Monday, April 2, 2012

"In a 3D Printed Future, Do Toymakers Have a Business Model?" (NAT; HAS)

No symbol for LEGO Group, they're private.
From MIT's Technology Review:
What's to stop kids from pirating LEGO sets as readily as they pirate music?

Rendering of LEGO minifig head from Christmas Lego Men of Kansas City by Michael Curry
Let's assume for a minute that 3D printing becomes as good as its proponents say it will, and soon. We're talking high strength plastics, high resolution models, all at prices that the average consumer can afford.

LeoCAD, A library of over 4,000 LEGO bricks, already exists. It's distributed under a creative commons attribution license, so you can pretty much do what you want with it, as long as you give credit. Makers are already constructing custom LEGO pieces on their 3D printers. The existing model for creating LEGOs, in Denmark, is surprisingly labor-intensive.

Meanwhile, "out of print" LEGO sets are eye-openingly expensive. (Pretty much every Star Wars set from the movies that weren't awful is going for at least $300.)...MORE