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How Big is the Difference Between Building Block Parts Made in China & LEGO?

Here is A Comparison and Evaluation of LEGO, Gobricks, DoubleEagle, and MI Building Block Parts

Creative Stance Statement: As a fan of building blocks, this review is entirely for fun. The sources of the building blocks are self-purchased unless otherwise stated.
Nowadays, when it comes to the quality of building block parts, many newcomers to the world of building blocks are curious about how much of a gap there is between Chinese brands and LEGO. People frequently ask me which Chinese brand boasts higher-quality parts, but it’s a difficult question to answer accurately. Each brand boasts its own advantages in certain aspects, and different experienced players may have obvious subjective perceptions.
Since I have owned and used building block parts from these 4 brands, I can make a comparison for reference. However, it is unfeasible to compare each part separately because there are too many to do so. As a result, I have chosen several representatives and frequently used parts from different categories for comparison.

The evaluation will concentrate on parts relating to technology since I am personally better familiar with building blocks having a tech theme.

Before starting the evaluation, I would like to make the following statements:

This evaluation will not draw any overall conclusions about which brand's parts are better or worse. The emphasis is on presenting objective facts and sharing my personal subjective feelings about specific parts, for reference purposes only. The building block sets or individual parts that I bought are what were used in the evaluation. For building block parts, manufacturers may develop new molds or refine existing molds, thus different batches of parts may differ somewhat. As a result, my assessment is solely based on the components I currently have and may not accurately reflect all batches of those components.
#2780 Black Friction Pins
One of the most important parts in tech-themed building block sets, as it directly affects the overall hand feel of the blocks when assembling and the stability of the finished model.
The examination samples show that LEGO is nearly flawless in every way. Gobricks, DoubleEagle, and MI parts all feature excellent surfaces, especially good at handling features like residual glue injection points and parting lines, also reflected in part numbers and cavity numbers on the surface, demonstrating the precision. In terms of actual assembly experience, parts of Gobricks fit tighter with each other, ensuring a more stable structure while attaching harder to take apart. Double Eagle and MI, on the other hand, have almost the same hand feel as LEGO.
It’s worth mentioning that this Black Friction Pin part isn't just for securing thick-arm sections. It also serves another purpose, which is to occasionally insert a soft axle into the middle hole. However, the hole in the center of the DoubleEagle version of this part is too small and not circular to allow a soft axle. These two DoubleEagle friction pins with a track-shaped cross-section, together with the upcoming #6558 Blue Friction Pin, provide a hidden advantage. You can simply determine the direction by hand feel, making the exposed friction pins on the final model more tidy and consistent. Of course, parts of other brands can be manually felt as well, but you may need to look more closely.
#6558 Blue Friction Pins
Just like the Black Friction Pin, this is also one of the most used parts in tech-themed building block sets, and it directly affects the overall feel of the blocks when assembling and the stability of the finished model.
Based on the evaluation samples, it performs similar as the #2780 black friction pin, and it’s very close to LEGO. The Gobricks components are slightly tighter, allowing a better grip, whilst the DoubleEagle and MI sections are more like LEGO. Furthermore, the Gobricks version of this part may be used to install a soft axle, whereas the other 3 brands either cannot or are only very difficult.
#32002 3/4 Smooth Pin
This kind of part is used in a tiny number of tech-themed building blocks.
Based on the evaluation samples, LEGO/Gobricks/DoubleEagle/MI all perform very well, with very similar mold details and overall presentation. In terms of assembly feel, I didn’t see any noticeable differences.
#4274 Smooth Half Pin
This type of part is found in only a few tech-themed building block sets.
Based on the evaluation samples, the overall differences are very small. The details on the exterior are handled very well, and there are almost no differences in the feel when assembling.
However, there is a slight difference in the bottom of the DoubleEagle’s sample, where there are some slight burrs. Additionally, besides being inserted into hole-arm parts at the end of the pin, this part has a raised head that is occasionally used to insert into the opening of hole-arm parts. But mentioning that the raised head of the MI part I have cannot be smoothly inserted into the opening of hole-arm parts.
#32054 Cross Axle Pin
This part is used in in small quantities in almost all tech-themed building block sets.
Based on the evaluation samples, LEGO version is pretty much perfect. The Gobricks and MI versions of this part are almost indistinguishable from LEGO. However, DoubleEagle version has a non-circular shape at the end of the cross axle hole. As for the feel when assembling, there are no significant differences among these parts.
In the case of this part of LEGO version, there are slight burrs or rough edges at the bottom. As shown in the image below:
#15100 1x2 Pin Connector
This part is used in almost all tech-themed building block sets, and not in small quantities.
Based on the evaluation samples, all 4 brands have very good surface details. As for the feel when assembling, the MI version of this part is slightly more difficult to insert, while the parts from the other 3 brands have almost no differences.
Additionally, this part of MI version has two notches on the platform of the hole. This might be designed to facilitate the removal of cross axles, as axle caps also have similar notches.
#87082 1x3 Pin Connector
Used in small quantities almost all tech-themed building block sets.
Based on the evaluation samples, the usage condition of this part is basically the same as #15100. There are no significant differences among the brands. The MI version of this part is slightly more difficult to insert.
#32013 Cross Axle Connector
This part is used in almost all tech-themed building blocks with relatively large quantities. This includes the other 5 kinds of cross axle connectors with different angles, such as #32034/#32016/#32192/#32015/#32014. Here will evaluate #32013 as a representative since the playing experience is similar for these different angle cross axle connectors across the brands.
Based on the evaluation samples, all four brands have very good surface details. Among them, this part of MI version stands out the most in terms of mold surface texture.
There have been instances where DoubleEagle version of this part was found to be slightly loose, meaning it’s prone to slipping off after inserting the cross axle.
#32184 1x3 Cross Axle with Pin Connector
This part is widely used in almost all tech-themed building block sets.
Based on the evaluation samples, all four brands have done a great job with the surface details. Except for the DoubleEagle and MI, LEGO and Gobricks feature a visible circular recessed area on one side of the part, that may alter the appearance when assembling, thereby perfectionist players should keep this in mind. There are no significant differences when assembling among the four brands.
#42003 1x3 Cross Axle with Pin Connector
Almost all tech-themed building sets will use a fair amount of this part.
From the evaluation samples, all four brands have done a great job with the surface details.
Same as the part #32184, LEGO and Gobricks, except for the DoubleEagle and MI, feature a visible glue injection circular recessed area of the part, that may alter the appearance when assembling.
Additionally, both LEGO and Gobricks of this part have a circular hole on one side, possibly used as an exhaust vent to prevent air from getting trapped in the mold, which is not available on DoubleEagle or MI.
Moreover, the surface of DoubleEagle of this part isn’t completely flat, as seen in the picture.
Besides, there were earlier instances of slight misalignment in the cross axle hole of this Gobricks part, but it appears that they have improved the mold in recent months and the issue hasn’t arisen again.

#63869 2×3 Cross Axle and Pin Connector

Almost all tech-themed building sets will use in a decent amount.
From the evaluation samples, the version of this part from Gobricks and MI is very similar to LEGO. In terms of the feel when connecting and inserting, there’s no noticeable difference among the four brands.
Similar to #42003, this part of older versions of Gobricks had a tiny misalignment in the cross axle hole, and the issue hasn’t occurred in recent months since improved.
#6536 1×2 Cross Axle and Pin Connector
Widely used in almost all tech-themed building sets.
From the evaluation samples, this part is almost identical to #42003. However, this part in DoubleEagle version looks different from the other three brands.
#32524 Thick Axle Connector with Seven Holes
Support the beams in tech-themed building sets, this part with various lengths is used in a significant amount, available for thick axle connectors, and here take the #32524 thick axle connector for an example.
From the evaluation samples, all the brands have done a great job with the surface appearance, and there’s no noticeable difference when playing.
Regarding the situation of injection points, Gobricks and DoubleEagle place the injection points on the side of the part without no need to worry about the orientation of the outer surface when assembling, avoiding the appearance of disordered injection points on the final exposed surface of the assembled building. While LEGO and MI are on the surface (Gobricks adopted the same method previously, but have switched to a new mold recently, although some thick axle connectors still have injection points on the surface).
#32140 2×4 L-shaped Thick Axle Connector
Widely used in large amount of tech-themed building sets.
From the evaluation samples, all the brands have done a great job with the surface appearance with no noticeable difference when assembling. However, the injection point on the side of Gobrickd and DoubleEagle versions differs from that of thick axle connections in LEGO and MI versions.
Additionally, there are occasional instances in DoubleEagle version of this part having excess residue at the injection point.
#32269 20-Tooth Gear
One of the commonly used gears in tech-themed building sets.
From the evaluation samples, in terms of appearance, the precision of the parts from several brands looks really good. The surface treatment effect of MI and LEGO is basically the same.
In terms of the actual usage of gears I've used, I felt that the domestic gears were basically the same as LEGO. Many building sets require high-precision gears and transmission parts, like the RH400 excavator, crane, and Land Rover, I’ve never had any issues with the domestic parts in this regard.
I haven’t conducted extreme tests specifically for gears, so it is difficult to say for sure that there is absolutely no difference between domestic gears and LEGO gears.
#94925 16-Tooth Gear
One of the most commonly used gears in tech-themed building sets. There is no superfluous DoubleEagle gear among my parts inventory.
From the evaluation samples, the feeling experience is the same as the previous 16-tooth gear.
#6589 12-Tooth Gear
One of the most commonly used gears in tech-themed building sets. There is no superfluous DoubleEagle gear among my parts inventory.
From the evaluation samples, the feeling experience is the same as the previous gear.
#32270 16-Tooth Gear
One of the most commonly used gears in tech-themed building sets. There is no superfluous DoubleEagle gear among my parts inventory.
From the evaluation samples, the feeling experience is the same as the previous gear.
#61927 & 61904 Large Push Rod
Widely used in some special models, like excavators, cranes, and so on. From the evaluation samples, all three brands performed really well in terms of appearance and other details.
In terms of actual usage, there are no noticeable differences. Previously, I used a large push rod in LEGO version for my crane, there was no difference in performance when I converted to a large push rod in the Gobricks version. And for the excavator and crawler crane MOCs I recently made, I used large push rod of MI version.
The large push rod of MI version combines the push rod head with the push rod itself for compatibility with the other two large push rod sets, but then the cross axle inserted at the end is one unit shorter (LEGO and Gobricks require a 3-unit long cross axle, while MI only requires a 2-unit long cross axle).

Tech Panels

I don't have all four brands of tech panels, so I won’t compare and evaluate each specific tech panel here.
There are also cross axle among other commonly used parts. However, it’s difficult to capture the differences in cross axles in photos, and in fact, similar to gears, I personally don’t find any significant differences. Therefore, I won’t include a comparison of cross axles.
The purpose of this review is not to compare all tech-themed building set parts but instead to give new players some understanding.
Finally, regardless of each player’s opinions and preferences regarding different brands of parts, there is one fact that I believe most people can see to some extent, the evident development momentum and continuous improvement of some domestic building set parts in recent years.
As players, we greatly anticipate that domestic building set parts will continue to get better and better!
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