3D-printed adapter bricks allow interconnection between ten kids' construction toys

Golan sez, "The Free Universal Construction Kit is a collection of adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to join to any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems—enabling the creation of previously impossible designs, and ultimately, more creative opportunities for kids. As with other grassroots interoperability remedies, the Free Universal Construction Kit implements proprietary protocols in order to provide a public service unmet, or unmeetable, by corporate interests."

F.A.T. Lab and Sy-Lab are pleased to present the Free Universal Construction Kit: a matrix of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten* popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to join to any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems—enabling radically hybrid constructive play, the creation of previously impossible designs, and ultimately, more creative opportunities for kids. As with other grassroots interoperability remedies, the Free Universal Construction Kit implements proprietary protocols in order to provide a public service unmet—or unmeetable—by corporate interests.

The Free Universal Construction Kit offers adapters between Lego, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K’Nex, Krinkles (Bristle Blocks), Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome, and Zoob. Our adapters can be downloaded from Thingiverse.com and other sharing sites as a set of 3D models in .STL format, suitable for reproduction by personal manufacturing devices like the Makerbot (an inexpensive, open-source 3D printer).

OK, that's pretty badass right there.

The Free Universal Construction Kit

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  1. Free Universal Construction Kit.   Clever acronym.  You can give a F*CK for Christmas or share them with your FU*K buddies…   Hilarious? On Purpose? Awesome!

    1. Dude, they totally didn’t think of that, good catch!

      (Also, pure coincidence that FUCK “encourages totally new forms of intercourse.”)

  2. Before F.A.T. Lab was involved this was known as the Sy-lab Heterogeneous Interconnection Thingy.

  3. There’s a gear. On a Lincoln log single.

    Help me, Internets: other than glorious entropic acceleration, what could possibly be the utility of such a piece?

  4. OK, they need to change the name for the kids, BUT…. on the technology…  It’s about FREAKING TIME.  I have been trying to finish my Duplo block structure for decades, but all I have is Legos and I need to get this damn thing done before mom gets back.

  5. Do these fake Legos snap together, though?  I thought Legos had to be made out of a certain type of plastic and to within a fairly high precision.

    1. Lego is made to such a high precision that robotics labs and people that use lasers occasionally use it, as it can be relied on to such a fine detail.

      I’d be surprised if these would actually work, as even if the design is spot on the printing won’t be.  Nice idea though, if not for the glaring trademark and patent issues that will shoot it down in the next couple of days. I can imagine a company like Lego is gearing up for when 3D printing Lego bricks is cheaper than buying them, as it could kill their entire business; and a big part of me feels for them. Ideally you should be able to print 3D Lego bricks (as preventing it will be impossible) but at the same time there should probably be some kind of license involved, or the purchase of the design from Lego itself.

      Of course what’s more likely is that there’ll be a fake Lego 3D printing set, like an off-brand variety that doesn’t infringe on whatever patents are involved (a la Megablocks).

      1. “Lego is made to such a high precision that robotics labs and people that use lasers occasionally use it, as it can be relied on to such a fine detail.”

        Citation needed. Not because I don’t believe you, but because that sounds amazing and I want to learn more.

  6. A truly outstanding idea! However, if they want to use the word “universal” they should be adapting to older building sets as well, like Erector.

    1. In all seriousness,  all it takes is a few clearance holes for #6 hardware (IIRC) and you can connect Erector beams to your heart’s delight.  Now,  Bridge and (forgot the other half-name) along with it’s brother Girder and Panel might be a bit tougher

  7. Uhm… At least one of the items which goes by reminds me of the IBM ad which included the Universal Business Adapter. (“Does it work in Europe?” “… You need an adapter.”)

    Given that, and the acronym, I’m betting this is just a well-produced joke.

  8. “The artist’s proof shown here was created in a UV-cured white resin using a commercial-grade Objet (“polyjet”) 3D printer, which has a horizontal resolution of 42 microns, and a layer thickness of 16 microns.”

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