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Are Trans-Clear LEGO (or all trans parts) now made out of a different plastic?

IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,336
edited October 2020 in Everything else LEGO
This is an image I use for the LEGO bricks chapter heading page of my online computer desktop collectors guide... from right to left, it shows trans-clear LEGO bricks made during different periods of the last 60 years of tube bottom trans-clear bricks.  Starting right to left... 1960s Cellulose Acetate (yellowed) 2x4 brick, 1970s Polycarbonate 2x4 brick, 1980s Polycarbonate (cloudy look) 2x4 brick, 1990s Polycarbonate (clearer) 2x4 brick, 2000s Polycarbonate (much clearer) 2x4 brick...  (Note:  the different color tints are due to different additives.)




When TLG switched from Cellulose Acetate to ABS plastic in the 1960s, trans-clear bricks could no longer be made of the same plastic as other LEGO colors, because ABS in its natural state is a milky white color.

Now from what I understand (info from my Italian LEGO friend Francesco)... starting recently trans-clear bricks (and other parts?) are being made of MABS... Methyl methacrylate-acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene... which looks like this in its' natural state...



As we all know... trans-clear 2x4 (and 2x3) bricks are not in any current LEGO set (nor are 2x4 and 2x3 trans-clear plates)... and are very rare (and on Bricklink are very expensive).  I was wondering if any folks here have any information about a plastic change, from their contacts at TLG?

Much appreciated....
akunthitaKungFuKenny

Comments

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,403
    Windows have been a bit more murky / milky for a year or two. Apparently parts don't stick together as bad as polycarbonate ones.
    IstokgAanchir
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,228
    My understanding is that yes, transparent parts are now made from some kind of ABS. I think there was an article on New Elementary about it a while back.
    IstokgAanchirLyichir
  • DeMontesDeMontes North YorkshireMember Posts: 741
    @Istokg

    it’s a couple of paragraphs down in this review. TLG have acknowledged there’s been a change and there’s more on the LAN if someone has access.

    https://www.newelementary.com/2019/08/review-lego-ideas-21318-treehouse.html
    IstokgAanchirmadforLEGO
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,336
    edited October 2020
    @CCC @Paperballpark @DeMontes

    Thanks for your feedback!  I've been so busy on finishing the collectors guide, I don't always pay attention to what's going on in current LEGO events.  Those MABS pellets I showed above do appear a bit more foggy than PC.  So this explains a lot.  I just wish TLG would make more larger bricks and plates in this new plastic in trans-clear... there have been no new trans-clear parts in anything but small sizes in quite some time.  
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,403
    I wonder what the longer term fogginess will be like too. Some acrylic/PMMA sheets can really go foggy/cloudy in bright sunlight after a few years, so it'll be interesting what happen for this co-polymer. No doubt it will be fine for short term, but in 20 or 50 years time will they still be clear?

  • DeMontesDeMontes North YorkshireMember Posts: 741
    CCC said:
    I wonder what the longer term fogginess will be like too. Some acrylic/PMMA sheets can really go foggy/cloudy in bright sunlight after a few years, so it'll be interesting what happen for this co-polymer. No doubt it will be fine for short term, but in 20 or 50 years time will they still be clear?

    They are not clear now, so I doubt it 😉
    560Heliportgmonkey76
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,228
    I suspect one of the reasons for the change will have been to allow more flexibility on which clear parts can be combined with others. Surely it's only a matter of time before designers start to take advantage of that...
    AanchirLyichir
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,865
    ^It was bothering me that I couldn't remember where I had recently heard comments about the trans-clear parts. Thanks for refreshing my memory!
    560Heliport
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,336
    For any of you who own 1980s model sets, such as the 6382 Fire Station (with 8 1x6x3 clear windscreen skylights)... you will notice that 1980s trans-clear parts (also the 2x2x2 (no tube) clear slope)... have a foggy look to them, even when in new condition (see middle of 5 2x4 bricks in my first post image).  I guess that will be the near term future of trans-clear LEGO elements again, based on the production of MASB clear parts.
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 548
    Istokg said:
    For any of you who own 1980s model sets, such as the 6382 Fire Station (with 8 1x6x3 clear windscreen skylights)... you will notice that 1980s trans-clear parts (also the 2x2x2 (no tube) clear slope)... have a foggy look to them, even when in new condition (see middle of 5 2x4 bricks in my first post image).  I guess that will be the near term future of trans-clear LEGO elements again, based on the production of MASB clear parts.
    EW! Now people will have to use headlight polish on larger clear pieces.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,984
    edited November 2020
    I suspect one of the reasons for the change will have been to allow more flexibility on which clear parts can be combined with others. Surely it's only a matter of time before designers start to take advantage of that...
    We've already seen them taking advantage of that in a few instances — particularly in the Ninjago Prime Empire subtheme, many of which contain transparent "health meters" which are attached to the minifigures by transparent lightsaber blades.
    In another very overt example, next year's set #80106 Story of Nian features fireworks built from transparent snowflakes, cones, round plates with hollow studs, and magic wands, all stuck together without any solid-colored parts in between.
    FizyxstluxLyichir560Heliportgmonkey76KungFuKennyBumblepants
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 1,795
    Hopefully that means we get some Force Ghost Minifigures in Star Wars.
    560HeliportKungFuKenny
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,228
    I have 5 transparent minifigures now (different colours), which all come apart easily - completely not how you'd expect transparent parts to come apart.


    AstrobricksFizyx
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,273
    ^ Is there any way to know if they are actually polycarbonate?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,228
    Not that I'm aware of, but if they were it would be almost impossible to get the different elements apart. It isn't :)
    AstrobricksLyichir
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,336
    That trans-clear minifigure looks like it is made out of MABS... not the crisp clear color of Polycarbonate.
  • LegoSonicBoyLegoSonicBoy SingaporeMember Posts: 47
    FWIW, my first impression of the new material from building #70825 at the beginning of last year was that I no longer feel like I have to be delicate with transparent parts as they're now just as soft as the other modern ABS bricks (for certain definitions of soft) and therefore much easier and safer to handle without getting hurt :) But yes, the fogginess is quite the unfortunate trade-off...
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