Mar.3, 2014

Lego wants to adapt to the digital economy and is exploring the possibility of customers making their own mini-figures and Lego pieces using 3D printers.

The Financial Times reported that Lego, as the world's second-largest toymaker, is facing the challenge from online content, mobile apps and video games. One big challenge is from Minecraft, an online game of virtual blocks played by more than 100m people. Lego had been forced to change its business model to adapt to the digital age, said John Goodwin, Lego's chief financial officer.

The company developed the Lego Universe online game about three years ago but found it was out of date by the time it launched.

And online, some Lego fans already start making custom figures and provide services to Lego enthusiasts who want to 3D print the Lego bricks.

"3D printing is a fascinating development and certainly opens up a lot of new avenues... We are looking very intently at it and monitoring it, looking at what potential opportunities there are for consumers." said Goodwin.

But Lego says it has no plans to use 3D printer in the production process. 3D printing is great for fabricating prototypes and manufacturing individual and small lots. Lego makes more than 2,000 bricks a second, that is about 55bn a year, so they would not consider using 3D printers to replace the current mass production.

Lego's marketing manager, Mads Nipper, added that the company is looking at 3D printing to see if there is any possibilities to provide customers with value-added services. "It could well be that it might be an exciting opportunity to print your own bricks." said Nipper.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Adam Wilkinson CRDM LTD wrote at 3/4/2014 2:00:45 PM:

Next step down from Injection moulding is Vacuum casting this is where you use a Silicone tool and polyurethane resin. You can buy many grades that simulate production plastics. You can match colours and quality can be as good as any injection moulded part.

tom wrote at 3/4/2014 3:15:47 AM:

"Mads Nipper" - surely this is a character from a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel?

jd90 wrote at 3/3/2014 10:06:02 PM:

I think most of those custom pieces use custom injection molds. There isn't any consumer printing process that offers durable parts with a smooth finish. SL yields somewhat brittle parts with a very limited color selection, FFF just doesn't hold up to Lego fit and finish, with acetone smoothing, you'd lose the fit but get a better finish, without, you can get good fit but with the layered finish.

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