Lego is looking into the possibility of using 3D printing to add extra services and value to Lego fans. Mads Nipper, Lego’s Marketing Manager said, “It could well be that it might be an exciting opportunity to print your own bricks.”
Lego doesn’t have intentions of using 3D printing for their mass-produced blocks. The strength of 3D printing is in building customized parts, small lots, or objects that cannot be created using traditional subtractive methods. Lego makes over 2,000 bricks per second, or approximately 55 billion bricks per year, so 3D printing is not a viable option.
A Lego spokesman said, “Currently we do not see 3D printing as a viable replacement for the molded LEGO elements of today due to the fact that we have very strict demands for the quality, durability and safety of our products, and 3D printing does not currently live up to these requirements. In addition there is a high production cost involved, which currently does not make it commercially viable for us – except for prototyping purposes. In 2012 alone we molded more than 45 billion LEGO elements.”
But for Lego lovers, 3D printing customized parts to fit their needs may be just the thing. John Goodwin, Lego’s Chief Financial Officer, said, "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.
3D printing Lego bricks would be perfect, especially if you’re missing bricks, need a special shape, or would like to customize your own Lego character.
Until then, try building with digital Legos using Build with Chrome.