3D Printed Custom Duplo Blocks

02/05/2014

Carrying on from previous posts and test, I decided to experiment further with 3D printing by creating custom Duplo blocks. Currently my 3 year old son is fanatical about Duplo and Lego, so for his birthday I though it would be nice to make some unique parts for his collection.

I didn’t want to just copy some Duplo parts, that would be pointless as genuine Duplo bricks can be bought for a lot less that it would cost to print, and the quality of Duplo is far superior to 3D printing too. So I decided to make some unique parts, which as far as I know, can’t be purchased anywhere.

After throwing around some ideas, I decided to 3D print 4 items, 2 double sided pieces, one cube, and one birthday cake (well it was my son’s birthday!). I measured several original Duplo pieces to figure out the general dimensions, transferred the measurements to the 3D software, and adapted, build and created the custom blocks in 3D. The 3D files were then sent away again to 3D Print UK to be printed in nylon, and this is what came back in the post a week or two later….

3D Printed Duplo Blocks

3D Printed Duplo Blocks

3D Printed Duplo Blocks

The printed blocks generally fitted very well with the original Duplo blocks, and overall again the print quality was excellent.

With these blocks, I wanted to make them fit further with the original Duplo, so I decided to finish them using either spray paint, or Airfix paint. Bright, saturated colours were chosen to again fit with the Duplo blocks.

3D Printed Duplo Blocks

3D Printed Duplo Blocks

3D Printed Duplo Blocks

3D Printed Duplo Blocks

Most blocks required several layers of paint to achieve a consistent colour. The cake block was the trickiest to finish, as this required small parts to be painted by hand. The last time I did this was as a kid myself!

Overall I’m very pleased with how the blocks have come out. Creating the designs in 3D and having them printed was defiantly the easiest part, and hand painting was the most difficult. On the painted 3D blocks, you can still see the 3D printing layers,

which leaves a rough, bumpy finish. Perhaps for future prints it might be interesting to experiment with different techniques for achieving a smoother finish, such as sanding, or using a high-build paint primer.

Now it’s time to hand them over to my son, let’s hope he likes them!

 

If you would like to know more about 3D printing, rapid prototyping, or anything else, feel free to get in touch, contact details are on the contacts page.

Dean