As 3D printing is growing old, the accessibility is reaching homes. People have started using 3D printers for accomplishing long loved hobbies. Because what’s not possible by any other means, can be done with this technology.
And, so is the craze for printing one’s own Lego pieces. Yes, one can easily 3D print Lego at homes. This won’t be very simple for starters. But if you are interested and wish to put the effort, we give you the direction to proceed.
Definitely, nothing is easier in the beginning. But as you start exploring the right path, fogs start dispersing. Similarly, with the right tips, you can soon start printing your own Lego 3D models.
Not just that, you be creative and make your own Lego figures from scratch. However, to start with, there is no harm in looking for digital files online. Because there are plenty of them.
Have you ever stuck while making the best Lego project of your life only because of a few Lego bricks? This must be the worse feeling for those who love working with Lego. And, one can easily resonate with this frustration.
However, those who own 3D printers can actually fill those gaps of despair by allowing the machine to do its part.
As crazy as it sounds, it does make a lot of sense. It may seem funny to give so much attention to a game that’s not even for adults. But that’s not true. Lego is for everyone.
And, one can manage its complexity with design, making it even more interesting for younger ones and older ones alike.
The best part is that the users do not only 3D print Lego parts for replacements but also for making new ones. You can actually make a completely new Lego game that has never been thought about before.
So, why not check out the ways you can dig deeper into the most creative and diverse field of Lego 3D printing.
How to 3D Print Lego Parts?
Before you start to print your model, the first thing you would require is the digital file to 3D print Lego. And, there are a few ways to do that.
Download the STL Files from Online Repositories
Starting with the online repositories which are the fastest way to go about it, you can start printing the parts right away. Yes, there are hundreds of models available online.
People love to download printable files directly without a need for investing a lot of time thinking. Just a few clicks and you can get the file saved right on to your personal device.
Either select multiple parts or download the zip file containing the design for the whole set of Lego parts. Whatever you decide, it’s all about the selection of design and downloading of the STL file from thereafter.
Be Creative! Design and Explore
There are many individuals who feel excited when wanting to create something on their own. The makers and enthusiasts are always eager to do something that amazes themselves.
And, if you are among them, you have the choice of using the CAD packages to make your own Lego figure. You can use packages such as 3DBuilder or TinkerCAD for making this possible.
If you like sharing, online repositories are always open. And, why not, others would also be able to use your creation for making these fantastic figures that when fit together can turn small bricks or pieces into something really marvelous.
Scan and Edit
There are few 3D Printers that come along with an inbuilt 3D scanner. If that is what you own, why not scan the pieces and print the parts. There are also separate 3D scanners you can get for yourself, check out some of the best 3D scanners here.
This is best for preparing replacements. However, if you like to come up with a unique design, you can also make edits to the scanned files. This way, you can make your own Lego pieces, the way you like these.
Few Examples of 3D Print Lego Sets
What did you think, are you the first one to think of 3D Printing Lego parts? The era started long back. The examples are scattered all over the internet.
You can find quite some great figures of Legos and creative designs that would leave you awestruck. Hence, let’s find out what people are already doing by combining Legos with 3D printing.
Duplo to Brio Track Adapter
This is the favorite innovation of many. Can you imagine combining different games with the help of customized Lego designs?
The project aimed at connecting the wooden toy tracks with Duplo brick. Hence, allowing users to do wonderful things at home. Change the tracks and make it look different for your kids, by just introducing the Lego parts.
How about building a completely fully functional project? This is possible with Lego and the gears. While few projects can eat up a few gears and others would require you to print different sizes gears and in large quantities. Thingiverse has that option for you.
By joining the different sets of body parts together, you can create a diverse set of characters. Hence, retaining the basic meaning or Legos.
The design is available on MyMiniFactory. And, if you are interested, you can right away visit the link and download the STL file for making room for some exciting 3D printing project.
Why would you 3D Print Lego?
If you can go ahead and buy a complete set of Legos all by yourself, why to even bother about creating these by yourselves?
Go Creative: What 3D printing is known for? Of course, freedom. The technology has brought itself the long trail of creativity that is difficult to surpass by any other technology. You can design your own creations using 3D printing. You can create pieces that never existed before. Something that could actually make you famous in a day. Even not, it would be fun to turn your imagination into real objects.
Print Missing Lego Parts: Are you in between your build and realize that you may fall short of a few Lego bricks at the end. Don’t let the dilemma get the best of you. Think harder. If you have a 3D printer sitting next to you, why not use it. Easily find the online STL files and download the file to print yourself a replacement brick.
Bring Your Childhood Days Alive: There are times when we try to search for those old school Lego sets that happened to exist when we were a little child. Sometimes, it’s harder to get rid of the annoying feeling of separation. But with 3D printing, it is simple to build. And, if you already have a few pieces left from your vintage collection, you can complete the entire set with 3D printers. Unbelievable, isn’t it? You can check the dimensions and if you are good at printing models, it won’t be that difficult for you.
3D Print Adapters: Lego does make a world in itself. However, introducing new meaning to the fun is much more exciting than we can realize. The example is cited right above. A Duplo adapter that can make tracks more fun when upgraded with Lego hacks. The same can be done with other games. You can make things compatible using Lego blocks. And, it’s very amazing to watch its succeeding.
Ready Whenever you Are: Online deliveries take time. And, patience often leads to frustration when seeking something faster. Using 3D printing, you can create your missed parts in hours. Or, even the entire set would not take much longer. So, why not just feed the file to the printer and wait for it to get you the parts in a matter of time rather than waiting for a delivery boy for days or even weeks.
It’s Actually Cheaper: Definitely, it’s after subtracting the printer cost. This is because the operational cost along with the material isn’t very high. Especially when you are working with an FDM 3D printer. PLA is the cheapest material, can certainly work for Lego designs. Because each Lego brick would cost not more than a few cents, printing replacement parts are much cheaper than ordering the complete set for just a few missing pieces.
Which 3D Printer to Use for Creating Legos?
Whosoever you ask, you need nothing more than an FDM printer to get the job done. The machine with a standard 0.4 mm nozzle would nail the task.
If you have an expensive 3D printer, certainly achieving the required tolerance would be much easier, that does not mean the budget ones won’t be able to get you the results. With FDM printers, you get to choose between a variety of colors and materials.
However, on the contrary, for very small pieces, you may feel the printer falling short of results. In that case, you may like to use the SLA 3D printer for precision. But remember, you will have to trade-off cost, variety of color, and material options when wanting high resolution and unmatched precision.
What we recommend is to use the FDM printers for the job. These are sufficient enough to process the prints with desirable accuracy. And, these are cheaper options as well.
What Material to Use?
There are a few materials that could hold your project high.
Let’s start with ABS. This is the closest match to the material used for real Lego bricks. The real Lego parts are created using injection-molded ABS.
Hence, FDM ABS is the best material for printing these pieces. When using ABS, you can achieve the similar toughness and resilience found in the store collected Lego parts.
This is the cheapest one you can choose. And, it is also bio-degradable. Being the most popular filament in 3D printing, it is impossible to ignore the fact that these can also print Lego parts.
However, these won’t be as tough as ABS printed pieces. The Lego parts will have low tensile strength. And, if you accidentally step on these pieces, they would snap.
This is an intermediate option. It’s easier to print with PETG than ABS and higher in strength than PLA. However, these won’t look anything similar to the ABS printed parts.
And, you would come to know about the difference right after you try to connect the ABS printed parts with PETG ones.
Limitations of 3D Printed Legos
While 3D printing is a huge success, there are certain limitations that still hold the technology to seep into the mainstream of Lego creation.
Needs Time for Accurate Results: If you have worked with 3D printers, you must know that the settings are not standard and may vary depending on the make of your 3D printer. Hence, you do need to experiment a lot with your machine when printing Lego parts as these must fit into each other. With trial and error, you could discover the best settings for your slicer when printing Lego bricks. This needs patience and effort.
Lacking the Exact Glass Like Finish: We do not want to disappoint you; the printed Lego parts aren’t as attractive as the ones available in the market. The glass-like surface finish won’t be available with these 3D printed Lego pieces. It hardly matters though, if you believe more in experience and fun.
Apart from these limitations, one must not get the strength available with store Legos when printing with PLA. Also, if you plan to use ABS, printing would be tricky.
As ABS is prone to changing shape exposed to fluctuating temperature, you must use an enclosed 3D printer to work for these designs.
A consistent temperature is a must pre-requisite when working with ABS. Or else, even slightest of change in the shape would make the parts unfit for each other.
It’s really exciting to know that you can control your recreational activities just by using your very own 3D printer. And, Lego blocks are everyone’s favorite. So, why not try to 3D print Lego figures if you have a machine at home. It sure would be refreshing and fun.