Crazy New Invention

Okay, I don't know how this will go, ​so I'm just going to put this out here and see what you think...

​First, a little back-story...

​​Since my son Julien was very young (he's 10 years old now) I've bought him LEGO. While I certainly never bought every single kit ...I did buy many thousand of dollars worth.

Julien still plays with LEGO ...a lot (in fact, he even started his own Instagram ​account where he posts his unique creations).

​Long story short...

I started to see the limitations of LEGO with his development. Now, don't get me wrong, LEGO is probably the #1 best toy to have ever been invented for kids - it's fantastic. But one of the downsides is that it just ...a toy.

​Julien has tried to make real objects that can actually be used - but, unfortunately, because of the nature of LEGO ...there is no strength or rigidity. Similarly... there is Meccano, which is good for building stuff, but again there is no structure or ability to make something real or usable.

So, I thought it was time to roll-up-my-sleeves:

​It's taken a little while and quite a bit of testing and tweaking - but I think what I've created is something special (yeah, I know, that sounds arrogant - but hear me out! :-D).

​Starting with a solid billet of aluminum:

​Next up I did some milling:

​After a little more machining:

​And finally after even more machining ...and some tumbling:

​The cool thing about these is that they are STRONG!

​Now, of course, I needed a few more shapes and sizes so Julien and I had something to actually build with. A few days later and we have this:

The first thing I did was hand these pieces to Julien and just see what he did.

​A little while later and he comes down to the workshop and shows me this:

It's a little plane ...which I thought was pretty cool for his first go!

​Next he made what he called a "screwdriver" and a "stand" for it to sit in:

​I decided to try my hand at making some things that were more practical - and so here are a few creations I made yesterday and today...

Pen stand:

​Yeah, I know, it's so over-built it's ridiculous. But, hey, at least it's never going to break!

​A cellphone stand:

​After making the cellphone stand I thought a tablet stand was the appropriate next thing to make (since making the above stand I machined a new component to act as a "base").

Tablet stand:

​This stand is not adjustable - but it should be easy enough to design and make a component that will allow this functionality.

Lastly, something I made this morning...

​A full-on, 100% functioning (and super-powerful) slingshot:

​So, yeah, that's the "crazy new invention" I wanted to show you.

It's only been a couple of days and I've already made a bunch of very functional and 100% usable things.

Take a look at these three parts:

Now, believe it or not...

​Each construction above was made from just these three ​different components (apart from the tablet stand which used a fourth component as the base). I find that amazing!

​Imagine the designs that could be made as new component designs are added? 😀

​Now, I know, I'm usually "The Titanium Guy" ...but I think there is something special about what is happening in the photos above with these aluminum parts.

I'm going to make a few sets (not decided how many parts are in a set yet) and offer them to you here. Let me know if this is something you'd be interested in.

Do you have any thoughts?

What would you envision yourself making?

  • Tim says:

    Looks like a winner to me

  • Justin says:

    Yes, yes yes.
    Honestly this is the best and most exciting ideas I’ve seen from you.
    My only concern is the price, seems like a lot of machine and finishing time went into these, but producing them at scale would likely take a massive pre-order. Either way, my 2.3yr is already into Legos and I hope that these will exist at an affordable price by the time that she’s ready for them (which will be soon).

    • Magnus says:

      Thank you for your feedback Justin – appreciated. Yes, a lot of machining does go into them …but, because it’s aluminum, it’s a lot faster/easier than the titanium we’re used to.

      The setup should not be too bad actually (because these are not as difficult to make as the typical titanium parts we do …there are just more of them).

  • Paul says:

    It’s awesome. Please contact me – http://www.astrapacifica.com
    Thanks,

    Paul

  • vlad says:

    Very moved by your idea 🙂
    Is Al expected to withstand repeated (un)tightening screws? Ti would be prohibitive? What about special design of holes, or standard iron washer inserts? Then, of course profiles and connectors in different shapes. Imo a hit – for both of you 🙂 Congratulations! To both 🙂

  • JD says:

    Awesome, the ultimate “Techniques”……….

  • Gary Ricard says:

    It appears you’ve produced the Lego Techniques “liftarm” in Al. It’s a good idea as I have wished for stronger Legos in the past but the more you play with it the more you’re going to wish you had a just a couple different parts; it may be quite a can of worms you’ve unlocked. Also, one wonders if there are any Lego patents you might be violating though I think the basic stud-and-tube brick patent expired (in the US anyways) in 1978. Again, it’s a good idea and I’d probably buy some but there are lots of things to think about and check out before selling them IMHO.

  • Michael Fridman says:

    Very nice, and worthy of production.

  • Simon says:

    I think this has great potential, if the price was right it could really take off. One to consider outsourcing production on if an initial batch confirms the promise of it?

    Not an expert on this, but you might want to talk to a patent agent to see if there is anything here that could be protected (note though, secrecy is key to patentability: if the innovative step has been made public before the application then you are stuffed).

    Failing that the only defence against those who would rip you off is to establish your brand as the original and best quickly, and come up with a name / branding that you can register as a trade mark…

  • David Dvinov says:

    I’m in, this is designed especially for me! If you decide to make one, would love to get one. And would post all creations. Always tingling with stuff, paperclips, rubber bands, little screws, pens , you name it. Helps me relax, and type of meditation for me.

  • JK says:

    I like it. Whats the fastening system? I see button head allens but whats on the other side?

  • Kenny says:

    I could see that being used to display the big LEGO Millenium Falcon (or other sets).

  • Raul C. says:

    Lego Technic for adults. Perfect!
    The tablet stand reminds me the one I bult for my own Lego X-Wing.
    Great idea.

  • Reedith Graham says:

    id get a set

  • Maxim Aleshin says:

    My son Leo really appreciates the invention. You have a new customer for your new idea.

  • GT says:

    I’m intrigued! I cannot say that it would be a definite buy in my case, but I know plenty of people would go for it. Very cool!

  • mc says:

    They remind me of the old Erector Set concept; from a practical viewpoint, if I had a set of these in steel when I did metrology and layout work there may have been no limit to the gauges used and measurements I could have made 😉

  • Vlade Malfet says:

    You are definatly onto something. I’d be interested in some parts to make my own stuff for sure… Best part is its expandable…. How much do you think they would go for? I can’t guess because I am not in the USA.

  • Sean says:

    I think you’ve just made a really expensive erector set

  • Joe says:

    This is just an aluminum erector set. I had this 50 years ago when I was a kid.

  • Natalie says:

    here’s an idea of things to build with your construction set. May need to include some wheels …
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vfi/phorm-the-construction-kit-for-your-camera

  • Rocco says:

    Somehow my post from yesterday did not go through…

    Magnus!
    Great stuff and overengineered as we like it.
    Few questions!
    – for some forms/builds the holes(distance) is critical, to get them to hold in various ways, let me say in a Pythagorian way (diagonal mounting as well). I am sure you experimented with it in multiple ways – but we don’t see enough. More pictures maybe!
    – how is the stuff mounted/screwed ? Are threads in there or just holes ?
    Just saw another picture today – is it screw nuts from the other end ? So they fall out and one has to keep the screws in until the screw grabs ?
    Any option for integrated threads ?
    Of course, metric and imperial, international sales…that sucks.
    But I have an idea to that below.

    I think this is extremely interesting, and of course aluminium, all else is too expensive.
    My expectation is easy, quick, variable and:
    Totally camera accessory compatible.
    What comes to mind is a cheese plate. Google ‘camera cheese plate’. It would be awesome to adjust to that distance and thread pattern, because one could attach to all sorts of camera accessories, and the sales prospect is international. Camera threads are imperial all over the world.
    Could become extremely popular in the image acquisition for rigging purposes!

    With the 3/8″ thread idea, you could kill 2 birds with a stone and attract professionals and consumers alike.

  • Thomas says:

    Keep me in the loop on this “crazy new invention ” .
    Three of my four sons have asd they are obsessed with building toys (legos,mega blocks ect.)
    I’m very interested.
    This looks like the kind of toy or item a boy could play with for years and pass to another or his own child

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