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

David Mathias*, Chris Snider, Ben Hicks, Charlie Ranscombe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
672 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-99
Number of pages32
JournalDesign Studies
Early online date4 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


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


Dive into the research topics of 'Accelerating product prototyping through hybrid methods: Coupling 3D printing and LEGO'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this