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Ultratechnical Lego

Lego has some good technical parts, but it could go a lot further.
  [vote for,

Lego has some cool gears and other mechanical parts, and it makes a fantastic mechanical experimenter's kit. However, in the past few years, they have been moving away from mechanical parts and into pre-molded decorative assemblies that are more kid-pleasing. I propose that they bring back their best mechanical parts, and create a bunch of new parts, such as:

Pawls Larger gears, and gear sectors Big turntable components Bearings Very large, strong beams. Simple optical elements Longer axles of stiffer material Linear motion components Planetary gearsets Etc.

And put this stuff in a new line of ultra-technic Lego, for mechanically inclined hobbyists. Sets could be priced higher (even though the regular sets are already so expensive) since they would have more limited appeal, but I think they should be able to sell them for a reasonable price. I know a that a creative person can come up with a clever solution to a mechanical problem with a limited collection of parts, and that is a big part of the fun of Lego. But if we had bigger, stronger parts, and a bigger variety of parts, we could tackle more interesting problems, and advanced builders would be less limited in how far they could go with an idea. Since Lego seems to be heading in the opposite direction, I’ve been wondering what it would take to make up a set of Lego compatible parts by a third party. I’ve looked up suppliers of plastic mechanical parts, but they seem like mostly overkill for toy-grade items, and they cost too much. There are zillions of inexpensive parts for hobby model makers, so a Lego-compatible set of parts shouldn’t be too hard to make for someone who has the right connections. If you know about producing runs of toy and hobby parts, or have good links, please post them.

Krate, Jun 25 2002

HiTechnic http://www.hitechnicstuff.com/
Custom Lego Technic compatible stuff; mostly electronic [JKew, Oct 04 2004]

Demag Crane Lego Model http://telepresence...ego/demag_crane.htm
Used to stunning effect here -- also describes some prototypical mechanical parts [JKew, Oct 04 2004]

BlocTronics modular electronics education kit
http://www.lifeaftercoffee.com/2006/05/24/bloc-tronic-electronics-toy/ [BunsenHoneydew, May 27 2006]


       There are products in this space, e.g. Meccano Erector sets. Why force Lego to do something that others already do better?
jutta, Jun 25 2002

       There are a few Lego compatible companies out there already, but few that I've seen that have technic sets, which I loved, even way back when they were called 'Expert Builder' sets. Problem is the patent rights on the type of connection. The Lego company is quite the fiend in protecting their pieces. I'd kill for a good set of planetary gears.
RayfordSteele, Jun 25 2002

       I'd like to see (and I thought this was what the idea was going to be when I clicked) electronics and electrical components, logic, etc built into the LEGO form factor. Kind of like the Mindstorms stuff, but modularised. RAM, CPUS, I/O, ADA, and discrete analog components, simple logic ICs etc, all separate, all capable of interfacing with existing LEGO systems.
BunsenHoneydew, Jan 13 2003

       //patent rights on the type of connection//
Legos were introduced over half a century ago, surely the basic patents have expired by now?
krelnik, Jan 13 2003

       It would explain the sudden appearance of various cheap knockoffs...my personal favourite being the one that was _exactly_ the same, only the box had another logo pasted over the Lego one...I love cheap knockoffs...
inc_b, Oct 21 2003

       The scene in the first Superman movie comes to mind... I see some kid building a rocket out of Legos and manning a whole expedition to Mars or something, spacesuits and all.   

       Actually, what I see is a hungry high school student who came across his old Lego set some idle Tuesday setting up a conveyor belt from the fridge to his room, robotic arm, camera, the whole package.   

       Definately a good idea.
bluefood2010, Sep 26 2008

       A high school student in Hungary?
mecotterill, Sep 27 2008

       [+] I'd like to point out that you can now get lots of LEGO compatible parts through Shapeways.
goldbb, Apr 23 2015

       One limitation with Lego is that it doesn't hold together very strongly.   

       This could be got around, in "technical Lego" by having screws that hold one block on top of the other.   

       Imagine for a moment that all bricks have holes, maybe 3mm in diameter, between the studs on the top surface. This hole aligns with the plastic "tube" that already exists on the underside of the brick.   

       Now suppose you want to build a stack of three bricks. Take the first brick, and push a small threaded nut into the tube from the underside.   

       Place the next brick on top, then use one of the special screws to go through the top brick, through the bottom brick, and into the threaded nut.   

       Now, the head of each screw has a threaded recess in its centre. So, the third brick goes on top of the second brick, and another screw goes through the top brick and into the threaded recess on the top of the previous screw. In other words, the screws are stackable, and therefore allow you to lock together any number of bricks.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 24 2015

       I really like Technic Lego. Never had enough parts though. I agree with [goldbb], 3D printing has thrown the sets into the fire of limitless imagination. Any really needed parts will eventually be crowd sourced.
wjt, Apr 25 2015

       As soon as you get an appropriate 3D printer, which can manipulate a thermoplastic that ends up being hard as Lego plastic, you can design and make all the parts you want.
Vernon, Apr 25 2015


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