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Alright, before I get started describing this Instructable, this is a continuation of a previous instructable that I posted a year or so ago about 3d printing lego figures and finishing PLA prints.

You can find that previous Instructable here: https://www.instructables.com/id/3d-printed-Lego-Gu...

One of my challenges with this project is to see how detailed I can get using the AutoCAD 3d modeling tool set. Why am I using AutoCAD? I am using AutoCAD because in my classroom its the only 3d modeling software that we have access to, plus its software that can be easily downloaded at home by my students.

An important point is that I am printing all of my parts for this project on a Makerbot Replicator 2 3d printer.

I decided to continue my exploration into designing and 3d printing my own lego figures because I really wasn't satisfied with my final product during the first generation of these figures. However, the real reason I devoted so much time into designing new figures was because I am an idiot and accidentally deleted my .stl files and cad files for the Lego figures I originally created. I now feel this was a blessing because I decided with this second generation of figures to really sit down, dismantle a lego figure to examine how they are assembled, and take some accurate measurements to get more accurate results.

I think that most would agree that the second generation look more accurate compared to the 1st generation (Things should work this way).

I have also been able to create some accessories for the base lego figures that can be used to create a more customized feel to the printed models.

**Important!** - One of the ways I am able to get such a smooth print, is that I am printing a majority of my parts with 3 shell layers and no smaller than 2. This allows me to have more PLA to sand before hitting the infill layers. I am also printing these parts at 400% their original size. This prints a bigger piece which makes it easier to sand.

Included in this Instructable...

  1. A basic description of what steps I took to finish the PLA to look more like smooth plastic.
  2. Materials used to create the faces for each lego figure.
  3. Types of Spray Paints and Fillers that will used during the painting process.
  4. A zip file of all of the .stl files that I created for the figures.

And as always, please, please, please give me advise on how I can improve this project. I am by no means an expert and I have only gotten better by being challenged by others. Please keep any comments constructive however.

Step 1: What's in the Ultimate Lego Man .zip File?

In this section I wanted to itemize all of the stl model files you will find in the zip file I have included on this page. Along with each model file I will identify the printing setting I used to print each part and why I used more or less shells or infill.

  • Accessories
    • Backpack
    • Beard
    • Bow
    • Cricket Bat
    • Hats
      • Aussie Outback Hat
      • Baseball Cap
      • Olney Cap
    • Hood
    • Trench Coat
  • Arm Types
    • Long Sleeve Arms (Standard Lego Arms)
    • Short Sleeve Arms
    • Short Sleeve Arms over Long Sleeves
    • Sweatshirt Arms
    • Trench Coat Arms
  • Body Types
    • Plain Body (Standard Lego Body)
    • Sweatshirt Body (Has front hoodie Pockets)
  • Face Files (Assortment of images files I have used for creating faces.
  • Hands
  • Head
  • Hips (Legs snap onto this part to form lower half of Lego person.)
  • Legs

Step 2: Backpack

Here is the backpack accessory I created for my lego figures, primarily as an accessory to my zombie slaying figure. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: Yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2 (might be able to get away with 3)

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 3: Lego Beard

Alright, I got this idea from my daughter getting a Lego Advent Calendar this past year. In the Calendar there was a Santa Clause Lego guy who had a 3 dimensional beard which slide over the neck in between the head and the body. This gave me an idea for beards in my designs. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2 (might be able to get away with 3

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 4: Bow

This is another accessory that I made for my Zombie Slaying Lego Guy. Always a favorite weapon of mine for hunting zombies. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: Yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2 (might be able to get away with 3)

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 5: Cricket Bat

Ok, one of my favorite movies is Shaun of the Dead. If you haven't seen it, see it. All I gotta say is....you've got red on you. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: none

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2 (might be able to get away with 3)

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 6: Hats, Hats, and More Hats

I was really challenged by a friend of mine to develop the Aussie Outback Hat and I am really proud of how it came out. All of the hats I have created really challenged me to use AutoCAD's modeling tools to the limits to get a realistic effect and I feel I achieved it. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Aussie Hat

Print Settings
Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2 (might be able to get away with 3)

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Ball Cap

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Olney Cap

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: none

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2 (might be able to get away with 3)

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 7: On the Back Hood

I use this hood model along with the sweat shirt model and sweat shirt arms. It goes over the neck in between the head and the body. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: none

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2 (might be able to get away with 3)

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 8: Trench Coat

Ok, this was crazy fun to model and I am really proud of how it looks when finished. This coat will fit over a standard lego body that you can find in the Ultimate Lego Zip file. You must also use the Trench Coat arms for it to work properly. The Trench Coat arms are a bit longer to compensate for the Trench Coat thickness. The extra length allows the arms to snap into the arm sockets. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: none

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Or

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: none

In Fill: 100% (This will create a solid print that will allow you to sand without breaking through shell layers.)

Shell Layer: 2

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 9: Arms

Ok, this may seem a bit excessive, but I honestly like the versatility that the different arms allow. They each give a little extra detail to the figure. The arm options are:

  • Long Sleeve Arms (Standard Lego Arms)
  • Short Sleeve Arms
  • Short Sleeve Arms over Long Sleeves
  • Sweatshirt Arms
  • Trench Coat Arms

When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Short Sleeve Arms & Short Sleeves over Long Sleeve Arms

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 2

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Trench Coat Arms & Standard Arms

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 3

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 10: Lego Bodies

There are two Lego Bodies in the zip file that you can print depending on the accessories you want to use. The Sweat Shirt Body could be used with the sweat shirt arms and the hood to create the profile of the Lego Guy wearing a hoodie. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: none

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 3

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 11: Hands

Your typical lego hand. Depending on how large you print them will depend on what they can hold. Remember, whatever scale you print the models should be the scale you use on all your printed parts. When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: Yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 3

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 12: Head

This is your typical Lego Head. There are really two different ways to orient this part on the build plate, they both depend upon what part of the head will be more visible. If your putting a hat on your lego figure, I would print the head with the solid nub facing down with the hole for the neck facing up. This will print the more visible part of the head that wont be covered by the hat more smooth. This will ultimately require less sanding. If you are not putting a hat on your lego figure, print the head with the solid nub facing up.

When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 3

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 13: Hips

What are the hips? This is the part of the lego guy that is inserted into the body component of the figure and the legs snap on each side in order to pivot.When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: Yes

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 3

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 14: Legs

The Leg file folder contains two files for legs, a left and a right (duh). When you print the parts, align the parts so they match the corresponding image at the top of the page for the best results I have found.

Print Settings

Temperature: 230 Degrees

Supports: none

In Fill: 10%

Shell Layer: 3

Print Scale: 400%
(You can print these parts at any scale of the original part size, just make sure all parts are printed the same scale.)

Step 15: Faces for Lego Figures

I have included several images files that contain sample Lego faces that can be edited and applied to your figure. It will require some experimenting to get it so stretch properly around the curved surface of the Lego figure. I really had trouble finding materials that would print and stick well to the painted PLA. I initially used photo paper that was then taped to the Lego figure with packing tape, but ultimately I didn't like how that looked. The photo paper never truly stayed on the PLA and eventually started to peel off.

However, I recently found that Avery makes a professional product label that can be purchased at office max and I have included an image of the product at the top of this page. It is called Avery 2282 and can be printed with either laser or inkjet printers (though reviews through amazon and other sites recommend against using any inkjet printer due to smudging.) I have used a high quality laser color printer and have had amazing results.

Now if you are going to print your own faces, I have attached a template I made for this Avery 2282 label sheet because apparently the official template made by Avery doesn't work very well. I have had no issues using my template to print labels.

Step 16: Tools

This project requires a variety of different tools to get the PLA as smooth as possible to emulate the effect of mold injected plastic that Lego uses to create their parts. Some tools like the cordless Dremel are nice to have, but not required to get the smooth effects that you see in my pictures. Most of my sanding is done by hand. I start with low grit sand paper to remove as much of the printing lines as possible and work my way up to high grit sand papers to get a smoother finish. I usually start with a 100 grit, move my way to 150 grit, and then finish up with 300 - 600 grit sandpaper prior to priming.

**Important!** - One of the ways I am able to get such a smooth print, is that I am printing a majority of my parts with 3 shell layers and no smaller than 2. This allows me to have more PLA to sand before hitting the infill layers. I am also printing these parts at 400% their original size. This prints a bigger piece which makes it easier to sand.


Dial Caliper

One of the tools I have pictured at the top is a Dial Caliper. This tool allowed me to get the detailed measurements I needed when modeling the parts to my Lego figures.

Cordless Drill

While not used a whole lot, the corldess drill allow me to widen certain hole, but more importantly I use it as a lathe to smooth the Lego Head piece. Because I need an even smooth surface to not only paint, but apply the face decal, I need to create a lathe using the drill to evenly sand the surface. I created a sort of large emery board with 100 and 150 grit sandpaper on each side. This allowed me to apply even pressure and sand the surface of the Lego head evenly.

Electric Hand Sander

This tool has become extremely handy with smoothing 3d Printed parts. Normally I would not be able to use this tool in smoothing PLA components because of how hard it is to control them on the vibrating surface. Because I am printing at 400% the parts original size, I have found that the sander actually creates a smoother finish then just hand sanding alone.

Sand Paper / Emery Boards / Custom Emery Board

Really when it comes down to it, I just sand the heck out of each piece. I hand sand each part manually. Sometimes I use boards with sandpaper glued to them to have a flat even sanding surface. Emery Boards are great for sanding in tight places where you want control. The key again is to start with a lower grit sandpaper and work to a higher number grit sandpaper.

Cordless Dremel

This is not a required tool, but many of the attachments that come stock with it allow me to get into very tiny places and smooth them out. I personally felt this was invaluable in smoothing out the Lego figures. This is great just to have around the house in any project you are working on.

Needle Nose Pliers / Box Cutter / Craft Knife

The three tools I mentioned above I feel all make it easier to remove supports and other rafting that might still be stuck to printed parts.

Step 17: Priming, Spray Painting, and Finishing

The last step of the finishing process for me is using a combination primer / filler spray paint to further fill in imperfections in the PLA. I found that Rust-oleum makes a great Filler Primer that you can buy at Lowe's, Home Depot or most home improvement stores. It coats great on PLA and sands beautifully to help hide imperfections.

**Important!** - Remember to get the PLA you are spray painting to the desired level of smoothness before you paint it.!

Aside from the Rust-oleum Filler Primer spray paint, I really like the Rustoleum Painter's Touch line of 2x spray paint colors. These spray paints are a paint and primer build into one which coats extremely well without running. There are an assortment of types of paint finishes you can use with these figures. I personally prefer the Satin finish because I feel it best resembles the actual Lego character finishes. I have had good results with Gloss for the Head, hands, or any part of the figure that will be the yellow color.

Some Colors of Note...

I have had trouble nailing down the perfect color for the lego figure heads and hands. It is very hard to match the traditional Lego Yellow. If you look at the images at the top, I have found that starting with a few coats of the Glossy Sun Yellow (made by Rust-oleum) and then doing two final coats of Sunbeam / Safety Yellow (by Krylon) I come very close to an exact match. Preferably I would like to have one spray paint that I use and not mix two different colors, however, I have not been able to find a spray paint in a physical store that I like. You might have to go online to find a better match.

<p>do u have an email or write to b@berthou.dk have some questians </p>
<p>what version of auto cad are you using? any chance to get a copy of the auto cad file to try and make some changes </p>
<p>Are these scale with regular minifigs?</p>
<p>Hola me gustaria contactarme contigo a fin de personalizar un moledo, saludos desde peru </p><p>fhuaylla@hotmail.com </p><p>enviame tu email</p>
<p>ok but any way this is really cool</p>
thanks...it's been fun and challenging considering in class I am restricted to AutoCAD for modeling
<p>I am not entirely sure that this is legal since Lego is copyrighted unless you got permission from them, but other that this is really cool</p>
This is just a personal hobby where I have created my own models. I don't sell or mass produce, I use this process to teach modeling and engineering with my students. The images you see are if figures I have used to experiment modeling techniques.
<p>but I would like to know if you did get a permit, so maybe I could get one.</p>
Looks great, do you offer any printing services? I am interested in printing a custom housing and having it sanded and painted in white
<p>Mythbusters was my first thought as well but then looked at &quot;Jamie's&quot; shirt. He would never have a stain or something on it. </p>
<p>Fantastic!</p>
<p>Fantastic!</p>
<p>wow! when i looked at the pics at the beggining, I thought u were only printing the accessories, and <em>that</em> only because of the name!</p>
<p>wow! when i looked at the pics at the beggining, I thought u were only printing the accessories, and <em>that</em> only because of the name!</p>
<p>Haha makes me wish i had a 3D printer and still was a kid...:)</p><p>thanks for the i'ble!</p>
<p>I honestly though you was 3d printing the Myth Buster people.</p>
it does look that way but no :)
<p>My first thought on seeing this was, &quot;Wow! Lego Mythbusters!&quot; Do they blow stuff up?</p>
WOW! The finished pieces are so clean it's hard to believe you used additive printing. This really does look good. Makes me wish I liked abs better than pla.
That is PLA just sanded really smooth
<p>What 3D printer are you using?</p>
replicator 2
<p>Really cool Lego dudes! I'm just wondering what magic filament U use to print the beard and the backpack without supports..?</p>
wait..you are correct..gotta change that. Thanks

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