Support this typewriter on LEGO Ideas

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UK LEGO Masters winner Steve Guinness' typewriter project on LEGO Ideas is nearing 10k supporters so I thought I'd ask him a few questions about it.

What inspired you to submit a Typewriter to LEGO Ideas?

I originally designed and made a LEGO Typewriter as part of the final part of the LEGO Masters TV series back in 2017. It was part of a large MOC where there was a full size brick built adult, sitting at a desk (also made of LEGO) and looking stressed by his work.

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Original typewriter build

Originally I had wanted him sitting with a laptop, but thought this wouldn’t make a very interesting build so I came up with the idea of making a mechanical LEGO Typewriter that could actually move, to give the scene some additional interest.

The overall scene depicted the relationship between an Adult and their inner child, and the importance of getting the balance right between work and play. After the TV show, we didn’t get to keep any of our builds, so I remade it at home, with number improvements and decided to submit it on to LEGO Ideas.

Why do you think it would make a good set?

It’s totally unique and original and as far as I can see, pretty different from anything they have done in the past. I think it could appeal to a wide range of LEGO Fans. For Adults it would be an interesting build, and a great display piece at home or in the office, and it might rekindle some childhood memories of using a real typewriter before the computer revolution took over.

For younger people it would again be an interesting build, and could serve as a bit of a history lesson in to how technology had changed over time. At the very least, it would be a great parts pack including a set of printed alphabet tiles!

What updates have you added to the design since you first submitted the project?

I have actually made seven different versions of the typewriter, from initial prototype, LEGO Masters version, modified version for the initial Ideas submission, one was made as a gift, and then I have made a multicolour version, a sand green version (this was based on a typewriter once owned by Ole Kirk Christiansen, an Erica 10 model) and then finally a version that is fully motorised using Mindstorms EV3.

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Multicoloured version

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Erica 10 version

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Fully motorised Mindstorms version

Looking at some of the recent LEGO ideas projects that have made it to market, I have noticed that some are changed quite significantly, so I will be very interested to see how much they would change mine, which version they would base the design on and how much they would involve me in the process?

What have you done to promote the project?

I originally submitted the project in March 2018. It received the first couple of thousand votes really quickly and then has been growing steadily, with a couple of steep periods of growth when it was shared as submission of the week or similar on the LEGO Ideas weekly emails. It’s been featured in Blocks Magazine, and I have taken it to a number of LEGO fan events to try and get more people to see it and hopefully vote! Its hard to quantify how much each of these things helped but I have wanted to do as much as I could to give it the best chance of reaching the 10,000 vote milestone.

View image at flickr

An early version on display in a LEGO store

I recently had it on display in my local library and often have a leaflet in my back pocket just in case I get chatting to someone who is interested in a little more information! It’s very hard not to get fixated with the number of supporters, and I keep a note on my phone of how many votes I get each day!

What would it mean to you to get to 10,000 supporters?

For me the goal, and the achievement is 10,000 supporters: after that it’s out of my hands and you never really find out what it is that guides the LEGO ideas panel in their final choice. However I do dream of the day when I could walk in to a LEGO shop and see a product that I had designed on the shelf! In my personal collection.

I don’t think I have any duplicated sets, or keep BNIB sets or even boxes once I have made a set! But for this one, I think I would make an exception! My family are fantastic in the support they give me for my obsession with LEGO, and I would love to be able to give them something back, that they can be really proud of.

Thanks Steve!

Please, pledge your support for the project on LEGO Ideas if you haven't already, and help Steve get it over the finishing line!

40 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Supported #8650!

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By in Canada,

I love the letter tiles. Supported!

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By in United States,

There's a couple of projects getting close to 10k votes now that I've been really hoping make it through, and this is definitely one of them!

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By in United States,

I think it’s a great and very imaginative build but not a good ideas set. Zero playability and as he eludes to, a vast majority of Lego’s target audience has never seen a typewriter. I think Ideas needs to get away from the “sit and gather dust” releases.

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By in United States,

Supported, best of luck.

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By in Italy,

Supported: great job.

@JDC I don't see much playability in other Ideas sets (i.e. Ship in a Bottle), nonetheless the creativity shown in these sets promotes them from dust-gathering objects to works of art.

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By in United Kingdom,

Totally agree with you JDC. We need sets with playability. Or both playability and display. The Tree House is a perfect example of that. Wish we had more of those.

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By in United States,

#8703 supported! It's a fantastic looking build. I was fascinated by old typewriters as a child, even though they weren't used any more.

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By in United States,

@dingbat591 You are correct, and I didn't support or buy the ship in a bottle either. There is no doubt there is tremendous skill in developing MOCs like these but they have very limited appeal. Perhaps Lego could create a subset of ideas as Lego ART for these sets that do not directly compete with more playable sets. Birds and the Pop Up Book could easily fit into this category.

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By in Japan,

Printed keys are nice, but if only they would interact.

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By in United Kingdom,

Whats a typewriter?

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By in United States,

#8723 and looking forward to what the future will bring for this great project!

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By in Switzerland,

I had already noticed this project.
It is different from most of the submissions.
And myself I would like to have and build it.

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By in United Kingdom,

supported.

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By in United States,

Does it come with a jeep?

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By in United Kingdom,

Must support!!! Original and innovative unlike 99% of IDEAs... nothing against that vast majority. It’s just that too many projects are spin offs of something well famous and as much as designs are great they are missing uniqueness!

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By in United Kingdom,

Wow, it's beautiful! Limited play value? Fair enough, but I'm not sure the majority of Creator Mini Coopers or Technic Bucket Wheel Excavators get a huge amount of play in the months after being built, either. I think a lot of people like to display these sorts of sets as conversation pieces, and the typewriter certainly would be one. It's true that many children will not be familiar with the device, but I suspect the sales for IDEAS skew strongly towards "adults buying for themselves or other adults" anyway.

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By in United States,

Even though I had a computer (I'm 22), I learned to type on a 1980s electric typewriter (hyperlexia and OCD; plus computers rarely mixed when I needed to get work done; so the teacher gave me an old one they no longer used to type papers on). As a big fan of machines and mechanisms; mechanical typewriters interest me a lot. My great-grandfather's old typewriter needs some work but can be brought back. Been looking for an old Remington to score for cheap for quite some time.

Supported. Yeah, not exactly "play value"; but Ideas needs something interesting. The build for this seems really challenging. These licensed diorama sets are getting old. And as a Technic enthusiast, this is cool.

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By in United States,

Cool design, I’d appreciate it, but I’m just not sure TLG would actually make it. Only time will tell though, best of luck.

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By in United States,

THIS IS TOTALLY WICKED

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By in France,

Cool idea. Even more as it actually works

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By in Germany,

Love the Erica 10 version the most. But the others are also worthy of being made into offical sets.

And @JDC: couldn't DISagree more. Imho Ideas sets are not meant mainly as play sets but as elaborate display pieces. LEGO has enough play sets through all kinds of themes, let's at least keep some sets as cool display pieces, like most Ideas sets, the Architecture line or the Star Wars UCS series.

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By in Austria,

If I wanted an antique typewriter as a display piece, I'd rather get a real one.

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By in United Kingdom,

I guess if you modified it with some stud shooters it could be fun.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Spike730 then stop buying Lego and buy the real things. All Lego products are models of "real" things.

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By in Austria,

You're missing my point. I can hardly put a real tree house on my shelf.

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By in United Kingdom,

You could put a bonsai treehouse on your shelf. Mice could live in it.

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By in United States,

If it had all the keys maybe. Something about my brain makes me anxious that not all keys are there. It's like having a nightmare that my report is due tomorrow, but I can't finish it because my typewriter doesn't have all the keys!

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By in Germany,

@lippidp: watch the "8-bit guy" on YouTube for how to repair missing keys on all kinds of keyboards ;-)

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By in United States,

Supported. Very Nice!

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By in United Kingdom,

I wouldn't buy it - no playability and not really any display value for me either.

But I'd love 2x2 square (not round!) letter tiles to be easily available.

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By in United States,

I supported this!

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By in United Kingdom,

no

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By in Germany,

A typewriter is such a cool piece of technology, just like mechanical watches, which appear to have a large fanbase. The inner workings always fascinated me as a kid and as my father was a teacher and therefor constantly needed his typewriter we always had one right up to the late Nineties when he finally switched to using a PC. We still have two typewriters though, one completely mechanical and one electric. Both are fascinating though.

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By in United Kingdom,

There is a mini typewriter build in one of the new classic sets - #11005.

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By in United States,

I don't think TLG will approve this

Lego is supposed to be a miniature world that you can build and interact with, limited largely by your imagination. These worlds, as Jamie Berard once stated, may never have existed, or, expanding upon that, simply cannot exist. The Treehouse and Yellow Submarine are Ideas sets that reflect this. Old typewriters are mundane and generally regarded as garage sale junk. The appeal is very niche and the aesthetics are limited- a critical point of differentiation from the Ship in a Bottle, which is quite pretty, using the 1x1 trans light blue plates in a way never before seen, and a huge departure from typical Lego. In contrast, the walls and back of the typewriter have no areas of visual interest for the build, and the visible stud holders underneath the keys look rough.

Not a fan

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By in United States,

#8985, getting closer!

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