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The triumph and tragedy of the robot arm

One part that really caught my attention since getting back into Lego is the Bad Robot Arm. It started as an arm for the robot minifigs in the 2006-2008 Exo-Force line, but the part has been repurposed in all sorts of interesting ways. To name just a few recent examples, it makes for the handle of a lawn mower in the Apple Tree House set, alien limbs in the Galactic Titan set, and even the toes and fingers of a monkey in a new Creator set.

On one hand, I admire the creative uses the Lego set designers have found for this part -- as sort of a brilliant hack, repurposing something in ways never intended.

On the other, the perfectionist in me wonders why they haven't designed a more general-purpose shape for this piece. Its mechanical shape works well enough in some cases, but in others (particularly the alien and monkey) it seems a simpler shape with smooth sides would be a better fit. As often as they use this piece, I wonder why they haven't gone ahead and designed a successor. I know there's a cost to new molds, but they churn out new pieces quite frequently for the collectible mini figures and various sets.

Anyway, that's my Lego thought for the day.


  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    Interesting observation. I've never really thought of a more organic shape for this piece, but now that you mention it, it seems like a good idea.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,800
    There is (was) a similar problem with some of the skeletons (eg gen036). These use the battle droid mechanical arm, when the smoother skeleton arm looks so much better.

    Fortunately they are starting to make some other colours for the smoother ones too (such as DBG in Arkham Asylum).
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 260
    I've used it as the motor and handle for a chainsaw.
  • GalactusGalactus NLMember Posts: 255
    There are also other factors to keep in mind when it comes to designing bricks: sturdiness of the piece and amount of ABS used.
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