Yellow-eyed penguin made with LEGO

Converting a 3D STL file to a LEGO model.

It has been some time since I designed this large scale model of a Yellow-Eyed Penguin for the Pop-Up Penguin exhibition. The model is 168cm tall and consist of approximately 60,000 LEGO bricks.

The organiser of the exhibition sent me the STL file of their fibre-glass penguin. I then used the brickplicator software to convert the 3D STL model into a LEGO 3D model that can be build. Since this was a very large model, Gerrit helped me a bit with the conversion. I then imported the model into and rendered the model.

This does seem like a good workflow to convert existing 3D models of animals or any organic form, to LEGO models.


5th Edition of the Unofficial LEGO Color Guide

I am happy to announce that the fifth edition of the The Unofficial LEGO Color Guide is now available. The book is available as a paperback and hardcover from An eBook (PDF) is available from Lulu.

An important update happened behind the scenes. In the past I exported the color database to Adobe InDesign and then create the catalog from there. This process was complicated, labour intensive and error prone. The database has now been changed to create the catalog pages directly. Unfortunately, not all the design tricks possible with InDesign can be replicated with the database. The visual design was therefore modernised and extended.

Bicycle Computer Mount For Bar End

This is a bicycle mount for a computer and a display unit of an ebike. It has 22mm and 32mm tubes to which computers can be mounted. The mount goes into the bar end of a steering wheel. This is paraticulary useful for recumbent bikes. The mount is designed for M5 nuts and bolts, but depending on the accuracy of your 3D printer you might need to use M4 bolts. You can download the 3D files over at GrabCAD.

Here is a technical drawing of the design:

Bicycle Computer Mount Bar Ends Drawing v2

LEGO Resin Casting Brick in a Brick

This video will show you how to create your own LEGO bricks that enclose other LEGO bricks. I used the polyester resin pouring method to create the brick by utilising a silicon based mould. These step by step instructions help you to create your own LEGO brick. This is an ideal present for all your AFOL friends.

Here are some more photos of the models I made:

Visual Metaphor Gone Wrong

UC uses wrong design for cyber security campaign.

The University of Canterbury is making an effort to increase awareness for the need of strong passwords. For this purpose they ran the “Longer Is Stronger” campaign, including a poster that is still being shown on displays across the campus.

The problem is that the visual metaphor of a chain is completely wrong. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and with an increasing length of the chain the likelihood of a particularly week link increases. A longer chain is weaker than a short one. I really hope that our IT security experts are smarter than our visual designers.

A password is indeed usually stronger the longer it is. Encouraging students and staff to use long passwords is a step in the right direction. It would be even better if UC would offer password managers, such as 1Password or LastPass to all its members. That way our passwords could not only be long, but we would be able to conveniently access them. But putting money where you mouth is, is a skill that UC still needs to practice. Purchases of password managers are still being processed on an individual basis and it can take months to complete a purchase.