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.
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.
Erica 10 version
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.
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.
Please, pledge your support for the project on LEGO Ideas if you haven't already, and help Steve get it over the finishing line!