LEGO Prototyping Process on Display at LEGO World 2012
I loved me some LEGO when I was a kid. I didn’t have any of those fancy kits they sell nowadays either. Nope, just give me a big tub of blocks and I could keep myself busy for hours. I’m not quite as tempted by LEGO as an adult, but plenty of folks are, as shown by the LEGO Minecraft under development or the Super Star Destroyer set (no kid is buying a $400 LEGO kit).
Part of what makes all the new sets possible is the same process that goes into creating any new product. LEGO designers come up with an idea, and then work that idea into a CAD file. If the CAD file shows promise, a prototype is created using 3D printing. The 3D printer of choice for this process is the Objet Eden 500v.
The design process is on display at this year’s LEGO World 2012, held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rather than wrangling the Eden500v into the convention hall, Objet brought along its Objet24 desktop 3D printer. The machine will run during operating hours giving kids and grownups alike a chance to see how a 3D printer creates a prototype.
The entire design process will be shown at LEGO World 2012, from initial concept, to CAD design, through the prototyping process and finally finished examples will be on hand.
The LEGO brick is born digital on a computer as a CAD drawing and is converted into a physical brick during the manufacturing processes. The Objet 3D printer is a critical component in the LEGO development phase. It helps us in getting physical elements for checking the design, build-ability and functionality at a very early point in production. –Kenneth Wested Laursen, head of LEGO prototyping
As additive manufacturing catches on with consumers, I wonder if LEGO won’t begin to offer CAD files to owners of personal 3D printers. The LEGO site already allows individual blocks to be ordered. It seems like an on-demand service or downloadable file service could be the next logical step.
Below you can get a peek into the LEGO design process.