Created using a combination of current technology and old world skill, this is my tribute to the toy that inspired my creativity.
A couple of years ago I unearthed my old LEGO bricks from my parents' attic to give to my two young sons, but I didn't fully realize just how many happy memories of building would surface from my childhood as I watch them build.
This is my tribute to the toy that inspired me, and continues to inspire my children.
Cast as 8 pieces of solid .925 stirling silver, this kinetic sculpture came about as a combination of my experience with 3D printing, my obsession with the permanence of metal, and my healthy addiction to LEGO®.
I've taken this project as far as I can on my own, but now I need your help to fund the mold creation and the first run of full metal, fully functional minifigures. When this project is fully funded, I will have an inventory set up and be able to offer this kinetic sculpture on a continual basis.
"Be sure not to step on any LEGOs as you run over to Kickstarter to get in on the project before it closes." Paul from Technabob
"...but divide that hunk of sterling into 8 separate pieces, and then rejoin them as fully moveable and poseable parts, and suddenly the possibilities are nearly limitless" - dude I want that.com full article
"These would make great collector pieces" - KixBlogger
These rewards will be unlocked at $25,000 - see update #2 above for details. I'm not planning on producing more of the bronze Metalfigs after this project is over, so now is your chance!
Here was my process for designing and making this piece: the LEGO group was contacted to see what they thought of my idea, and then an original minifigure was reverse-engineered in a CAD program, and all of the joints were modified to allow for assembly as well as full range of movement, including the hands. (Fun fact: The original minifigure relies on the elastic deformation of the ABS plastic for assembly. As older figures age, they will develop cracks along the bottom of the arms and the sides of the torsos from repeated expansion.) Since the fitment relies on friction alone, each figure will come with permanently attached heads and torsos.
Being that I couldn't rely on deforming the metal, I had to come up with a different way to assemble the figure - I briefly entertained the notion of heating one part while cooling the other, causing one to expand and the other to contract, but after I saw the temperature difference needed (~3000°F!), I figured I would save my poor extremities and come up with a different plan.
While working on something completely different, my subconscious mind came up with a solution - I found the smallest retaining rings I have ever seen and 3D printed a tool to hold and insert them. You can see them below, along with a US quarter for scale.
I then scaled all of the pieces to account for shrinkage after casting (Silver ends up shrinking around 1-2%, depending on the process). With the design squared away, I began looking for a reliable lost wax casting company that could work with my many requirements. A few scoffed at the tolerances involved and others couldn't deliver the surface quality that I was looking for from a 3D print. Luckily, I found a US based business that was able to deliver on all accounts. A few weeks later, I received the final pieces in the mail, and after I assembled them, my boys helped me set up a little photo shoot.
I was pleasantly surprised by the little guy's heft - but I should have expected it since sterling silver is 10x as dense as ABS plastic.
How you can help
This project will succeed if it can get in front of the right audience, and I need your help in sending it around the world. Please click the like button on my video above, and then:
So what can you get out of this? Well I'm glad you asked.
Everyone who supports at the 1st level will get a link to a high resolution digital drawing that follows the style of the old patent drawings. I can also include the vectorized format for your personal use. You'll have access to backer only updates and your name will also be forever enshrined on my site for all to see. This will be set at a low level, so please spread the word!
For the second tier rewards, you will receive an 8"x10" high quality photo print of either A - "Meet the Family", B - "On a walk", or C - "Standing Sentinel". There will be no watermarks on the prints, and I'll take the time to write a personal thank you note on the back.
For the lucky third tier supporters, I will send you a set of 1/3 scale minifigure earrings in a quality earring box. Elegant, yet playful at the same time.
A custom display case with a flush mounted 2x4 brick. #1 would be painted black in mdf, while #2 would be an exotic wood chosen by the backers hand polished to a high sheen. Both will have a thick polystyrene cover. If desired, a larger (or smaller) brick could be used instead of a 2x4. This reward can be added on to your existing order by upping your pledge amount.
The 4th tier will be a single solid casting of a 2/3 scale (1" tall) minifigure in .925 sterling silver (This will not be movable). It will come with two jump rings to attach to just about anything - use both to use on a necklace, or one to put on a keychain. Will be shipped in a quality pendant box.
The 5th tier supporters will receive a full scale, one piece minifigure in .925 sterling silver (Will not be movable). This will be compatible with standard bricks, and will ship in a quality container that can also be used for storage.
For you superb 6th tier supporters, you will be some of the lucky few to have a full metal, fully pose-able minifigure in your possession. Included are a posing brick, and a high quality container that can also be used for storage. Show off at work, impress your friends, and pass it down to your grandkids.
Ready to get serious? The exclusive 7th tier supporters will receive a fully pose-able, solid gold minifigure, lovingly polished. This would be available in 14kt yellow, white, rose, or green gold. I will also include a posing brick and a quality container that can easily double as storage. Gold bars are boring and lifeless, get a gold minifigure instead!
Did you think the last tier was exclusive? Well forget about that, because there will be one of these made. The singular 8th tier supporter will be the proud owner of the only Platinum minifigure in existence. Included will be a minifigure posing brick, a quality container for storage, and the envy of the other 6 billion members of Earth.
New to Kickstarter? There is an official rundown of the process here.
Designed and Made in the USA.
LEGO® , the LEGO® logo, the Minifigure, and the Brick and Knob configurations are trademarks of The LEGO Group which is not overseeing, involved with, or responsible for this product.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Since the design and process are proven, the only major risks are on the logistics side. Should the demand be higher than I'm currently equipped for, then I will tap into the reliable partners I have waiting in the wings - most of them are certified experts in lean processes, so we'll be sure you get what you ordered at the right time. At the very worst, I would implement a batch system to get most of the orders out the door on time.
I wish - my tribute is not licensed or involved with LEGO.
I contacted the LEGO group before I began this project, and they had no problem with me selling metal minifigures, in fact they thought it was creative. Their constraints were that I couldn't use the LEGO logo or infer that they endorsed the metalfig.
I think this happened because of 3 reasons. 1 - I'm not marketing this as a toy, but as art. 2 - The material and how the joints are assembled are completely different. 3 - This is a small production run.
If you want to add earrings to your pledge (or any other reward for that matter), then add the lower reward dollar amount to your current pledge. For example, if you wanted both the full size minifigure ($475) and a pair of earrings ($70), you would submit your pledge for the full size and add the $70 to that. Shipping would only apply once.
Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
1st Tier - DIGITAL DRAWING: Just for spreading the word and being generally awesome, I'll give everyone here a high resolution digital download of the Minifigure drawing. Also, you'll get recognition of your support on my site. If you want to contribute more, I'll accept that too. :)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
2nd Tier - 8X10 PRINT A: "Meet the family" I'll be writing a short thank you note on the back of each one. As a bonus, you'll also receive Reward #1. Just because you are worth it.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
2nd Tier - 8X10 PRINT B: "On a walk" I'll be writing a short thank you note on the back of each one. As a bonus, you'll also receive Reward #1. Just because you deserve it.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
2nd Tier - 8X10 PRINT C: "Standing Sentinel" I'll be writing a short thank you note on the back of each one. As a bonus, you'll also receive Reward #1. Just because you are special.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $28 or moreYou selected
ADD ON - Custom Display Case #1 Weighted Black MDF base, Polystyrene cover. Flush mounted 2x4 brick. Protects and displays your treasured metalfig or minifigure.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $48 or moreYou selected
ADD ON - Custom Display Case #2 Backers will vote on the type of wood for the base, which will be hand rubbed to a high sheen. Polystyrene cover and a flush mounted brick of choice. Protects and displays your treaured metalfig or minifigure with style.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $70 or moreYou selected
3rd Tier - 1/3 SCALE MINIFIG EARRINGS: Show off some well earned nerd swag with these elegant, yet playful mini-minifigures. Cast in .925 Sterling Silver. As a bonus, you'll also receive Reward #1.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $190 or moreYou selected
4th Tier - 2/3 SCALE MINIFIGURE PENDANT: At 1" tall, this Sterling Silver minifig would love to worn close to your heart. It could be also used on your keychain if you would rather proclaim your affinity that way. Included are two jump rings to attach to whatever you desire. As a bonus, you'll also receive Reward #1.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $270 or moreYou selected
5th Tier - FULL SIZE MINIFIGURE: Cast as one piece, this Sterling Silver minifig would be a worthy sentinel at work or play. As a bonus, you'll also receive Reward #1.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $475 or moreYou selected
6th Tier - FULL SIZE, POSE-ABLE MINIFIGURE: Lovingly finished in Sterling Silver and assembled by hand, this minifig would love to join you on your adventures. As a bonus, you'll also receive Reward #1.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $4,250 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
7th Tier - HIGH ROLLER ACHIEVEMENT: A solid 14kt gold, fully pose-able minifigure. You choose the type of gold used. Need I say more?Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $9,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
8th Tier - THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! Be the envy of the world with the only fully pose-able Platinum Minifigure in existence.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
- (25 days)