LEGO leaps into the Future with Branded 3D Printing Technology

A few years ago LEGO was worried about look alike competitors and their impact on business. Today on the eve of their centenary, they have once again taken the world by storm with LEGO branded 3D printers and filament recyclers.

Now children (and not so young children) can enjoy printing their own blocks from LEGO designs and when they are bored with them, or they fade or get broken, they put them in the filament recycler and create new ones again. The zero waste concept has earned LEGO global recognition for helping to reduce mountains of plastic waste.

Setting up the LEGO 3D Printing Education Trust through the LEGO Foundation, LEGO has so far donated 3D printers to over 1,000 schools in 23 countries, to both high and low deciles, together with training courses on Computer Aided Design, 3D printing and modeling, and new venture business training.

They have set up a global cloud based design business where designers can earn royalties whenever people purchase their LEGO 3D designs.

Next year the most successful designers will travel with their parents, courtesy of LEGO, to their HQ in Billund, Denmark, for the inaugural LEGO 3D Printing design competition, where they will celebrate the most successful designs by age group. The top student designers will also be offered university scholarships to continue their education in related fields such as CAD, programming, 3D printing, chemistry, engineering and design.

Innovation head of LEGO, Magnus Blokker said that the company had recognised that despite the almost 100 year success of the company, which was founded in 1932, it was time for the company to reinvent itself and what better way to do it than engage their own fans and customers in the design and marketing of the product.

Board Manager Bau Isovernow said that the company is very excited to be reinvigorating the company and supporting the zero waste movement. The next step is going to be the development of their own whey based, biodegradable filament, so that any ‘blocks’ that are not recycled can simply be composted as they come from cow based milk waste. In fact they are good for the soil rather than a contributor to pollution.

 

 

 

Lego’s Strike at Plastic Pollution with 3D Printers Increases Share Prices

legoLego’s shift a few years ago to selling 3D printers and blueprints for their blocks has seen their share value grow dramatically despite the naysayers who said they were committing commercial suicide.

Instead of selling blocks, they now sell 3D printers with biodegradable PLA filament and downloadable blueprints for an ever growing variety of blocks and other shapes.

Lego biodegradable PLA filament comes in a variety of colors and whilst they don’t have the strength (and plastic pollution potential) of the old blocks that last for decades and end up as landfill, you can also buy an extruder which grinds up the plastic and allows you to rebuild new pieces from the same material.

This innovation won them the 2025 Frost & Sullivan Green Manufacturing Excellence Awards and has resulted in an explosion of new designs of Lego Toys. Lego gained a strong resurgence since the Lego movie came out in 2014, but were concerned about being good corporate citizens and this initiative has ensured that they stay highly profitable despite the fact that they are no longer manufacturing their own blocks and toys.

When challenged about job losses, Lego VP of Manufacturing Morty Fied said that they are actually employing more people than before, because the block manufacture and packaging had been largely automated in factories and now they are employing many CAD toy design specialists and supporting horticulture where the raw materials are grown and extruded into biodegradable filament. He challenged other toy makers and manufacturers of plastic products to follow suit and help reduce the impact of plastic products to the environment.

FilabotMeanwhile in several countries such as India and many in Africa some forms of plastic waste are compatible for plastic extrusion with devices like the Filabot, another recent high flyer.  This has resulted in people scrambling to recover waste plastics from landfill where they would have been an eyesore and dangerous pollutant for decades. Today’s rubbish is producing tomorrow’s prized toys and other products including tools and musical instruments.

3D printed sitar

3D printed Sitar

3d printed guitar

3D printed guitar