Lego Build! Darth Vader

I made a decision this year, that each year I’ll do at least one extravagant Lego Build. Its my way of affirming:

  • My inner child matters
  • I am affluent and I can afford it

Turns out, the universe was in sync – for Christmas, I received an unasked-for Lego Darth Vader to build. 800 pieces! I set out to build it, but of course I had to timelapse it.

There were 5 stages, and I recorded all of them:

  • #1 excluded because all you see is my back.
  • #2 Nest camera, facing me and the model. I really liked the idea, so I upgraded …
  • #3 GoPro Timelapse at 0.5sec, 1080P. I felt my hand kinda got in the way, so I changed the angle
  • #4 GoPro Timelapse at 0.5sec, 1080P. It felt too slow, so I changed again
  • #5 GoPro TImelapse at 1sec, 4K.

I put them together in this video, which I’ve put on Youtube because that’s where everything else video goes. I’m thinking, the best angle and subject was #1 – you don’t see all the parts, you see the human and the model. But its not the best camera.

I think the next build, I’ll stick the GoPro where its Model + Human centered, and parts not necessarily in sight.

What I loved most about building it:

  • Wondering how the pieces were going to be used
  • Sorting and organizing the pieces
  • Admiring the novel ways they used pieces that I could not predict

Stuff not so great: Seemed there were a bunch of very custom pieces. Meh.

A Visit to Bricks and MiniFigs

I’ve always loved LEGO’s.    When I found out that Louisville got a Bricks and MiniFigs (franchise) store, I had to go check it out.   (Prices should be visible if you zoom in on the pictures)

Yes, they have Minifigs


Yes, they have New-In-The-Box Sets


Yes, they have Used Sets – some parts may be the wrong colors, accessories might be missing


(The price got cropped.  It was $80)

They have Tubs of Loose Bulk Parts that you can buy:



I don’t see myself making any purchases there anytime soon.  I have no specific projects in mind; I do have a desire to build some of the sets I’ve seen go by over the years, but it would be more cost effective for me to get an account with Pley than to actually buy the sets, I think.  

Then again, for a large set, at $40/month .. suppose I do this for 3 months.. I don’t get to keep any of the sets.. $120.. Hmm.   Maybe I’ll revisit that.

Solidoodle: Printing a Lego-Like Block: Success

First, what are the actual measurements we must match?   Taking multiple measurements: Mesauring Brick with Caliper

  • A: Diameter of a nubby: 4.92mm, 4.90, 4.89, 4.89
  • B: Width and Length of a 2×2 square: 15.84mm, 15.89mm
  • C: Height of a brick (ie, 3x a thin): 9.57mm, 9.59mm

Then, using NetFabb against the model (click image to for link to ThingiVerse): parametric_lego_2x2_preview_tinycardMeasuring in Netfabb

  • A: 4.8mm
  • B: 15.8 mm
  • C: 9.6 mm

My guess is that they reduced the size of the nubby because it would ooze a bit; the other two dimensions appear to be about right.  

And the printed out ones:

Slice Scale Flowrate A B C Fit?
0.3mm 1.0 0.6 4.67, 4.82
4.69, 4.79
9.64 mm Very Loose

Interesting!  The nubbies are coming out a bit smaller, but the part is a bit bigger.   The height is within 1 layer of where it could or should be.

Now, I want the part to print out nice and snug.  Its hard to measure, but it looks like the receptor diameter for tne nubby is about 4.8mm – ie, they’re using a flex of about 0.1mm to keep things snug.  So, I want to print out with a diameter above 4.8mm.

Lets try something at Flowrate 0.65, just to see what happens:

Slice Scale Flowrate A B C Fit?
0.3mm 1.0 0.65 5.02, 4.8, 4.95, 4.86 15.93
9.73 Pretty good!

And what do you know!  It fits!  Pretty snug-gly!

3 bricks in a row

Although, due to a hole in the original .STL file, the entire bottom of the piece got replaced with a solid face. 

The missing bottom

Mission Accomplished.   0.65 might be the answer, although it disagrees with the single-wall-thickness calibration.

Duct Tape and Lego’s

While discussing the finer points of avoiding RMI stress injuries (aka carpel tunnel, but there are several others) at work, JS mentioned “if he could only tilt his trackball up by a few degrees”…

Welp, I’ve been struggling the last 2-3 weeks with all kinds of arm pain.. leading me to try all kinds of things. I liked the “tilt” idea. So I made one from Legos:

Its not the only thing I’ve made. I tried making a Droid Charging Station, but that didn’t work so well; however my Lego Monitor Tilt works pretty good:

And then.. Duct Tape. This is the original version of the “I need a handle to pull the air filter out of the furnace” thingy:

Life is good.