Creating a custom Minifigure in Stud.io – The Case of Bill and Mary

Tutorial on creating custom digital LEGO Minifigures.

I used to own LEGO Ideas Book 6000 when I was a child and still own a copy. The two main characters in this story, Bill and Mary, are not available in any of the major LEGO digital design software packages, such as LEGO Digital Designer, Stud.io or Mecabricks. Time to learn something new. This tutorial will show you how to create your own custom digital LEGO Minifigure.

Frist, I had to create the decals for both figures, since the original minifigures had stickers. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the graphics and Bricklink’s PartDesigner to create the custom LEGO parts.

For the decal design, I used  some of the available shape templates. PartDesigner’s manual has the specific dimensions: 605×512 pixels. So let’s start with creating a new Illustrator document with these dimensions.

Next, we create the artwork without a background layer, since this will give us transparency later.

Now it is time to export the graphics as a png file.

Download and install PartDesigner. When you create a new document, use the minifigure template.

Click on the little mountain icons on the torso and select the PNG file we just created.

Add the model to the viewport.


We can now delete the legs, arms and head.

Next, it is time to safe the new part, ideally with its official LEGO number.

Only the torso of Bill and Mary are unique and I uploaded 973bp0386.part (Bill’s torso) and 973pb0385.part (Mary’s torso) to my website.

Now, we can export the parts to Stud.io. Make sure that you give the part meaningful names and include the proper LEGO ID number is the optional section.

In studio, we have to select the custom parts library.

We can search now for Bill and find this part.

Drag and drop the torso into the scene and add the other parts to the model. The complete model is available for download here.

Now we can add some original models from the LEGO Idea Book 6000, some roads and greenery and we have a perfect first shot.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial on how to create custom digital minifigures.

Repair of broken Nao robot battery pack

The battery pack for our Aldebaran / SoftBank Robotics Nao V6 robot broke and we are currently not able to find a reseller that ships to our country. Even contacting SoftBank Robotics directly did not result in any response. The official specifications are available here. Since the battery pack was clearly broken we decided to open it up to be able to find a replacement battery ourselves.

Opening the casing is difficult, since it is not only kept in place with latches, but is also glued together. We used a soldering iron at the seams to open open the case.

The battery back seems to consist of six Sony US18650NC1 2900mAh batteries. They are connected with seven wires to a PCB board. The power supply connects with two cables to the PCB board. In addition, the case has two contacts next the charger plug that could be used for detecting if the battery cover is closed. Five contacts connect the battery pack to the robot of which the first two bigger ones seem to carry the power. The four smaller contacts are probably to communicate with between the robot and the battery PCB board.

We ordered some new batteries and will keep you updated on the developments.

Raspberry C64 Pi Audio and Cooling Update

It was time to improve the performance of this Raspberry C64 Pi computer by adding the official regulated fan to the case. I also added a USB audio adapter to improve the sound quality. With these two inexpensive upgrades, the Raspberry Pi performs much better and the audio quality is much improved.