Have you ever wanted to use a 3D printer, but don't know where to start?
This tutorial goes over from start to finish how to model and 3D print a Lego for beginners!
- Access to SolidWorks
- A Tazbot 3D Printer
- ABS Plastic
Step 1: Let's Get Started!
To begin 3-D modeling a Lego brick, you must open SolidWorks.
Click file > new > part
Step 2: Select the Top Plane and Start Sketching
Once your part is opened, you must begin on the top plane. We use the top plane because we want to create the Lego brick as if you are looking down on it on a surface.
After the top plane is selected, you must begin with drawing the base of the Lego brick. To do so, you begin a sketch and click the center rectangle option located in the top left corner.
Step 3: Define Your Sketch
After you have drawn a rectangle, you must use the smart dimension tool to dimension the rectangle to 16 mm x 16 mm, also located to left of the rectangle sketch tool in the top left corner. After it is dimensioned, it is important that the sketch is black, indicating that it is fully defined. In SolidWorks, you can run into a lot of issues later in the modeling process if your sketches are not fully defined.
Step 4: Extrude the Sketch
Once your rectangle sketch is fully defined, select features in the toolbar located just under the top of the screen. Next, click the Extruded Boss/Base option in the features toolbar. After doing so, you will need to select the rectangle sketch to get this view above. When extruding a sketch, it is important the extrude is going the right way. Once the direction is established, you can dimension the rectangle to 10 mm and click the green check.
Step 5: Starting the Circles
Once the extrude is complete, you are going to select the whole top side of the Lego brick select sketch. Then find the boss-extrude label in the menu tree on the left, right click on this and select "normal to." Then you are going to select the circle sketch tool.
Step 6: Sketch the One Circle
When sketching the circle, don't worry about being specific because we're going to be using the smart dimension tool to fix everything anyways.
As you can see here, the circle is dimensioned with a 4 mm diameter and 4 mm to each side of the Lego brick to create symmetry.
Step 7: Use the Mirroring Tool to Create the Other Circles
Next, we are going to use the mirror entities sketch tool. To complete this, you must begin by creating two center lines that will be used as the mirror line. The center line is created by selecting the line tool drop down menu and clicking center line. Place the two center lines about the red origin going vertical and horizontal as shown in the photo above. You can also start the center lines from the midpoints on the box, simply hover over the middle of the line and the midpoint will appear for you to click on. Once the center lines are created, click the mirror entities tool. This will bring up a box (Entities to mirror) where you must select the already dimensioned circle in the top left as the mirroring item. Then there is another box that states where you are going to mirror the object (Mirror About). This is where the center lines come in handy. Select the vertical center line first to mirror the first circle to the right, then follow the same steps to mirror the other two.
Step 8: Extrude Circles
Next, we must create the top side of the Lego brick that allows it to be stackable. We will highlight the circles we just created with the mirroring tool and extrude them up, similarly too the first extrude done in the beginning. These circles will be extruded up 2mm in size.
Step 9: Hollow Out the Brick
Next is the shell of the underside of the brick. To do this, you must highlight the underside of the Lego brick. Click the shell option located in the middle of the feature tool bar next to the linear pattern. In the blue box, make sure the bottom of the brick is selected. Then dimension it to 1 mm in size.
Step 10: Create the Additional Stacking Piece
Last, is the bottom piece of the Lego brick that allows it to be stackable. Once again, highlight the bottom of the inside roof of the brick and select the circle drawing tool. Create the circle in relation to the red origin. This circle will be dimensioned to 5.40 mm in diameter.
Step 11: Use Offset Entities
Once that the circle is made, select the offset entities option in the sketch toolbar. This allows us to create a circle that is offset in any distance we would like in relation to the one we are offsetting. For this option it is important that you reverse the direction so that the circle is offset 1 mm outwards of the first circle.
Step 12: Extrude the Sketch
Once the offset is done, you will extrude the inner side of the two circles to get this final piece.
Step 13: Save Your Work!
If you followed the steps and fully defined all your sketches, this should be your finished product. In order to 3D print this item, you have to save the part as a STL file. To do so, when saving the file, select the drop down menu where you can select different options of saving and save it as .stl.
Step 14: Now Onto 3D Printing!
-For this section we will be using the Tazbot 3D Printer.
Click on the “Cura Control Panel” on the upper left corner. You will then need to enter 240°C for the nozzle temp and 110°C for the bed temp. While the nozzle and bed are heating up you will need to make sure the other settings are correct and upload your file.
Step 15: Setting Things Up
For this tutorial we will use ABS Plastic, that’s why we used the settings we did above.
Look for a menu on the left side. You will select “Intermediate” for the “Material ease of use”. Next set the “Material” to “ABS (Village Plastics)". You will also set the quick print profile to “Standard”.
Step 16: Uploading Your File
Now comes the time to insert the file. Click on the box on the upper left hand corner that says “Load Model”. You will then click on your model you just created.
Step 17: Positioning Your Model
Once your model is uploaded place the object where you want it to be on the printing bed using the three commands down at the bottom (Rotate, Scale, and Mirror)
When doing this you will need to place your object so the most surface area is on the printing bed. If need be you can check the box that says “Supports” and “Brim” on the left hand side. Brim prints your object on a wide base so that it does not fall over when printing. Supports print exactly that, supports, on areas with gaps in them to ensure nothing shifts when printing. All of these can be easily removed from your final product.
Step 18: Select Print!
Once everything is complete go ahead and click “Print”.
Step 19: Keep an Eye on Your Work!
Be sure to keep an eye on your object while printing to ensure if something goes wrong you can stop the print and fix the error. Once the object is done printing let everything cool down before you pick it up. Doing so when it is not cool can damage the printing bed.
This is how to make a Lego from start to finish, I hope you had fun working with us! This tutorial follows standard 19, benchmark B.
Special Thanks to NCSU TDE for providing pictures and information!