19hertz

ramblings of an electronic engineer.

Brick Event Brisbane 2016

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I’ve been very slack covering things I’ve been working on and events I’ve attended and so on. While this particular event was a while ago it spawned some significant projects that have kept me occupied the past few months so ultimately it is worth covering for the very least to provide context for some things I’m currently working on. Anyway onwards!

So how I came to know about Brisbane Brick Event kinda came from a little bit of misfortune. After finishing work one day I started walking to my bus stop and before reaching the stop witnessed my bus pass by me walking, arrive at the stop and leave just before I could reach it. Looking at the bus leave slightly frustrated by the timing of it all I noticed the advertisement for the Brisbane Brick Event the coming weekend.

So been a fan of LEGO and having a weekend free I went along and was pleasantly surprised by the  range and intricacy of the models and dioramas on display. I think some photos are in order 🙂

Among the dioramas was one booth that particularly stood out to me, that of my (now) friend Bailey whom had a display showing various historical pieces from LEGO. From the wooden toys LEGO made before plastic bricks, to vintage bricks, to modern plastic granulate used in the manufacture of modern bricks.

At work or the past 6 months or more I’ve been stepping back from an electronic engineering type role and moving more to mechanical design (I do still so schematic reviews, and design some electronics occasionally though). Specifically I’m been learning a lot about plastic injection moulding which is a manufacturing process used throughout almost every consumer product now days. So coming across Baileys display I realised that there is a lot of interesting history behind how the Lego brick is now produced today that I had never stopped to consider.

The process seems like it should be straightforward right, LEGO gets plastic, puts it into a mould and makes their iconic brick. But in actual fact the manufacturing process is far more complex and riddled with many problems that need to be addressed. A brief example of this is the research involved with selecting the brick shape with the appropriate amount of mating force such that a child could take two bricks apart but also that the bricks held together sufficiently. 4 prototypes were actually made which are known as ABCD bricks (each have a letter stamped on a stud) which have a different mating forces. In the end LEGO decided to go with the C brick making it the basis for all modern brick designs. Researching and collecting some items that illustrate said issues has now become an interesting side project of mine now as you’ll see in some future posts 🙂

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