The making of a LEGO brick

Fun & Games
The making of a LEGO brick

BusinessWeek has a great slideshow and article on how LEGOs are made –

“Compared to the high-tech toys of today, LEGO bricks look exceedingly simple. But their precise production process is nothing to scoff at. Each LEGO brick must have that perfect grasp — strong enough to hold onto another brick but easy enough for a child to pull apart. The production of LEGO bricks is so accurate that only 18 out of 1 million LEGO elements produced is considered defective. It’s an astonishing number, considering that 15 billion LEGO components are made every year. We take a look at how classic LEGO bricks are made.” [via] – Link & article.

Here’s a fun LEGO factoid –

LEGO Group is producing 15 billion components a year–that’s 1.7 million items an hour, or 28,500 a minute. Tire production accounts for some of that number; the factory also produces 306 million tiny rubber tires a year. In fact, going by that number, LEGO is the world’s No. 1 tire manufacturer.


  • LEGO Technic Difference Engine – Link.
  • LEGO Flash drive – Link.
  • Stargate: LEGO – Link.
  • LEGO PC – Link.
  • LEGO orrery – Link.
  • LEGO Harpsichord – Link.
  • HOW TO make a medium format pinhole LEGO camera – Link.
  • Color scanning LEGO music machine – Link.
  • LEGO archives @ MAKE – Link.

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From the pages of MAKE:

8 thoughts on “The making of a LEGO brick

  1. DGary says:

    1 in 55 thousand failure rate, so 1 failure every 2 minutes of production, not what I would call a high quality manufacturing system, get that up to 1 in 500 thousand and your getting somewhere.

    but I want to know how many failures are boxed, miscounted pieces, wrong but similar sizes, etc, etc

    basically failures to the consumer

  2. -soapy- says:

    1 in 55,000? That’s incredibly good. I bet you couldn’t make three the same out of ten if you tried to copy a brick. Compared to silicon (well, GaAs) chip production it is impossibly good. They get a ten percent failure rate!

    That they can check 27,500 parts every minute (and that they even bother – many cheap manufacturers don’t seem to bother these days) is also very impressive.

  3. jswilson64 says:

    >>but I want to know how many failures are boxed, miscounted pieces, wrong but similar sizes, etc, etc

  4. DGary says:

    theres a substantial difference between injection molding and silicon chips

    a failure rate of 1 in 55k in automated injection molding is horrible, although in manual injection molding its a miracle number.

    I used to program Engel injection molding machines for a plastic dish company in Toledo, and a failure rate worse than 1 in 300k had them running diagnostics and calling maintenance personnel, with a new mold it was usually up in 1 in 600k defect rate, their sister company apparently had a utensil molding process with a failure rate of less than 1 per million, at least their tech touted that, but they also changed their molds frequently to reach that, more failures happened during packaging than manufacturing.

    As for checking 27k pieces a minute, not that impressed, lot of ways to automatically test parts before a person ever has to, optical recognition, stress/shear tests.

    You want to be impressed, look at the QC process for Eggs.

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