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#6 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 08:45 AM

Someone already made a mask this way here. So yes, it's quite possible to make a custom mask with 3D printing. The most difficult part is rendering it with the necessary amount of accuracy and precision.I believe at least some professional LEGO customizers like Brickarms make some of their molds with 3-D printing, and then use the resulting molds to make the individual parts. This is another technique that can be used to make custom LEGO parts in large quantities more efficiently than printing them one-at-a-time. Naturally, though, printing a mold would be more expensive than printing a part since it would use a larger volume of material and you'd have to use a material with a melting point higher than the plastic material you would use for the parts themselves.LEGO is aware of the risk that 3-D printing might present if unscrupulous counterfeiters use it to imitate LEGO parts. Thankfully, technology is still not to the point that counterfeit parts produced cheaply this way can ever be the same quality as official LEGO parts. And of course, LEGO uses this kind of technology themselves when producing some prototype parts, so they're certainly prepared to find new ways to take advantage of it before their competitors have the chance.
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#7 Offline Gengar

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 02:01 PM

Unless you made a special agreement with Lego, then wouldn't that be called illegal? Though it does seem like a great idea, especially for MOCers.


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#8 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 02:51 PM

Unless you made a special agreement with Lego, then wouldn't that be called illegal? Though it does seem like a great idea, especially for MOCers.

It'd only be illegal if you were copying official masks and distributing them, or selling masks you created and trying to pass them off as official LEGO. Plenty of LEGO customizers like Brickarms, Brickforge, Arealight Customs, etc. operate without any interference from TLG as long as they produce only their own designs and provide a disclaimer that they are not affiliated with The LEGO Group.Producing copies of official parts for your own use would probably not be illegal, but it'd sure be inefficient. 3D printers cost a lot to own, and the materials are not necessarily cheap either.

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#9 Offline Dual Cee

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 02:53 PM

Wouldn't say a printed socked be very easy to break due not perfect conditions during construction?
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#10 Offline Taipu1

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 03:49 PM

I like the idea of making custom parts, but I don't know how it works for anything outside of aesthetic components.  Is it possible to make your own ball socket piece for instance, and for it to work with a lego ball joint? 


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#11 Online Click

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 03:56 PM

I've had this same question several times actually. I have been working on 3D printing my own parts, and I might open a store over the summer, but I still could use some more practice.One question I've really wondered about is how detailed a mask needs to be. I've got a decent model, but it probably could be rounded out more.
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#12 Offline Dralcax

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Posted Apr 15 2013 - 06:07 PM

It's possible, but it's not very precise. Lego parts are made with high precision that 3D printers cannot handle. Lego does use 3D printers to make "rough sketches" of new prototype parts, but they are just to see how the model fits together with the new mold and are too low-quality to be actually used for anything beyond that. 3D printing will never replace Lego for the same reason why bootleg sets have never beaten official sets.


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#13 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Apr 16 2013 - 08:22 AM

It's possible, but it's not very precise. Lego parts are made with high precision that 3D printers cannot handle. Lego does use 3D printers to make "rough sketches" of new prototype parts, but they are just to see how the model fits together with the new mold and are too low-quality to be actually used for anything beyond that. 3D printing will never replace Lego for the same reason why bootleg sets have never beaten official sets.

I get your point, but keep in mind that 3D printing is still an improving technology, so as time goes by the quality of parts produced by this method could become closer and closer to Lego's own. However, as has been pointed out, injection molding is just generally more efficient, both in terms of materials used (due to prices being cheaper when buying in bulk and fewer support structures being necessary) and energy expended (since there are many more moving parts required for a 3D printer than for an injection molding machine). So while it will become easier and easier to produce custom parts on an individual basis, I doubt 3D printed parts are ever going to pose a very great threat to Lego's business.

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#14 Offline The Phantom Terror

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Posted Apr 16 2013 - 11:24 AM

It would be horrible for TLG. Prices on the stock would plummet, and if people are cheaply making their own parts, their gonna keep making more, because they're probably not using ABS.


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#15 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Apr 18 2013 - 04:14 PM

It would be horrible for TLG. Prices on the stock would plummet, and if people are cheaply making their own parts, their gonna keep making more, because they're probably not using ABS.

What do you mean by "prices on the stock"? The LEGO Group is not a publicly-traded company.Also, some 3D printers do use ABS. The notion that ABS is some magical material that only TLG uses is a myth. In reality, ABS is a very common plastic material used by various companies. Now, there are many varieties of ABS plastic, and TLG does have their own specific formulation that they rely heavily upon (though they do use an assortment of other plastics like polycarbonate, polypropylene, and some more rubbery plastics when they need parts to have different qualities). As far as I know, no other building toy company uses the exact same type of ABS granulate as TLG. Still, you could produce ABS parts that are similar enough to TLG's parts to be usable with LEGO bricks without standing out too much... and that's exactly what many customizers already do.

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#16 Online Click

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Posted May 04 2013 - 12:27 AM

I was just wondering, for those that have 3D printers, what do you have, and how much did it cost? I'm currently saving up for one, probably to buy off RepRap, but I'm unsure of how much I should invest to get a decent one.
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#17 Offline Makuta_of_Oz

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Posted May 09 2013 - 12:00 AM

omg, what WOULDN'T I do with a 3D printer if I had one?? <3

 

Question is, how brittle are the pieces it makes?


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#18 Offline ToaN

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Posted May 09 2013 - 01:05 AM

First thing I would do with a 3D printer: custom Kanohi masks! MASK OF CREATION!!!


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#19 Offline Makuta Almanax

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Posted May 09 2013 - 05:51 AM

First thing I would do with a 3D printer: custom Kanohi masks! MASK OF CREATION!!!

 

That would be a bit ambitious to interpret based on its description, wouldn't it? Better to start off with a simple one like healing, or making inorganic Inika masks. But I suppose either way we'd all be happy to have our own masks available. One downside I can think of would be the potential for some unscrupulous rahi to use them to counterfeit the grey plastic krana-kal prototypes. 


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#20 Offline Gengar

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Posted May 09 2013 - 02:14 PM

omg, what WOULDN'T I do with a 3D printer if I had one?? <3 Question is, how brittle are the pieces it makes?

It depends. I've seen some plastic 3D printer block things, and they are pretty solid, but has sort of a rough texture. It usually depends on what type of plastic you are using for the pieces.

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#21 Offline XONAR

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Posted May 28 2013 - 06:11 PM

I proposed this idea to an guy named Mario Rossi who is an extremely talented animator who makes 3D Bionicle animations. They look like Ghost made em! You really have to see it to believe it. I told him that he could model Bionicle masks or other parts, and then 3D print the models in any color. Then he could sell them. This would be great for MOCs. (I'm thinking Sand Tarakava with the yellow Ruru  :D ) I haven't heard back from him yet, but it would be awesome if he started doing that. 


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#22 Offline Ziontyro Metalhead

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Posted Jun 15 2013 - 09:15 PM

It would be horrible for TLG. Prices on the stock would plummet, and if people are cheaply making their own parts, their gonna keep making more, because they're probably not using ABS

Yeah, ABS isn't that accurate for printing material.


Edited by Ziontyro Metalhead, Jun 15 2013 - 09:17 PM.

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#23 Offline Aurora the cat

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Posted Jul 02 2013 - 11:53 PM

I have access to a 3d printer, and I have been using it to print some masks for my matorans.  The problem with a 3d printer is:

 

Time

Money

plastic quality

rendering program

 

It would be horrible for TLG. Prices on the stock would plummet, and if people are cheaply making their own parts, their gonna keep making more, because they're probably not using ABS.

What do you mean by "prices on the stock"? The LEGO Group is not a publicly-traded company.Also, some 3D printers do use ABS. The notion that ABS is some magical material that only TLG uses is a myth. In reality, ABS is a very common plastic material used by various companies. Now, there are many varieties of ABS plastic, and TLG does have their own specific formulation that they rely heavily upon (though they do use an assortment of other plastics like polycarbonate, polypropylene, and some more rubbery plastics when they need parts to have different qualities). As far as I know, no other building toy company uses the exact same type of ABS granulate as TLG. Still, you could produce ABS parts that are similar enough to TLG's parts to be usable with LEGO bricks without standing out too much... and that's exactly what

 

 

It would be horrible for TLG. Prices on the stock would plummet, and if people are cheaply making their own parts, their gonna keep making more, because they're probably not using ABS.

What do you mean by "prices on the stock"? The LEGO Group is not a publicly-traded company.Also, some 3D printers do use ABS. The notion that ABS is some magical material that only TLG uses is a myth. In reality, ABS is a very common plastic material used by various companies. Now, there are many varieties of ABS plastic, and TLG does have their own specific formulation that they rely heavily upon (though they do use an assortment of other plastics like polycarbonate, polypropylene, and some more rubbery plastics when they need parts to have different qualities). As far as I know, no other building toy company uses the exact same type of ABS granulate as TLG. Still, you could produce ABS parts that are similar enough to TLG's parts to be usable with LEGO bricks without standing out too much... and that's exactly what many customizers already do.

 

 

many customizers already do.

 

the problem with abs is that it is very expensive unless bought in bulk.   In addition to that it is a harder plastic that is harder to shape, than mold.

 

If I was to use abs, I would first use the printer to make a mold, then sand it, and cast it.  That away you could just pour in the abs.

 

I am going to try this, and I will report back.


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#24 Offline XJCLW

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Posted Jul 28 2014 - 05:22 PM

I'm waiting for my printer to ship, but meanwhile, I may add in that covering a metru head with lotion, covering it with cold porcelain, sculpting, drying, popping off the mask, and hot-gluing an axle rod works quite well.


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#25 Offline Maphrox: Toa of Polygons

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Posted Jul 29 2014 - 06:07 AM

I'd say it'll affect the sales of toys/plastic figures/whatever about as much as the paper printer affected the sales of books.


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