The problem is that while in general MegaBloks bricks fit with LEGO bricks, the quality control on the MB bricks seems to be much lower*, so the bricks/studs and holes are not always the same size.
As an example, I recently acquired a MB HALO Covenant Banshee ship for my son, and can safely show that:
The holes in studs do not readily accept rods (in this ...
There are MANY companies that offer third party stuff for NXT:
Mindsensors, already mentionned in pcantin's answer
Vision Subsystem - Capable of tracking up to 8 coloured objects
IR Obstacle Detector
Sony PS2 Controller Interface
Line Sensor Array
IR Distance Sensors (Long/mid/short range)
Moulds are maintained in-house.
As you say, the moulds are at the very core of the business of the LEGO company and are thus treated with all the seriousness you can imagine. Considering also that some moulds are in effect trade secrets by themselves (especially for parts which aren't publicly known yet), LEGO wouldn't want any of them to exit the company. (...
Using Mindstorms NXT software (NXT-G), you can transfer any file from NXT to computer. Open "NXT window" (NXT icon in the lower right corner of interface), then go to "memory" tab. Select a file in NXT and click on "upload" button.
Or - more convenient - you may use "NXT Explorer" feature of BricxCC (in the "tools" menu).
I suggest calling Lego customer service (1-800-835-4386) to ask them about a bulk order. Professional "brick artists" like Nathan Sawaya buy their brick directly from Lego. The bulk prices are decent as well. For example, through the LUGbulk program, we got 2x4 bricks for about 9.6 cents each (these sell for $0.30/ea on the Pick-a-brick website).
Also, here ...
The majority of sensors manufactured by HiTechnic (a third party company) are certified by The Lego Group. The company's website lists the following criteria required to be certified:
100% compatible with Mindstorms NXT
Meet the highest LEGO quality standards
Comply with all safety standards
RoHs Compliant (certified lead free)
These sensors ...
Mega Bloks: the well-known Canadian brand
Oxford toys - review
K'Nex - yes, they do bricks too (not sure about compatibility though)
Character Building from The Character Group, a range of licensed products including Dr Who, Deadly 60, HM Armed Forces and Ben 10 to name a few.
Disclaimer: some of these retrieved from the lugnet ...
My mother in law thought a set of MegaBlok duplo sized sets would be a great present, and while there are some fun elements in the set, overall the real Duplos are better quality, to the point we decided to sort out the sets and keep the brands separated. At first we had them mixed together, but the MegaBlok ones seem to be more flexible (perhaps thinner ...
From the post about Vertigo (the precursor to Rory's answer), TrilogyGlenIvy (the creator) stated:
Suction cup hangers were easily located in stores. Drilling a small hole and inserting a short section of copper tubing (1/8 “ or ~3 mm diameter) along with some vinyl glue produced the feet that I used.
Basically they are usually found in DIY/Home stores ...
The thing with ABS is a bit more than that simple. The general rule is that if you want to have different/better plastic you need to play with small amounts of co-polymers. 99-point-something of your plastic is the main co-polymer, but the 0-point-nothing decides about fine-tuning of properties. A bit more than 10 years ago a friend of mine was working for ...
There are several Chinese companies making DUPLO clones, many are listed in this fascinating article by Anthony Tomkins of UK LUG The Brickish Association.
Communist LEGO, a review of some Chinese copies
Online I would recommend BrickEngraver
I think your best bet would be to find a local trophy shop, most will engrave items. Take them some LEGO to test and they should be able to provide what you need without the need to pay shipping.
X-27's comment is correct, I have 40 years of LEGO collecting under my belt, and I have never seen any bricks with a speckle pattern like that.
You might go through the bricks you got, knock off bricks are very easy to spot once you have seen a few. Cheap looking plastic, dull colors, lack of Lego logos (almost every single part Lego makes is stamped ...
In my opinion, LEGO must follow clone brands very closely, and this for a number of reasons.
The first, which is obvious and has already been mentioned, is that they want to protect their own intellectual property. As such, they'll want to take legal action as soon as possible when one of their trademarks/copyrights is infringed.
The second one is actually ...
I can't actually offer any thoughts regarding anything but actual bricks, as the first - and only - megabloks purchase I ever made only contained bricks. While my experience with megablocks is limited, I feel confident in offering this advice: Don't do it.
My motivation for "playing" with Lego-style blocks at age 29 is probably pretty unique - I use them ...
I guess I'm too stunned (I mean, is this for real?) to answer anything remotely meaningful, although some obvious cons come to mind:
you get bricks which have been used, potentially a lot, and you have no clue how or by whom (well ok they say they sanitize them in between, but still)
you don't get to keep them (well maybe that's a pro given the first con).
You get to try LEGO sets to see if you like them before you buy
You can build LEGO sets that you might not be able to afford
You don't have to find a market for sets you don't want to keep long-term
You don't have to worry about lost parts, cleaning etc. because someone else takes care of those things for you
You don't need to find space to store all ...
About 8 to 10 years ago there was more RCX-compatible sensors makers on the web. Today, I don't think we'll find them unless we dig into the Internet Archive.
It looks like Techno-Stuff is still making some RCX-compatible components. Also, Mindsensors was making RCX-compatible components also but I couldn't find links to them through their website main ...
I have never paid customs fees on orders from BrickForge or BrickArms. The key is to ship via the US Postal Service. Shipping via couriers like UPS usually results in customs brokerage fees which is what drives up the cost.
In terms of semi/incompatible systems, there's a number of them that are supported through the Free Universal Construction Kit files for MakerBots and other 3D printers:
The Free Universal Construction Kit offers adapters between Lego, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K’Nex, Krinkles (Bristle Blocks), Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome, and Zoob.
Coko definitely does (See here: http://www.edex.com.au/coko-baby-blocks-transport-set-26-pieces.html). Not sure in which countries they are available.
There is another question around about a mystery company with an umbrella/smiley/anchor logo on the studs. I've only found System-size bricks and plates from them, but the asker implied she had found Duplo-...
It's probably not the best option to use no: according to Wikipedia, glue guns tend to operate at the following temperatures:
Low-temperature glue guns operate at approximately 120°C (248°F) [...] High-temperature guns operate at approximately 190°C (374 °F)
LEGO and Mega Bloks' primary component, ABS, has a melting point around 105°C (221°F), which is a ...
I haven't personally used the HiTechnic sensors, but the difference between a gyroscope and a compass is that one measures absolute orientation and the other measures change in orientation.
The compass measures absolute orientation via a magnetometer that measures the effect of the Earth's magnetic field on the sensor. The gyro sensor uses some form of MEMS ...
I don't believe there is a single piece that exists. It's certainly possible to create a mechanism much smaller than the one shown as well as one with fewer pieces.
In theory a single piece would not be possible, the mechanism consists of a minimum of two pieces for it to be possible: a rotating drive and a sliding yoke (as well as several additional pieces ...