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Even if you’re not a Lego enthusiast, you have to give it up for Will Chapman’s BrickArms business as a brilliant little bit of entrepreneurship. Although there have been notable recent policy changes, the Lego company has traditionally refused to produce guns for the mini-figures packaged with its playsets. Personally I think that’s a laudable policy, but my opinion does nothing to diminish the very real demand for realistic mini-fig firearms among Lego enthusiasts, particularly in the US, and particularly among adults. Chapman recognized that demand, and went into the injection molding business himself to produce “Lego-esque” guns, grenades, and other weapons that are carefully dimensioned to be compatible with authentic Lego products. Because the parts he produces are very small, the tooling cost is relatively low, and because they’re just bits of plastic, the per-unit production and shipping costs are very, very low. His catalog now includes more than 40 items, each of which sells for at least $1 per unit. He also sells custom, armed-to-the-teeth mini-figs that are avidly sought after by collectors.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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