3D Printing Giant LEGO-Like Blocks To Build Big Toys

[Ivan Miranda] is all about big 3D prints. He’s now set about printing giant blocks in the vein of LEGO Technic to build himself a full-sized rideable go kart. The project is still in progress, but [Ivan] has made great progress with his design.

The benefit of 3D printing giant blocks like this is that they open up the possibilities for rapid prototyping of big projects. It’s already easy to snap together a little LEGO tank, boat, or car at the small scale. Bigger blocks would make that possible for larger builds, too. Plus, once you’ve got plenty of blocks, there’s no need to wait for the 3D printer to churn out parts. You can just play with your toolbox of existing components.

[Ivan]’s design has faced some teething problems along the way. He struggled to solve various coupling problems for joining the blocks in various orientations, and made iterative changes to solve the issue. Eventually, he realized if he just eliminated an offset between the top and side holes of his beam design, everything would neatly work out. Plus, he learned that he could print a tiny scale version of his big blocks in order to test out designs without using as much plastic.

We love the idea of having a garage full of adult-sized LEGO-style blocks for big projects. The only caveat is that you really need a giant printer like [Ivan’s] to make them.

21 thoughts on “3D Printing Giant LEGO-Like Blocks To Build Big Toys

    1. The whole car looks like maybe 20 spools worth of printed parts, i.e. 20 kg.
      Per person plastic waste is 100-200 kg/year in many countries, so in comparison it’s not so epic.
      But yeah, best of course to recycle when you can.

        1. Oh, wow. I had been following Ivan and his big printer and this project for a while now. But, his build looks pretty dam close to Manthis Hacks build. I’d say it was almost exactly the same.

    2. IMO mega prints like this are the perfect place to use PET bottle based filament. You’re using plastic that otherwise *may* be recycled in the US, but is probably just landfilled since there’s no money in it.

  1. The amount of plastic wasted by this guy always makes me feel sick. I hope he’s recycling it in some way.
    Also, it seems he’s showing that 3d printing is the solution to any necessity while many things he builds can be easily achieved with different processes and materials

    1. Im pretty sure he recycles his plastics. He builds his own printers and its fairly easy to build your own extrusion system to recycle. The biggest issue though is the size of these parts and grinding them up. Parts this size would need an industrial size grinder.

  2. Legos were after my time, but I did grow up with an erector set and Lincoln logs.

    As an adult, I’ve realized that you can use handrail fittings and galvanized pipe, I’ve now got a box of various handrail fittings and a set of pipes in the basement – an adult version of the erector set for quick proof-of-concept.

    I’ve also got a selection of threaded 2″ pipe and fittings – a big box of elbows, tees, and so on. I once made a pommel horse completely out of these things. Home Depot will cut pipes to length and thread them for you at the time of purchase. I disassembled that and used the pieces to make a bespoke stock shelf to hold some of my bigger wood/metal pieces.

    I’ve since learned how to weld and how to cut and screw wood together, and have made many theatrical props in my time, some of which are architectural and allow actors to climb and walk on (and sometimes crawl through). Wood is readily available, and cutting it to size is easy.

    Making adult-sized legos seems like an incredible time sink, there are readily available adult construction sets that you can just go out and purchase pieces for.

    Time is more valuable than the cost of materials.

    1. Also note that asking home depot to cut a full length of 1/4 inch ID 20 foot pipe stock into 6 inch pieces and only threading one end of each is a good way to get the stink eye (stated as free pipe cutting service).

      To qualify for a gun buyback you must also construct/print a trigger mechanism.
      They’ve also taken to limiting the number of guns bought back per person and sometimes asking for proof of county residency.

      It’s not really worth the money, but the social good done by draining these programs of funds makes it a ‘moral imperative’. Get the kids involved! They’ll appreciate a few $100.

  3. Lego used to make “Quattro” – 4x the size of Lego, and compatible with Duplo, which is compatible with Lego. It’s great fun, pretty strong, and allows even kids to quickly build themselves chairs.

  4. I just don’t see simple elements like beams as a good use of 3d printing. Not a good use of time, energy, or filament.

    There are plenty of raw materials that come in shapes like that. A wooden plank, aluminum extrusion, CF tube, etc…

    The beauty of 3d printing really comes into play when joining those raw components in unique positions.

    Imagine making this cart out of say tubular steel, and just printing the corners/joints. It’d be lighter, stronger, and cheaper.

    1. I don’t know, you can stick together giant lego just to see if the idea works, if not take it apart, if it does glue it together, sounds good to me. Why can’t adults play with giant lego?

      1. Engineers think about material and process before starting a project.

        How long do you think that beam he’s holding took to print?
        The table full of parts?

        Is printed plastic a good material choice for a go cart? (or is he producing a youtube video and associated money?).

        Dude desperately needs to learn to weld.

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