In limited dates throughout November and also on December 4, the LEGO House, the ‘home of the brick’ in Billund, Denmark, offered visitors the opportunity to buy a 3D printed LEGO minifigure-sized duck.
The duck is the first stand-alone 3D printed element to be released by the LEGO Group. Previously, a 3D printed element had been included in a special edition set given to participants in the 2019 LEGO Inside Tour. 3D printing had traditionally been used solely for prototyping at the company until that point.
Prior to the launch, Ronen Hadar, Head of the LEGO Group’s Additive Design and Manufacturing team, said: “We are excited by the possibilities of additive manufacturing and can’t wait to hear from our fans. We will use their feedback to help shape future innovation as we continue to test the limits of 3D printing technology.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard to make sure our 3D printed elements meet our very strict quality, safety and durability requirements. And as for this duck, it’s gone through extra quality checks to ensure its beak opens smoothly and closes!”
Additive manufacturing systems are used alongside traditional injection moulding technology in LEGO factories. Injection moulding gives the ability to make bricks at high speed, but 3D printing offers more flexibility in terms of product innovation, according to the company.
LEGO says that, in the future, 3D printing will be used to make a greater variety of elements in smaller volumes. Both 3D printed and injection moulded parts are all subjected to the same quality and safety checks in the factories.
The LEGO House is a 12,000 square metre building filled with 25 million LEGO bricks and is located nearby to Legoland as well as the LEGO Group official headquarters.
Each visitor who purchased one of the products was asked to complete an online survey so that the LEGO Group could collect feedback on the element.