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Manufacturing of Lego bricks occurs at several locations around the world. Moulding is done in Billund, Denmark; Nyíregyháza, Hungary; Monterrey, Mexico and most recently in Jiaxing, China. Brick decorations and packaging are done at plants in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico and Kladno in the Czech Republic. The Lego Group estimates that in five decades it has produced 400 billion Lego blocks. Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion, or about 1140 elements per second. According to an article in BusinessWeek in 2006, Lego could be considered the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer; the factory produces about 306 million small rubber tires a year. The claim was reiterated in 2012.
Since 1963, Lego pieces have been manufactured from a strong, resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). As of September 2008, Lego engineers use the NX CAD/CAM/CAE PLM software suite to model the elements. The software allows the parts to be optimised by way of mould flow and stress analysis. Prototype moulds are sometimes built before the design is committed to mass production. The ABS plastic is heated to 232 °C (450 °F) until it reaches a dough-like consistency. It is then injected into the moulds at pressures between 25 and 150 tonnes, and takes approximately 15 seconds to cool. The moulds are permitted a tolerance of up to twenty micrometres, to ensure the bricks remain connected. Human inspectors check the output of the moulds, to eliminate significant variations in colour or thickness. According to the Lego Group, about eighteen bricks out of every million fail to meet the standard required. Lego factories recycle all but about 1 percent of their plastic waste from the manufacturing process. If the plastic cannot be re-used in Lego bricks, it is processed and sold on to industries that can make use of it. Lego has a self-imposed 2030 deadline to find a more eco-friendly alternative to the ABS plastic it currently uses in its bricks.
LIC - LEGO Instruction Creator, developed by Jeremy Czajkowski, is a cross-platform, Python, OpenGL & Qt powered desktop application for creating and editing LEGO instruction books. LIC imports 3D models, organizes them into submodels, pages & steps, and exports the end result as images or PDF. A rich, WYSIWYG UI editor, which provides a fully interactive preview window along side a drag & drop-enabled navigation tree, to help organize and layout your book. Portions of LIC are based on work of Remi Gagne. LIC will be part of the AIOI - LDraw All-In-One-Installer.
There are several robotics competitions which use the Lego robotics sets. The earliest is Botball, a national U.S. middle- and high-school competition stemming from the MIT 6.270 Lego robotics tournament. Other Lego robotics competitions include Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for students ages 6–9 and FIRST Lego League (FLL) for students ages 9–16 (age 9–14 in the United States, Canada, and Mexico). Jr.FLL and FLL offer real-world engineering challenges to participants. FLL uses Lego-based robots to complete tasks. Jr.FLL participants build models out of Lego elements. In its 2010 season, there were 16,070 FLL teams in over 55 countries. In its 2010 season, there were 2,147 Jr.FLL teams with 12,882 total student participants in the United States and Canada. The international RoboCup Junior football competition involves extensive use of Lego Mindstorms equipment which is often pushed to its extreme limits.
I did prefer the previous 3182 airport set as it had a lot more components. But, I realise that it makes more business sense to offer a little less than raise the price of an already expensive product. However, 60104 is still a nice set and is often very well discounted in the UK so, I ordered a pallet load from Tesco during their 3-for-2 which made them a half-priced no-brainer ;-)
My Lego Network is a social networking site that involves items, blueprints, ranks, badges which are earned for completing certain tasks, trading and trophies called masterpieces which allow users to progress to go to the next rank. The website has a built in inbox which allows users to send pre written messages to one another. The Lego Network includes automated non-player characters within called "Networkers", who are able to do things which normal users cannot do, sending custom messages, and selling masterpieces and blueprints. The site also has modules which are set up on the user's page that give the user items, or that display picture compositions. Before My Lego Network, there were Lego Club Pages, which essentially held the same purpose, although the design lacked complex interaction.
The box set weighs a little over 2kg and has about 694 pieces in total, including 6 minifigures: a pilot, 3 airport workers, a male and a female passenger. The whole build would get you almost an entire airport facade with a pretty big passenger plane, an airport/control tower build, and an airport service car that tows with it a luggage, fuel and and mobile stairway.
Agent 13 has a pretty plain appearance, with caramel-coloured wavy hair, and a black, spy-like top. Her torso has some nice details, with sharp, angular lines that all combine to form a rough outline of an upside down star. She has plain sand blue pants and rocks a sub-machine gun accessory. I like regular LEGO firearms, so it’s very nice to get one in this set as they’re fairly uncommon.