Here is my fourth annual Lego blog! I’ve assembled some rockin, eye-poppin stats and pix for the Lego fans and would-be Lego fans. I have to start with my zaniest discovery ~10 Google pages of LEGO HATS – 40 on page 1! Each one is finger-size and brightly colored. I love that. <http://bricks.argz.com/partcat/Minifig%2C%20Headgear>
Lego science? Lego as investment? Lego weaponry? Lego Hellfire? (if you are into the absurd, the colorful, and stunning numbers, you will enjoy this Lego article!) Here we go…….
Literary Lego people, for you –aside from the Merwin piece, to the book, contained in a pop-up book called The Lego Poem; and The Great Order of the Universe: a poem by Christian Bok, I’ve been unable to find good Lego poetry. (They are in an earlier blog: The LEGO and the written word, and on the WEB.) I challenge you to find others!
On a practical note, how DO you make a Lego piece? I mean really. Plastic and?All of the basic Lego elements start out as plastic granules composed primarily of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). A highly automated injection molding
process turns these granules into recognizable bricks. The making of a Lego brick requires very high temperatures and enormous pieces of equipment, so machines, rather than people, handle most of their creation.When the ABS granules arrive at Lego manufacturing facilities, they’re vacuumed into several storage silos. The average Lego plant has about 14 silos, and each can hold 33 tons of ABS granules. When production begins, the granules travel through tubes to the injection molding machines. The machines use very accurate molds — their precision tolerance is as little as 0.002 millimeters. The machines melt the granules at temperatures of up to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C), inject the melted ABS into molds and apply between 25 and 150 tons of pressure. After about seven seconds, the new Lego pieces cool and fall onto a conveyor. At the end of the
conveyor, they fall into a bin. When the bin fills, the molding machine signals a robot to pick it up and carry it to an assembly hall. In the Billund factory, eight robots move 600 bins of elements per hour…. 1
There are about 6.5 billion people on planet Earth, and about 4 billion Lego minifigures.
Are you kidding? That’s not just pieces or “bricks,” that’s 4 billion “guys,” as my kids used to call them.
Here’s a landscape of minifigures in Hell.
It is frightening to see the expressions on their little lego faces. Can you imagine opening this set on Christmas day, stacking up the flames… “Look, Mommy! I finished building my IN HELL Lego set!”
What are toys coming to? OK this page is really troubling to me. How to build Lego GUNS? What do we do with this kind of craziness? It is hard for me to even think about this.
Calm down, it’s just TOYS……. or is it?
Investment opportunity: $$$$ Investing in Lego bricks may sound ludicrous to those who see them just as toys. But savvy investors can get a big score if they know how to buy the toys from stores, hold them and then sell them online later…. I was told One investor has more than 3,000 Lego sets piled high in a climate-controlled storage facility. Most of the sets he bought years ago, with the plan of selling them a year from now for a profit. Doing this again and again generates a tidy 10 percent to 15 percent annual profit, he said. That tops the 10 percent long-term average return of stocks.
Then there are the adults who get to play with Legos for work:“I meet a lot of really jealous kids who want my job,” says Certified Professional Sean Kenney, a New Yorker who left a technology job at Lehman Brothers in 2002 to build Lego models full time. “Their parents are often really jealous, too.” … Grown-ups forked over more than $1,000 for a recent 5,922-piece Lego Taj Mahal and equally big bucks for rare vintage kits. Lego is catering to the booming market with offerings that make youngsters yawn, like bricks in subtle pastel hues and models of Frank Lloyd Wright houses.2
And this Lego Fan who has crossed some kind of line beyond hobby time…Jonathan [Eric] Hunter’s passion for Lego building has led him to create cars, a replica of the Quest Software Building in Irvine and golf carts. He vies to become the new kid on the Legoland block Friday in a contest to pick a master model builder. …Hunter estimated he has about 10 Lego models of his creation on hand at any given time. He also has about 15 models from kits, not of his creation. He started buying bulk Legos by the bin. He bought five bins last week of 180-190 pounds of Legos. “I’m just trying to stock up on parts,” Hunter said. “It has to be over a million at least and that’s probably a conservative guess,” he said of his entire collection. Hunter shares the home with his live-in girlfriend Patricia Spear, 29. Spear owns two pet pigs and two dogs. And if Hunter doesn’t clean up his Legos in the living room, she said the pigs munch on the Legos. “He undoes some of them,” Spear said of Hunter’s Legos. “Mostly it’s all in his room but gradually it’s been taking over the living room.”3
But wait — there is the futuristic teccie-nerd lego product called MINDSTORMS NXT:The newly-released Lego MINDSTORMS NXT set includes the “intelligent brick,” which contains a microprocessor, as well as three motors, four sensors, programming software and 571 TECHNIC elements. A group of users — the MINDSTORMS User Panel — helped the Lego Group create the new system. On the MINDSTORM NXT: You connect your computer to the brick using either a USB cable or a Bluetooth wireless connection. The wireless connection is very cool. The brick can link with a computer, with other bricks or even with Bluetooth phones or PDAs. The kit comes with three motors. …The kit also comes with four sensors: a touch sensor, a light sensor, a sound sensor and an ultrasonic range finder. The touch and light sensor are bigger than, but otherwise similar to, their RIS 2.0 equivalents.4 Using a Lego Mindstorms NXT kit, Daniel Strange, 25, built and programmed a crane that moves in a set path, raising and lowering the sample between beakers containing solutions. The lab now has two of them working round the clock. “They’re a bit wobbly but they do the job precisely,” Strange says. The kit retails for around £300; a similar scientific instrument would cost thousands. “We use the kits for a bunch of projects. It’s a very flexible platform.”5
I will end with A tribute to Chanel’s clutch – Lego Fashion, Lego fine jewelry, Legos of famous people, Lego animals, butterflies, lego food, my granddaughter Oona, and her Duplo house (junior legos), Nephew Jaden, and some lego guys talking story.
1″Making Lego Bricks” by Tracy V. Wilson http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com
2 Wall Street Journal 11/17/11 Daniel Michael.s
3 Article: “Anything But Child’s Play” by Jessica Peralta for California Sun Post News.
4 Mactech Journal vol.23, Issue 04 article by Rich Warren.
5 Photo and quotes from Wired Magazine July, 2012 article by Daniel Cossins.