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3D Printing Brings “Curved” Legos into Existence

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curvedlegosWhen I was a little girl, I always had the ambition to construct things. I’m not talking about building forts, or helping my father modify his antique cars. I’m talking about playing with construction sets just like my male counterparts did. Legos were my favorite of these toys, and I must have spent hundreds of hours mixing and matching my brother’s old sets, in order to come up with designs of my own. I would build houses, race cars, animals, and more. You name it, I probably spent several hours contemplating how to build it before actually putting these tiny Lego blocks together to fabricate the objects that previously only existed in my head.

That was a good 20-25 years ago, but today I still have the urge to pull out these old Legos, which have remained in the family for over 30 years, and begin constructing something that pops into my head. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to resume the family tradition, as I’ll be the first one to show him the ins and outs of Legos. However, he may have one advantage that I didn’t have; 3D printing!

STL file for Zwaard's Curved Lego Blocks

STL file for Zwaard’s Curved Lego Blocks

We have seen modified Lego-like bricks hit 3D printing repositories such as Thingiverse and Youmagine in the past. However, what one man named Jan Jurjen Zwaard has come up with, may just add a level of excitement to the construction process that we haven’t really seen before.

Zwaard, the founder of Studio Zwaard, started out with a design for curved Lego blocks, which were created by a man named Steve Medwin, but soon found that they weren’t right for him.

“I came up with the idea to print curved Lego blocks from another model on Thingiverse,” Zwaard tells 3DPrint.com. “I downloaded it and printed it, but I could not properly use them because I couldn’t remove the supports properly. Furthermore I missed some sizes and thought that the existing one was too solid. So I decided to recreate one in SolidWorks that would not need any supports and solve my other issues.”

Zwaard's design was based off this one from another designer.

Zwaard’s design was based off this one from Steve Medwin.

As for Zwaard’s initial reason for creating these modified Lego-like blocks, he didn’t just do it for the heck of it. He has a bit of a plan up his sleeve.

“I am planning to build [my] city’s water tower which I live opposite to in Lego (blocks),” he explained.

More of Medwin's original design

More of Medwin’s original design

Zwaard is quite the expert when it comes to 3D CAD. He runs his own company which focuses on SolidWorks. He has been working with SolidWorks since 1998, which is also the year that he created his very first 3D print. Currently he is focused on SolidWorks automation, using tools such as VBA, VB.NET, VSTA, and Tacton.

“I don’t think printing will replace these construction sets, but I’m sure it provides a welcome addition to the existing possibilities of these sets,” Zwaard tells us.

Whether 3D printing replaces traditional construction sets or not, I am certain of one thing. My son will definitely have a lot more options as far as customization goes when he begins playing with Legos in another few years.

What do you think of Zwaard’s designs? Have you tried 3D printing his curved Lego-like bricks? Discuss in the 3D Printed Curved Lego forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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