“Can you 3D print legos?” This is the question that comes up first from people who considered buying 3D printers. Usually Lego addicts. In case you are wondering the same thing, we will put this on the table in this article.
When it comes to 3D printings, what hit your mind first? Interior parts, toys, and Lego, at least that is what I think of first. It can be fun, joyful, and innovative. It is quite difficult to imagine someone might get a boring feeling in 3D printing legos. However, if that feeling hits you, maybe the lack of information caused it. So, shall we begin?
On This Page
- Why Can You 3D Print Legos?
- Noticeable Pieces Of Information To Start With 3D printer legos
- Can You 3D Print Legos Now? Tips In 3D Printing Legos
- Can You 3D Print Legos – Frequently Asked Questions
Why Can You 3D Print Legos?
To begin with, we will talk about the question many people wonder when it comes to printing Lego. Is it illegal to print Lego? The answer is no, you can print Lego parts as many as you can. But, it is illegal if you intend to sell them (with Lego’s trademark on them).
Although 3D printing technology has evolved so far. Still, the distance between the printed one and the real one is quite far away. We are talking about sturdiness, color, and precision. However, making your own Lego set will be quite fun and satisfying to admit.
There are countless reasons to three-dimension print Lego. As a result, here are some of the most noticeable reasons why you should try to print some.
1. The Cost:
First of all, making your own Lego set will more likely cost less than buying the authentic set from the store. Consequently, you will have to pay like 30 percent of the price on the materials. This means no marketing fee, branding fee, designing fee, and no more extra fee will be charged on your wallet.
Secondly, wasn’t there that time when you lost a tiny piece and spent a whole day looking for it? Those days are gone, you lost a piece of Lego? Lego Group forgot a small part in the pack you purchased (which sometimes happens)? You 3D print it in an instant. In other words, modern problems require modern solutions.
Thirdly, say, you are building a train with Legos but lack the train track? A 3D printed Lego train track will be got your back. Since it’s the most simple part if you compare it with other Lego parts. Consequently, you can easily print them with no hassle.
2. Custom Parts:
One of the most important things in making 3D printing Legos is you can print the shape you need. In other words, this is like a wish come true to many people out there struggling in creating their custom model. Similarly, you can also print them in custom colors or even revive the parts that Lego Group is no longer making.
More than that, you can design and 3D print your own legos if you are interested. Many dream of this and now it’s the present. Yet, you will need to do some homework about specifications. Standard block height, width, and stud placements of the original Legos are involved. Including doing the same thing on your newly designed block.
3. Making Your Own Legos Will Not Put Legos Out Of Business:
In case you felt bad about printing lego parts might affect Legos Group in a bad way. Well, don’t be, the idea of 3D printing parts had existed since the 3D printing technology itself had not developed. Even now they are a real thing now, making them will not cause the mighty Legos Group any harm. Shall we dig a bit deeper about this?
Legos Group has a history of producing colored plastic bricks since the late 1940s. Plus, they have always pursued the idea that “only the best is good enough”. Also, they produce numerous parts through a highly evolved process of plastic injection molding.
On another side, while Legos built its reputation finely for years, 3D printing is still at its beginning. Massive 3D printers only began to be invented in the 1980s. Yet, they were extremely expensive and seriously limited in their abilities back then. Nowadays? They are still too far behind the real products.
In the future, say, 10 years, when the cost of 3D printing will be surely reduced. And the printing technology is improved. Then, the printed ones may stand beside the authentic ones in terms of quality. However, this is also assumed that the mighty Lego Group has not spent the last 10 years getting much better technologies. Also, adjusting costs and refining their production process are included. So just take it easy, have your fun and joy.
4. The Contrast:
The only downside of printing Lego by yourself is the time. Making a set of Lego will take lots of time and effort. Plus, the Lego bricks are a real legend for their perfect scale on every single piece. All authentic Lego parts will have to fit together with any other ones. Which had never changed for decades.
Noticeable Pieces Of Information To Start With 3D printer legos
Being said, printing Lego pieces can be the most creative, exciting, and enticing thing to do. Which makes your brain work as hard as it can (for a normal adult person). Yet, it can be extremely frustrating, especially when making a whole set of models.
Why? You may wonder. This process involves pre-processing, post-processing, and lots of Lego pieces to build even the tiniest, simplest Lego project. Hence, you will need proper preparation and knowledge for the most enjoyable experience. Also, less costly and frustrating!
1. The Materials:
Since the authentic Lego bricks are made from injection-molded ABS plastics. This means it will be a highly recommended material for your Lego project. Which will offer your 3D printed Legos a fairly same feeling, sturdiness, and resilience to be compared with the authentic ones.
Besides the ABS, you will have another material to choose from, PLA plastics. This material is one of the most popular materials in almost every 3D printing project. It’s an alternative good choice for your printed Lego set. Although it lacks sturdiness and more likely will shatter itself if you step on it. The bright side is the pain in your foot will be reduced.
Honest time, how many of us had never stepped on a Lego piece? The pain it “offers” is like breaking a rib or rather have a broken rib than step on it. But for a similar feel? ABS is an excellent recommendation.
2. The Printers:
For a normal printing project, FFF 3D printers (fused filament fabrication) will perform just fine. But talk about 3D printing lego bricks, injection-molding will be a good choice. Let’s put both of them in comparison.
FFF 3D printers will be suitable for large and classic Lego parts. The downside is it offers a low accuracy, some of your parts will get trouble with connecting and might be too loose or too tight. Which will take more effort to entirely replicating traditional Lego. Yet, it can be done, fairly.
On the other side, injection-molded parts will deliver higher accuracy. This means it’s going to be a good choice for 3D printing Lego Minifigures. Hands or heads are included More than that, your printed Lego parts will be more likely to have a great fit on each other.
One more alternative way, SLA 3D printing (Stereolithography). This one delivers a great advantage when in a comparison with FFF 3D printing, the accuracy. The accuracy of this one is surprisingly similar to the injection-molded ones. There are some troubles you will have to face, the friction between parts. This makes the parts difficult to connect or to disconnect. Which will get your Lego parts to get loosed after times.
Small tip, you will have the finest final results if you properly maintain and calibrate your printer. Furthermore, the key to the fitness of your printed Lego parts is the very first layer calibration. Notice that every micrometer plays a big role in your project.
3. The Slicer:
Commonly, a standard-setting of slicer will work just fine for most 3D printing lego parts. But, there will be always one “but”. Yet, not every printer can print the same volume. Even with the same model.
According to experts with various opinions and recommendations, you should start with the standard-setting of the slicer. Print a piece first, the size doesn’t matter. Then you will want to attach it to the original Lego piece to see how fit it is. If it fits right in the first attempt, then it’s going to be all good. If it doesn’t, try adjusting the nozzle.
Plus, the thinner the slicer layer you choose, the more time it takes to print. Furthermore, you will want to find the slicer settings that have good fits first. And then set it as default to print the rest of your project. Which may likely cost time at first but will reduce the printing time in total.
Can You 3D Print Legos Now? Tips In 3D Printing Legos
Since some notable information about this article has been put on the table and the homework is done. It’s now the turn of some tips while making, after, and so on. So, shall we?
1. Choosing Materials:
As mentioned, each material offers a different price tag, quality, and functionality. When it comes up to printing Lego, the best and highly recommended choice is using ABS plastics. They offer a great sturdiness, resilience, and a similar feel to the authentic ones. But they can be a bit costly.
There is an alternative option for you in case you don’t want to pay too much for 3D printed Legos, PLA plastics. Just like what we have learned above, this type of material is just like the ABS but the sturdiness. A good choice with less cost and more likely will prevent foot pain in any chance
2. FFF Or SLA?
Both of these two had advantages and disadvantages against each other. While SLA printing delivers a high accuracy process, suitable for 3D printing lego Minifigures and long-term usage parts. Which is the opposite of the FFF printing as mentioned above.
The similarity of these two is they can print quickly and requires post-processing. Which is a fun thing to do. Almost forgot! FFF printing is the one that can offer an affordable cost, not the SLA.
3. The Blueprints:
Recently, some stores sell properly developed 3d printing legos blueprints. Nor can you find them online, but this is quite risky because some may be designed in the wrong scales and dimensions.
Or in case you want to challenge yourself by designing a blueprint yourself. You can skip this if you have already mastered the game. If not, you will need some careful research and studies. This may take time but trust me, it’s totally worth it.
If your model requires stands or brims as support, you will have to remove them. And then sand them off to remove extra materials as giving it a smooth surface.
5. Troubles You May Face:
According to experts, there will be some challenges in your way to keep the game entertaining. Also, as earlier discussed, you will get some issues when attaching a newly printed one to the original one in the first few attempts.
Plus, you will want to adjust the nozzle to more precise specs to have a better fit on the original Lego brick.
Can You 3D Print Legos – Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is 3D Printing Legos Legal?
If you scrolled past all the above, then yes, it’s legal to print Legos. However, as long as you don’t sell your printed Legos with the trademark on them, you are free from charge.
2. Is It Cheaper To 3D Print Legos?
There are two ways to talk about this. Assume that you already have a three-dimensional printer and are familiar with it. Then, the answer will be yes, it’s cheaper to print Legos. On the other hand, the answer will be a “no” if you don’t have a printer or don’t know how to operate it.
3D printing legos requires a proper and well-maintained three-dimension printer. Knowledge around 3D printing and so on. Also, a proper one may cost nearly over a thousand bucks while it can print only small parts. Therefore, purchasing a set of Legos at the same price sounds more financial.
3. Is 3D Printing Difficult To Learn?
Difficult? Instead of that, I would rather call it challenging. Because in case you are good at math or sculpting, or you can build Ikea furniture without instruction. Suddenly, it may not be that “difficult” to learn. However, if you have enough interest in it, your learning process is going to be an experience of joy and excitement.
Legos is and maybe always will be one of the most creative building sets of times. Hence, a special thanks to three-dimension printing technologies, we are now can supply ourselves with printed parts. So, if someone comes at you and asks “can you 3D print legos?” What would be your answer?