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Hey guys, First off long time lurker first time poster (-:'
Second, I hope I am able to post this here, and I hope it is in the correct forum
Third, I know all of you folks are very creative hence the love for Lego. So I need your help. I have thought and thought about the following for months and still don't have a great solution.
I have a Lego project that I am working on and I need to be able to "write" on the side of Lego the 2x4 Bricks , each brick will be unique and when I say large QTY I am talking 100,00's all with unique text.
I know there are 1 or 2 businesses online that deal with "engraving" or "printing" and I have contacted one of them but I was hopeing for something that I would be able to achieve myself without hiring someone external, and in the case of going through a existing business it is going to cost upwards of $2-$3 per brick, more than I was hoping to spend since thats going to be $200,000 or so (-:"
It would just be text and it would be on both sides of the brick (in most cases) I have thought about writing by hand but it is messy, tried clear adhesive inkjet labels and sticking them on the side but WAY to time consuming and they don't look all that good. Thought about engraving etc but nothing stands out as a excellent idea.
I was hopping for something automated at least to a degree, say a text file or PDF with the info and then a way to print directly onto the brick. Can this be done. Can it be done by a individual who isn't rich and doesn't have $10,000 to splash out on setting it up.
Anyhow hopping for some ideas, or something that I haven't thought of by using on of your creative minds (-:"
Thanks Guys & Gals.
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I do not have a solution on top of my head...except stickers....
Or you can hire someone with a really steady hand to write on each one.
I have not contacted Lego directly although I don't think they would be much help, could be worth a shot I guess.
Thanks for those links, will definitely give me something to look at, I see what you are saying and could definitely be worth looking at, maybe I could fine somewhere which would be able to do the printing for me and I wouldn't have to purchase the machinery myself?
Have thought about the sharpie idea, and is in the lead except no matter what on such a small area it looks messy and is also time consuming.
Thanks guys really appreciate the input though.
But this: http://www.videobash.com/video_show/lego-printer-9182, a permenant marker and a wall of bricks feeding through could be a solution!
Here's some modern DYMO products that will do this...
I'm sure they have a product that will be able to size to the side of a 2x4 brick... and new ones are easy to use.
Color possibilities are endless, and I am sure it would do what you want. Only about $200 USD.
For that sort of quantity though I think you would be better off looking at a contactless industrial inkjet printing system. georgebjones egg-bot post actually reminded me about them as a common use is printing use by dates on to fresh eggs and more recently logos too. The price is likely to rise in proportion to the quality of print that you want and the speed/bulk capabilities. I suspect someone on the forum will know a lot more about these than I do...
I received an engraved brick from LEGO a couple of years back as a thank you and even the one they (had?) produced was not great. The text formation was imperfect and was at a slight slant to the brick itself.
I'm sure heaps of this info will come in handy, I'm at work at the moment so can't look at it all but will later, really appreciate the help.
I guess if just shows that Lego and creative really are the same, and that there isnt a single solution but multiple options, which unfortunately is this projects downside to (-:"
Another question, since most people that have a interest in Lego are some what perfectionist, do you think writing on the side in a sharpie will detract from the idea, and people will be less like to be interested/contribute as it won't be "neat"?
Sorry I can't give to much of the project away (-:" I know it makes it somewhat difficult to discuss, see a vision.
So, let's say the printer you contact has a small flatbed printer, an A3 size printer like the one I linked. Based on the dimensions of the brick, you can fit a sheet of 589 2x4 bricks into the printer: 31 rows of 10 interlaced with 31 rows of 9. To print out 100000 bricks it will take 170 runs. Double sided is 340. Let's say it costs $20 a sheet, that would be $6800 dollars. I don't know how much it costs. Maybe it's like $10 a pop, only $3400. Now, if the printer has a larger printer, you can place a larger sheet. Maybe that would bring the cost down more. I'd ask around.
Whatever you choose to do, I'd be interested to know what route you take. Good luck on your project :)
The idea about printing on the bricks is definitelly a awesome idea. Funny thing is that with this project I have been trying to get a whole bunch of different ideas and one of the people I contacted was a family member who works at a professional printing company, he was also keen on the idea and has been looking into methods over the last few days for me.
Yesterday he contacted me and said he had got a whole bunch of paperwork and some test bricks organised and was sending it out to me so I am very interested to see what he come up with as opposed to your idea. And then to discuss the advantages/disadvantages of the two if they are indeed different.
One of the upper hands that I have is that I am controlling how the data is stored and in what format etc. so I believe (I have to talk to the web designer more) but essentially I should be able to get the text fed straight through to say a file format that the printer is cabable of printing from and have it laid out like the grid pattern with the correct dimensions (thanks for those by the way (-:") and even go as far as side 1 going to one file format, side two going to a separate file etc.
I will definitelly keep you updated over the next week or so as we experiment and look at all the different methods and what works best.
Thanks again for all the help, has really given me some great ideas.