Once I was aware of the requirements for 3D printing, I started to
think about how to create a digital 3D model representing Lego for 3D
Starting from voxel technology, I could already generate blue prints
and 3D models for 3D animations/still and for blue prints for real-life
Lego objects based on an arbitrary 3D model.
With this knowledge, I could generate the 3D model representing Lego
for 3D printing.
3D Lego Model
A voxel is a volume element. In most cases, a voxel is a cube. For
Lego, the voxel is slightly higher, so a voxel represents a Lego unit;
the voxel has the same size as a 1x1 Lego brick.
By combining voxels, read 1x1 Lego units, you can generate
different kinds of Lego bricks; 1x2, 1x4, 2x2 and so on.
Each brick has its own geometry, which is always slightly different from
other brick types, but there is a certain pattern, which makes
it possible to programme your work.
The generated 3D model representing Lego for 3D printing has some usable features.
Depending on the final size of the 3D printed object, a Lego unit may
be either hollow, reducing costs, or solid.
If the 3D printed model is small, a hollow Lego unit may have a wall
thickness that does not meet the required minimum wall thickness test.
Another feature is the lack of knots on top of bricks that are inside
the model. They are not visible, so by replacing them with a single
polygon, the amount of polygons will be reduced.
The maximum number of polygons is limited by the 3D printing company, so
by reducing the polygon count, the amount of Lego units used can be
increased; more Lego units can be used.
Before shipping your model to the 3D printing company, you have to check your model.
You can use accutrans and/or
Accutrans has an interesting feature that allows you to check whether
you model is watertight; tools > Check for Watertight Meshes. Netfabb
is handy as well. the programme validates your model and provides some
features that allow you to repair any problems.
As I stated before, 3D printing is affordable and, with some
knowledge of the requirements, do-able.
It's perfectly possible to print Lego objects, although it was quite
complicated to make the conversion programme.