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These are the molds custom Lego armorer Will Chapman of BrickArms uses to make his gats. BrickArms was recently mentioned in Chris Anderson’s genre-defining Atoms Are The New Bits article in WIRED, cited as an example of an amateur turning his or her hobby into a profession. I wrote Will to find out more about his molds:

  • 2.5″ x 2.5″ 6061 T6 aluminum
  • Cut using 1/16″ roughing ball nose cutter, and finished with 1/32″ ball nose cutter.
  • Cut using a Taig 2018 CR mill, with NEMA 23 steppers, driven by Gecko 201s via Mach 3 on XP.
  • Parts are injected with ABS resin – some of it is ground up Lego bricks.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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Comments

  1. Daniel T says:

    That’s amazing, I was actually wondering how they did those, I spotted them a while back on “The Brothers Brick” blog. Can’t believe they actually manufacture the mould’s themselves. I’ve heard that’s the biggest cost hurdle of injection moulding, as normally you have to outsource that work to the pro’s.

    I’m very tempted to buy a Taig 2018 now.

    Was any information given about their ABS injection system/method? That’s something I’d *really* like to know about.

    1. https://openid.org/opikalo says:

      There is an article about this here: http://replicatorinc.com/blog/2010/02/desktop-injection-molding

      Ever since I learned about this, I have been learning about mini CNC machines.

  2. Matt Mets says:

    Oooh, those look wonderful, thanks for finding out the build details! I’m totally jealous of that capability now- that Taig mill is so tempting!

  3. Silverman says:

    I’m also eager to see how he does the injection molding with these aluminum molds. The FAQ on the site says the molds are made from steel by a mold maker and injection molded using a commercial machine. I guess that’s outdated?

    1. Daniel T says:

      I just dropped them an email myself (just incase the Make guys had better things to do), so I’ll post back if I find out anything about the injection system.

    2. BrickArms says:

      Yes, you are correct. The molds in the photo are aluminum. I use them to test my designs, and even to do short runs of specialty items. Once I have received and incorporated my customers’ feedback into the revisions, I send the designs to a professional tooler to create the steel production molds.

      1. https://openid.org/opikalo says:

        I wonder if you have any recommendation to the makers on CNC machines and Injection molding machines. Taig has a new micromill DSLS 3000, and there some good machines from sherline and also x4 from syil. From injection molding I could only find injection molder from Galomb, Inc.

        Any shortcuts?

  4. Timothy D. Swieter says:

    I believe the article in Wired mentioned that BrickArms creates prototype and shortrun molds from AL at home while the larger production are done from a mold made by a local vendor. Though the article didn’t mention about the injection molding, it said for tests he uses a hand injection molding system. I googled this and found this: http://www.injectionmolder.net/

    1. Daniel T says:

      Oh, my workshop wish list is growing today!

  5. https://me.yahoo.com/a/I3sjcpxw3PgPsQY57CPOfwjJ3AUENdvQnLU-#75917 says:

    Here’s a cool model railroad forum thread showing another guy making molds with his Taig CNC:
    http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16583&whichpage=2

    I have another Taig customer who makes much simpler molds and uses a modified design of the Gingery home plastic injector to make his parts.