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When did TLG change the small posts on the underside of the modern bricks and plates , eg 1x6 and 1x4, to hollow ones?

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As an aside, this change is probably still ongoing. New molds will be done that way (I assume to save on plastic), but replacing existing molds which still function perfectly just for this would be too expensive, so you'll still find both types in recent sets. No idea when it began, though. –  Joubarc Jul 26 '12 at 18:27
    
In my 2012 star wars sets 9492, 9493 and 9495, the plates have hollow "posts" and the bricks have all solid posts, so I guess basically I have 2 questions, 1: when did they start to introduce the hollow posts? and- 2: did they stop using hollow posts for bricks or are they still phasing solid posts out? –  David Simpson Jul 26 '12 at 18:57
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Pictures? Not sure what you mean. –  Aaron D. Marasco Jul 27 '12 at 1:11
    
Basically I was answering 2. : still phasing out. But they probably won't force it, so it can take an awful lot of time. Also, while we AFOLs make a distinction between both versions, LEGO doesn't internally - as long as two parts have the same functionality, they're treated as identical. –  Joubarc Jul 27 '12 at 5:49
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Here's a pic of 1x6 plates as an example:- img28.imageshack.us/img28/6226/dsc01854il.jpg –  David Simpson Jul 27 '12 at 15:16
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1 Answer

I can confirm that some bricks have hollow posts. I ran across this in attempting to answer a "how much does a brick weigh" question. What I thought was a homogenous batch of bricks turned out to have a few with hollow posts. The bricks were all purchased new in the last three years.

From a "material cost productivity" standpoint, it will be in TLG's best interest to migrate to the hollow posts since parts from these molds will require less material to serve the same function (but not immediately). An expedient time to do this would be when a mold is at end of life requires replacement. So, I would expect to see significant variation continue for years to come. The balance point is the cost of replacing a single mold with the reduction in processed material costs over the expected remaining life of the mold. So the older the mold is the less cost effective it is to replace prematurely, but the newer one represents less time in service to amortize the mold over fewer piece parts... both of these things mean that the replacement will likely be when the mold normally reaches end of life. Since the useful life is very long, it is more likely that we are seeing parts from line or factory expansions.

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I would tend to agree with all of this, and we've established that non-hollow tubes still exist as of today for various manufacturing reasons - but we still don't know when they started using hollow ones, which was the original question. –  Joubarc Nov 30 '12 at 7:51
    
I was answering question #2 (ref comments). If we are going to have more questions like this, it would be helpful to get some current or former employees to join the group and respond. The original question will not have a simple answer. As a manufacturing process that would have needed to be developed, the TLG likely "used" solid posts long before they started shipping solid posts. Additionally there would have been a lag between shipping and customers seeing them. –  Daniel Saban Dec 1 '12 at 14:10
    
I believe that hollow studs likely appeared long before hollow posts and the manufacturing process development required to achieve the hollow stud, led to the further improvements required to implement the hollow post. So what the original poster seems to really want for question #1 is a history with milestone dates for some indeterminate purpose. I'm better with the "why" on this than the "when". –  Daniel Saban Dec 1 '12 at 14:13
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