28 August 2018

The LEGO® Minifigure at 40: Inside the factory

The LEGO® Group have sent us these amazing images to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure and we just had to share them with you.

How are LEGO® minifigures printed? And as the elements that make up their torsos and legs are moulded separately, how are they then assembled? These pictures come from the production line of the LEGO factory in Kladno, Czech Republic. Tap/click any image to enlarge. And scroll down for video!

LEGO minifigure heads being printed


Wheee! Heads will roll... and then they'll get printed.

Forced into rows, they are attached to a six-pronged holder that then carries them through the printing process one colour at a time. Those poor minifigures!

Between each colour being applied, they get a swift blow dry.

Hey that wasn't so bad!

Eeeeeek! Spoke to soon. Off to storage they go.

LEGO minifigure torsos being printed


Here are the torsos, and you can see the pads (in red) that apply each colour of ink with the dryer in between.

Ready for the hands and arms!


Scroll down for a video which includes the hands being inserted into the arms.

Just another day at the office.

One of each type of completed torso is displayed on the wall as reference.

How LEGO legs are assembled


Legs and hips start life as separate parts.

The production line drops the constituent parts into this device which pushes them together.

Then they can be printed.

Here's a video of all that in action!





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Images in this post were taken by Jan Branc and kindly supplied by the LEGO Group. All content represents the opinions of New Elementary authors and not the LEGO Group. All images are © The LEGO Group/Jan Branc. 

7 comments:

  1. Fascinating, just a shame about the video's sound constantly dropping out.

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  2. Huh, so minifigs are born left handed!

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  3. Since it's a separate stage in the process, what's the point of the neck printing?

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    1. Watch the video on slow at starting at about 5:50. You should see that occasionally a torso will be rotated so that the arms are attached to the correct sides. I presume the black mark on the neck is used so that a sensor can tell if it needs to be rotated or not.

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    2. It seems to have been included since at least the 80's, although it's possible Lego had sensors already by then...

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    3. That's correct, this is what the neck mark is for. I believe the newest machines are clever enough not to need it, but I don't have a reference on this.

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