Rhythm & Binary

Lego Engineering

Over Christmas one of my favorite gifts was a set of Star Wars themed legos that my wife gave me. I really enjoyed putting them together, and it’s amazing how advanced Legos have become.

Some of my favorite memories growing up were building lego sets, and having adventures with different characters and things I’d create. As an adult, building legos is a new experience because I started to think about how they were built and what goes into creating them. This lead to me googling and finding out some really cool stuff. I just wanted to post some info (and show off some cool lego sets in the process).

So if you google Legos and how they’re built there are several different articles that cover the basics. Some background facts that I found and thought were cool are:

  • They are based in Denmark (Danish)
  • They use computers to make some of the instructions, but still rely on working with the bricks by hand for designs.
  • The sets that we see on the market are tested by kids and other groups for experience.
  • They try to optimize both economy (cost) and experience (is it fun or frustrating to build)

I also thought the process to create new Lego sets was pretty cool. Based on the articles I was reading (links below) they basically do the following:

  1. First try to build the new model with existing bricks from sets that Lego has already created. This is to save costs, since it costs more to design and manufacture completely new pieces then use pieces Lego already is manufacturing with other sets.
  2. Next if bricks do need to be created, the designers go through a process of designing and manufacturing
  3. Designers review the build process and model with groups making adjustments based on feedback they receive
  4. Repeat until model is good, then use 3D modeling software to generate the instructions
  5. Test the instructions with control groups, and make adjustments to make (1) save costs and (2) make the experience more fun

I remember when I played with these sets as a kid I never thought about these things. Now as an adult I realize how much work goes into these sets. I also thought it was cool that people are still involved. On some level I’m sure there is some machine learning algorithm that could potentially do a lot of this work, but it takes kids (both old and young) to make it awesome.

Here are some cool sites that I read:

Closing out this post, here’s pictures of my cool skills (joking):

Tie Fighter

Sand Speeder

Land Cruiser

The Land Cruiser also has an engine