28 February 2020

LEGO® DOTS review: Bracelet Strap

As a follow up to Michael Studman's report from the LEGO® DOTS launch at the House of Dots in London, we are taking a closer look at one of the most unusual elements from this new-for-2020 theme which is available in stores from Sunday 1 March.



Dots was actually delayed from its planned launch date last year and the reason seems to be this strap, known as Bracelet (Design ID 66821). The design was changed from a 'slap' bracelet to a flexible fastening bracelet.
The original patent showed the Dots bracelet to be a slap bracelet (Wikipedia entry) with no actual fastener.
© 2019 The LEGO Group
© 2019 The LEGO Group
It seems that this design was unable to meet the high standards of quality and design The LEGO Group value so highly, and as a result the Dots launch was delayed to rework the design. I think the final design is far more versatile for use in MOCs than a slap bracelet would have been.

Appearance

Bracelet Strap (66821) is made of a rubbery material that is smooth and pliable.

Only the Black version was available at the launch event, but product images show that the bracelet will also be available in Medium Azure, Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise, Bright Purple/Dark Pink and Medium Lavender.



The bracelet has 14 pairs of LEGO studs along the top side and overall it is approximately 24 studs in length. The studs are regular LEGO studs in size and appearance, but because they are made of a more rubbery plastic the clutch feels different when placing elements.



The other side of the strap has the male portion of the fastener on one end and then dimples where each of the 24 studs lie.  Then at the far end there are five holes slightly larger than studs, forming the female portion of the fastener. Each is spaced 1cm apart.

The Strap Attachment


The five holes allow the adjustable sizing. Although approximately stud-sized, the holes have no clutch when a stud is inserted although it nestles in there quite comfortably.


The male part of the fastener is like a stud on a stalk but, for obvious reasons, it is larger than a stud. The bracelet fastens relatively easily as the male fastener is malleable enough to be pushed through the stud-sized hole and remain in position.

Sizing Up

As mentioned, the five size options start with an inner circumference of 16 cm and increase at 1cm intervals until the maximum size of 20cm.


I am a rather normal sized female and found the bracelet in the second largest position was comfortably loose but with no risk of coming off.



Not that I have any plans to actually wear the bracelet -  I am more interested in the potential for using this element in MOCs!

What fits inside?



My first thought was - will it fit around something round? After trialling 4x4 and 8x8 with no size proximity,  I took two 6x6 Dishes (42697) and attached them together to see if a wheel could be made with the dishes as the hub.



The strap was just slightly too big at the closest fit and then of course there's also the overlapping strap attachment aspect to consider; not ideal for a wheel.



One thing I did notice was that the strap fits nicely over the head of set 853967, Originals Wooden Minifigure,  to become a headband or perhaps a disguise for your minifigure.

Using the studs


From the product images, it seems that LEGO designed the straps to be used with 1x1 decorations.  This makes sense as the flexible nature of the strap would make the clutch less secure when more than one stud is attached... but that won't stop us all trying!


I tested using 1x2 Plates across the width first, this proved to be a stable connection as the bracelet flexes along its length rather than across the width when worn.

Next I tried 1x2 Plates along the length of the strap. As you can see, the connection is secure enough as the strap flexes to accommodate, but there is a little bit of rise at the ends of the 1x2 plates.


Once you attach 1x3 plates the clutch becomes less secure as the curve of the strap works against the flat plate to loosen the clutch. This will obviously be more at risk of popping off the longer the attachment becomes; a definite problem if you want to have a curved strap.

Even when the bracelet was lying flat,  I found that attaching a long plate was fiddly as you have to encourage the studs to clutch.

Using the Holes


The five holes for fastening the strap are slightly too big to have any clutch with a stud. Obviously they were designed to allow the fastener to fit through, rather than with clutch in mind. It is possible to still use them of course, there just needs to be something in the other side to hold the stud in place.


For example I used an 'Apollo' stud (85861) and a 'Nipple' stud (20482) to achieve a very secure hold.

More than one?


More than one strap can be securely attached to another. You can attach them back-to-back to give studs on both sides, but the studs do not line up and are offset by a half-stud. Attaching lengthwise is a useful way to have a long flexible LEGO strap with studs - I know the Great Ball Contraption builders are intrigued by the potential of multiple bracelets joined together.


Joining two bracelets together also allows your 853967 Originals Wooden Minifigure to wear a bandolier. (Just for completeness: one bracelet is too small to be a belt and two bracelets are too large so the strap cannot become a belt to accessorise your figure.)

Conclusion

Certainly flexible LEGO elements with stud connections such as the Dots bracelet are not common so it will be interesting to see what builders utilise this new element for in their MOCs. The clutch is great for single stud connections and two studs across the width of the bracelet. The more studs that are used lengthwise, the more tenuous your clutch will become, especially if utilising the flex of the bracelet.

What do you think?  Do you have plans for the Dots bracelet?


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Products mentioned in this post were kindly supplied by the LEGO Group. All content represents the opinions of New Elementary authors and not the LEGO Group. All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.

13 comments:

  1. I imagine Technic might also provide a secure connection for the bracelet holes. A cross-axle would fit just as well as a stud and could be secured in place with a bushing. The flexibility of these parts could make them very interesting to use in MOCs.

    Your experiment with the 1x2 tooth pieces really shows the versatility of the bracelets—even if the cute geometric aesthetic of the Dots theme isn't your style, you could probably go edgier with parts like that or the 1x1 pyramid tile, or perhaps more classy with parts like the 1x2 ingot. I imagine the versatility will only increase as more colors of bracelet are released (and based on set numbers it looks like there will continue to be new Dots reveals throughout the year). A few colors that I think would be particularly nice to have include Warm Gold, Silver Metallic, Earth Blue, and White. I'm looking forward to what else this theme has in store.

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  2. Also, your test with the hollow stud and nipple plate made me realize that you could do something similar with a nipple plate and a 2x2 round jumper to potentially mount something larger (like a faux watch) to one of the unused holes on a larger bracelet.

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  3. Is it possible to use one or more these elements to form a Möbius strip?

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  4. I'm getting all of these as soon as they're out! (and I can get a discount on them :P )
    I don't wear jewelry, but I like creating it and all of the 1x1 printed tiles look amazing :)

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  5. I love the dots range so have the whole first series! Lovely article too!!

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  6. Roofing, flowing water, flexible framing for rounded walls... And that's just first thoughts. I can think of more experiments than I got parts and time!

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  7. After having just done a very successful wearable MOC @ Bricks Cascade, I am SUPER excited for the black bracelets now! I was stoked on the tiles, but this is seriously cool. I thought it was still slap-style. Thanks for the thorough (and, at times, hilarious) review. Love the spike bracelet. I wonder if it would hold cones?

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    1. yes 1x1 cones of course, but if you try 2x2 or 4x4 their hold becomes more tenuous as the number of studs used increases...

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    2. Another option for a spiked bracelet is the 1x1 pyramid piece—they even come in silver for that extra metal look.

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  8. I've seen a picture come by on facebook where someone used an horizontal braclet with upright tiles to create a curved fence.

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