Parametrized Lego Bricks

by wizard23, published

Parametrized Lego Bricks by wizard23 May 11, 2009

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While talking to Zach I got inspired to model lego bricks in order to create custom bricks - the ones you always wanted but thought you never could get. Well now you can!

Of course it does not snap in place as nicely as original lego bricks but it should be good enough to create the custom lego piece you always wanted.


Because the Makerbot we are printing on is so incredible fast that the knobs used to stay molten so I also included a version that has hollow knobs.

To generate other sizes our under development and undocumented MetaCADEvaluator plugin is needed. This is part of the development version of CSGEvaluator for Art of Illusion: http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/Builders/Metalab/AoI_CSG_Evaluator

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Printed the 2x2 with PLA. Didn't work out, doesn't join at all.
What settings are recommended?

Printed in PLA and found that the bottom fit well, but the knobs on top were slightly too small. (Probably just a setting of mine that could be adjusted.) I imported into Tinkercad and added 5x5 mm cylinders on the existing knobs, and now they fit well.

The bumps are too small.

Your printer nozzle diameter must be really big! What is it? Mine is 0.4mm but at about 200 temp. it extracts to 0.6

Most printers come with a 0.4mm nozzle but many users switch them out for 0.6mm or 0.8mm nozzles. Especially if they're dealing with metal or wood infused filaments as 0.4mm and smaller nozzles will jam easier.

They work perfectly. Printed in ABS on Cubicon Style. I've tried to print Lego before with no success. Will try and print on PLA but cant see a problem. Thanks very much.


I thought we weren't allowed to print guns, let alone landmines...

Loose fitting... Someone needs to improve this.
Other than that, a great test print!

do you print it with or without support? do you have to use abs with water soluble plastic and dual extrusion? or just regular abs single extruder? does it fit together with regular legos or does it only fit together with makerbotted legos? do you print them upside down, rightside up, or sideways? thanks.

I never used support, when printed like in the stl (nobs on the top) it works without support because with ABS you can bridge. It should fit together with normal lego (thats the idea!)

ABS Plastic... It's the same stuff Lego bricks are made of!

Hi - you could always make one, and then make a silicone mold from it and replicate more with a different material. Check out the Compleat Sculptor because they have a lot of different mold and casting supplies that you can get.

i sound like a geek but my sisters bf works some ware and the got a 3d printer doo eny of u know were the files r for a halo pelican

Wow ! Looking as bad as Megablocks Bricks !!!! :)

one of the first things I've tried to print recently, as you can see on my picture, I need to reconfigure my printer somehow.. :)

I wonder if it'd be possible to make some sort of open-source Mindstorm using printed Lego-compatible parts and, say, Arduinos.

You could certainly make an Arduino-based equivalent of Mindstorms, (There is already a Lego-compatible holder for an Arduino module on Thingiverse.)
For the power/signal connectors, you could make Lego-compatible blocks that hold a standard small plug (maybe IDC or 2.5mm jack), or just use standard connectors without blocks.

Ideally, you would want adpaters from these to Lego-compatible connectors. That would require 3D printing metal parts, but since the parts are small, you could use a commercial 3D printing service just for those parts. Or you just buy Lego extension cables, cut each in two and wire your plugs onto each half.
You would need motor driver circuits connected to the Arduino. You could make a Lego-compatible holder for that circuit too, and support a variable number of them connected to the main Arduino Lego-compatible block. (You could easily support more than 3, even with an Arduino Uno).
You could then package various sensors (touch, thermistor, LDR, etc.) and outputs (LEDs, motors, etc.) in Lego-compatible blocks with your chosen electrical/electronic connector.
If the signals from sensors were simple analogue (or digital) signals (the sensor output just changes the resistance), they would be much simpler than EV3 ones (my impression is that they include a microcontroller and are connected by a serial interface).

Then for programming, you could provide an Arduino library, and an optional simplified environment (maybe similar to Scratch).

There might still be Lego patents on Lego Technic pieces (the patent on the basic pieces is expired) that might prevent you from making Technic-compatible pieces.

these custom lego blocks, and NXT could be very synergistic. the basic blocks you've got are nice, but they could be far bigger, more complex and do amazing things to integrate legos to higher functionality.. lego robots now can easily solve the rubiks cube.. extending them with these concept would be really creative for the thousands of lego robotics builders out there..
thanks and i hope people spread the word..

When I close my eyes I have fantasies of building a RepRap/Makerbot body from printable parts like these.

With the limited build size of both Makerbot and RepRap, Modular building is a reality that we'll have to face.

These are super neat, I loved legos as a kid. I can see using these to provide custom shapes as well as adapters between lego and other building kits or materials. Lego to Lincoln Logs, Lego to fabric!

Re: the loose fit. Maybe a different design would work better with printed blocks, something that's more forgiving of the print resolution and tolerances.

Anyway, good work!

This is really cool, making things that you can make other things is always cool.