These are some great ways you can use your 3D printer to create your own designs inspired by Legos.
3D printers are growing in popularity and more people are using them as a modern medium for sculpting and expressing their inner creativity.
Not only that, but some have even found ways to print things out of the melted plastic compound that can be used around the house. From modern toys to works of art, 3D printing is an exciting area that knows no limits. Some geometries have been achieved that no other means of technology can realistically achieve, and it is widely considered to be the future of manufacturing.
Lego is a multi-million dollar industry that has encouraged children to create their own constructions using brightly colored small plastic bricks that fit into each other for centuries. From minifigures that are miniature versions of characters to entire kits, there are no reasons why you should not consider creating your own 3D printed toy kit that is more complex than some of the common Lego designs.
This could be a new way to create and develop your own kind of toys using a 3D printer, and thanks to the complexity of shapes that can be achieved, your child could be playing with a prototype custom construction kit within a few days.
Can you build with 3D printed Lego blocks?
A lot of people have designed their own version of the iconic Lego brick, and it is now possible to use the same material that the Danish brand giant use.
Genuine plastic Lego bricks are made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) which is widely available on the market nowadays. One of the benefits of Lego is that the possibilities are endless, which seems to be a perfect match for 3D printing. Being able to make bricks that slot into others is revolutionary because it encourages creativity, spatial awareness, and scientific thinking for children and adults.
In 2019, Lego eliminated a lot of online 3D designs which copy their bricks, and unofficial Lego parts have been removed so that they can stay on top of the market.
There are still a lot of similar designs out there, thanks to some websites standing their ground against Lego, although some did not survive.
It seems like Lego are working on their newest interactive experience using 3D printing, which might be why they are trying to make room in the market for them to dominate in the coming years.
Where to Find Designs
Most 3D printing websites will demonstrate how they have used Lego as inspiration to make their own brick designs and even some minifigures. With that being said, there are dangers that come with flying too close to the sun, and making something that is too similar to their concepts could get you into trouble.
If you are particularly tech-savvy, you could even use design software to create your own blueprint. Some people have gotten away with using virtually identical shapes to Lego by etching a small symbol onto it rather than their name.
It might be worth considering doing something similar to avoid confrontation about legalities. That said, as long as you avoid making the designs widely available, it is unlikely that you will face issues in this respect.
Something that came a few years after the immense success of the Lego brick is the minifigure.
Common movie and TV characters have been depicted on these tiny icons, and more people want to make a minifigure of themselves.
Some 3D printing websites offer the blueprints and suggested color variations, as well as material preferences to do this. There is no reason why you cannot make your own custom minifigure, and have fun with adding accessories or even painting them to look like your friends.
It’s easier to print minifigures that don’t have the capacity to move, and it will take a lot longer to work on ones that have all the individual moving parts and interchangeable features.
Benefits of printing Lego
Cost is a big factor when influencing the decision to 3D print Lego. While it is more expensive to purchase a construction kit, it takes more time to get the design right on a 3D printer.
There are a lot of conditions that need to be met in order to get the right final product. Most 3D printer owners will tell you how frustrating it can be to wait a whole day for something to print, only to find out that it has gone wrong in some way.
Allowing the time to change colored filament is another difficult and frustrating task, which is why a lot of people opt to print something in a single color and then paint the end product.
Once you have taken the time to put a little practice into the technique, it can be more cost-effective to print your own Lego rather than purchasing it.
In addition to this, there is an unlimited range of designs that can be achieved, as you are not confined by Lego kits – you could even develop your own shape that can be slotted together.
Lego and Duplo are just some of the possibilities of 3D printing. The creative freedom that some people have already started to express with their new means of design and sculpting is immense, and it’s plain to see why many have called 3D printing the future of product design and manufacturing.
It is possible to 3D print Lego bricks, kits, and minifigures. There are various designs available online to choose from, and it’s worth avoiding the obstacle of copyright by slightly altering the design in some way.
Like all 3D printing projects, it takes a great deal of time and effort to get optimum conditions that will yield a successful product. Compared to the way in which Lego make their products, the time efficiency isn’t a strong point.
With that said, there are unlimited possibilities that you can use a 3D printer for, and there is no reason why you should settle for bricks alone. It can be a great gift for your friends and family to make and then paint a miniature version of them, so why not give it a try?