“3D printing prototypes is not fast enough,” is not a phrase you hear very often, we’re constantly sold on the speed 3D printing brings to the design process. But these PhD students at Hasso Plattner Institute decided that waiting ten hours for a prototype was to long, so they came up with an ingenious software, which converts 3D models into Lego instructions. It’s called faBrickation.
Though building models in Lego might be counter-intuitive to the point of 3D printing, the idea is grounded in rapid-prototyping reality. The project is from PhD students at the Hasso Plattner Institute and the use of it is best described by themselves:
“When making the body for a head-mounted display, for example, getting the optical path right is paramount. Users thus mark the lens mounts as “high-resolution” to indicate that these should later be 3D printed. faBrickator then 3D prints these parts. It also generates instructions that show users how to create everything else from Lego bricks. If users iterate on the design later, faBrickator offers even greater benefit as it allows re-printing only the elements that changed. We validated our system at the example of three 3D models of functional objects. On average, our system fabricates objects 2.44 times faster than traditional 3D printing while requiring only 14 minutes of manual assembly.”
The theory behind the idea as well as the software is really rather impressive, it can save time, money on materials and help the environment but in reality you’d have to have a system in place to ensure you have the right pieces, which means making sure no kids get their grubby little mitts on the pieces.