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Accelerating product prototyping through hybrid methods: Coupling 3D printing and LEGO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-99
Number of pages32
JournalDesign Studies
Early online date4 May 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Apr 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - May 2019


This paper introduces Hybrid Prototyping as a way to couple different prototyping methods; combining their complementary affordances and mitigating their limitations. To characterise and investigate this approach, a simulation-based study was conducted into the coupling of low cost 3D printing and LEGO. Key benefits hypothesised are reduced fabrication time and increased reconfigurability. Six primitive 3D shapes are simulated using a continuum of hypothetical brick sizes. Results show a reduction in fabrication time of 45% and a reconfigurability of 57% at the optimum. A case study highlights the compounded improvements over 3D printing for an iterative prototyping process. These findings mean that increases in prototyping iterations can be made due to reduced time and material costs, accelerating the product development process.

    Research areas

  • product development, design process, simulation, technology, prototyping

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    Licence: CC BY


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