The LEGO Ideas Typewriter

lego typewriter

The LEGO(r) Ideas Typewriter is a brick replica of an old-fashioned typewriter that moves and sounds like the real thing. It is the brainchild of AFOL Steve Guinness, and has received a lot of attention from the LEGO community.

The set features moving keys and typebar, a turning platen roller, and a traversing carriage that works on paper to make typing fun and authentic. It also comes with a letter written by LEGO chairman Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, and is meant to spark nostalgia in younger viewers who have never seen a typewriter before.


A typewriter has a center typebar that rises every time you press a key, linked to a carriage that moves across as you type. It also features a platen roller that you can feed real paper into.

Originally submitted as a LEGO Ideas submission, this brick-built typewriter has some serious internal mechanisms to keep it going. If you’re a fan of Technic, this is the perfect set for you.

The earliest part of the build involves threading the entire collection of key levers onto a series of four large axles, with spacers to prevent any over-tightening or misalignment. This can be a tedious and time-consuming process, but it is also the most important step. If this isn’t done correctly, the keys won’t work.

At this stage you’ll also be assembling the ribbon spools, which attach to the end of some Mixel ball joints. The ribbon is then encased in a good looking black cylinder, and positioned behind the key guard. Once that’s done, the illusion of a working manual typewriter is almost perfect.

After that, the final stage is assembling the big paper roller, which sits inside a gulley at the back of the typewriter and connects to pneumatic cylinders to bump it sideways. It’s a great idea for this part of the build, as it adds a lot of visual interest and it looks a bit like a classic car that you might see at the race track.

This isn’t the first LEGO typewriter, but it is the first to be built with all of the necessary internal components that you need to keep a working typewriter going. In addition to the basic keys, this set includes a number of sprockets, connectors and a primed quad-pneumatic cylinder element that helps to make it all possible.

While I’m a huge fan of all the different components that come with this set, I’d have to say that the overall look and feel aren’t quite as aesthetically pleasing as other LEGO builds. I think that’s because this one has such a lot of technical parts to it, and that makes it a little difficult to get to grips with.


Whether you’re a writer or just a fan of vintage writing tools, LEGO has a typewriter set to suit you. The latest release from the company’s Ideas theme – a collection of’must have’ sets designed by fans and voted for by the general public – 21327 Typewriter has all the makings of a classic retro-style model.

The 2,079-piece set is inspired by the old-fashioned typewriters used by LEGO founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen and includes a platen roller you can feed real paper into. It also has a centre typebar that rises each time a letter key is pressed, linked to a carriage that moves across as you type.

And that’s not all – 21327 Typewriter is also cleverly designed to clatter like a real typewriter when it’s generating letters. The model has pneumatic cylinders that ‘bumps’ the type bar sideways, producing a resonant clack as it reaches the end of each line.

But just as impressive is the way this model has been put together, combining both traditional brick-built construction and a host of new elements. As LEGO designers James May, Wes Talbott and Samuel Johnson showed off at this year’s Recognised LEGO Fan Media Day, 21327 Typewriter is a complex build.

To make it even more challenging, the team have also included an Easter egg. This is a small sticker on the back of the typewriter’s platen roller that reads ‘SG/NGUOYD’, which stands for ‘Steve Guinness/Never Give Up On Your Dreams’.

So if you’re looking for a model that reflects the era of the LEGO Group’s founding father, and wants to see how far you can go with your building skills, then 21327 Typewriter is the perfect option. It’s a fun and unique addition to any desk, or makes an excellent gift for yourself and a fellow LEGO fan – especially if you love typing.

However, just like most other LEGO Ideas projects, 21327 Typewriter has a few quirks. First, this is one of the most difficult themes to nudge into production, with each project having to garner at least 10,000 votes to be reviewed by the LEGO Group – a process that can take years. Second, this particular set was based on a design submitted by a LEGO Masters champion and Blocks magazine contributor who got the votes – but only with a few tweaks to get it into the official Lego box. Finally, the designers have chosen to paint 21327 Typewriter sand green rather than grey.


The construction of a LEGO typewriter is a complex process. It requires a number of bricks that are used to create different parts of the machine. This includes the key levers, the type bar and the paper roller. The whole machine needs to be built properly so that it works correctly and looks like a real typewriter.

This typewriter was conceived by Steve Guinness, a LEGO fanatic from the United Kingdom. He submitted the idea to the Lego Ideas program, where fans can submit their ideas for sets that are created by the company. Once it was approved, the set was built.

After receiving feedback, the LEGO Company has incorporated some changes to the design. The result is a 2,079-piece set that actually types.

To get a typewriter to work, you need a centre typebar that rises each time a letter key is pressed, and a carriage that moves across as you type. The typebar is made of LEGO pieces that are shaped to look like letters, while the carriage is a platen roller that can be filled with paper.

Once you’ve glued the pieces together, it’s time to assemble the moving typebar mechanism and its sprockets. This part of the build involves threading the entire collection of type levers, along with extra spacers and joists, onto four long, anchored axles that run the full width of the LEGO Ideas Typewriter.

These axles connect to pneumatic cylinders that are then hooked to the platen roller, which sits within a gulley at the back of the typewriter. These cylinders then bump the platen and paper roller sideways, which enables the typebar to move as it strikes the paper.

The sprockets also have to be connected to the caddy, which kicks the type bar upwards whenever you strike a key. Lastly, you need to hook the platen and caddy over the end of each type lever, which clips the moving type bar mechanism in place.

This model is a great way to spend quality time with your family, and it will be a great conversation piece when you have friends over. It’s also a great gift for any LEGO fan or writer.


If you’re looking for something that will be interesting for the whole family, this lego typewriter is a good choice. It’s also quite a bit cheaper than the piano that came from LEGO Ideas in 2017.

It might not be for the diehard fan of fortified castles, pirate ships or spaceships, but it’s a great way to show off LEGO wizardry without putting your wallet at risk. The design is very well done, and even the studs that show on the front of the machine are perfectly balanced and not obtrusive.

As with most of the sets from the LEGO Ideas line, the idea here is to create a display piece first and foremost. While this isn’t the most realistic typewriter you can find, it does have some tinkering functionality built in and it is certainly a fun one to play with on occasion.

While most of the pieces in this set are the usual Technic and System ones, there is a single carriage that moves across the keyboard and a platen roller that can be fed real paper into. It all works very well, and the clacks of the typing bar are quite lovely.

The build isn’t difficult, and the manual for this set contains a lot of useful information. There’s a section that tells you about the history of the typewriter and how it was used in the past, plus there’s an interview with Steve Guinness, who designed this set. He is a school teacher of Design and Technology, and he also runs workshops in local schools, libraries and museums.

In a nice nod to the history of the typewriter, this set comes with a letter written by Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, a member of the fourth generation of the LEGO Group’s owner family. This letter is written in 43 languages and each of these letters can be inserted into the typewriter to complete the set as a display piece.

The whole thing is presented in a beautiful sand green outer case. The design of the case is quite a nice change from the black background that usually goes with 18+ LEGO theming, and it has a slick finish to it. There’s also a small switch on the side that lets you choose between red and black ink for the typewriter ribbon, which works pretty well, although I think it’s probably too bright to be effective in writing any actual text with.