As a kid, I loved construction sets like Lego, Duplo (opens in new tab) and K'nex (opens in new tab), as they gave me the ability to create anything I wanted no matter how big, how complicated or how realistic. K'nex was great for making complex objects while Duplo was more suited for large-scale, non-movable objects. Each set has its own advantages and disadvantages, but the one big headache was that they weren't compatible with each other. You couldn't combine parts from different kits to build something, because they simply wouldn't fit together.
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The Free Universal Construction Kit (opens in new tab) has been created by 3D printing (opens in new tab) enthusiasts to break down that barrier. The kit has specially designed parts that enable any piece, from a range of construction sets, to become fully compatible with each other, further expanding the possibilities you can create.
At the moment there are 10 different sets which are compatible with each other, but there is still room to expand the range. Imagine adding the mobility of Bionicles, the precise detail of Nanoblocks or the mechanics of Meccano.
These parts can be downloaded for free from Thingiverse (opens in new tab), although it should be noted that not all 3D printers are built the same so when you come to print your parts make sure the printer you use can make them both detailed enough to work and durable enough to last.
Words: Christian Harries (opens in new tab)
Christian Harries is a freelance product designer and recent graduate from Ravensbourne. His portfolio can be seen here (opens in new tab).
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Have you seen any cool 3D printing projects? Let us know in the comments!