It’s a common frustration: You set out to build a perfect replica of Babylon 5 (or whatever), only to find that you don’t own enough gray plates for the twin particle arrays. It doesn’t have to be this way. Now there’s Lego Factory, a service that lets you create your very own Lego set.
Lego Factory starts with a downloadable 3-D modeling program that lets you design your virtual toy using as many bricks as you want. Upload your masterpiece to Lego’s Web site and you – and any other Lego fan – can order the kit for your creation, complete with assembly instruction booklet. There are some rough edges: Instructions can be confusing, and blocks come in preset packages, meaning you often have to buy a whole bag to get a single piece. Still, it’s a brilliant move. Customers get to make whatever they want, and Lego gets to transform its army of users into a massive product design team – 30,000 kits have been uploaded so far.
Not sure what to make? For inspiration we asked three creative pros to design kits for Wired (To see what they came up with, go to the related story images above right). Now go build your own at lego.com/factory
Motorola’s Consumer Design Team assembled a satellite.