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Lego 3D Printers

We all love those little bricks from Denmark. Playing with this and everything is possible.  And everything is possible with 3D printers. Doing the previous post, I realised many DIY printers are made of Lego’s.

Instead of writing about that previous post, I decided to made a post 100% about 3D printers in Lego. The machines I’ll be showing you are printing glue, plastic, Lego, or even chocolate!

Lego EV3 3D Printer 3.0

This machine is not that new since his creator comes with its third version. It’s powered by a EV3 Intelligent Brick and prints hot glue, as you can see in the video below:

In this here, a hot glue gun stand for hot end.
I personally don’t see the use of printing in glue, but building a 3D printer out of Lego is just amazing.

I had to say the progression of his machine is quite interesting. You can look at this visiting W1ll14m profile on Instructables, where he is showing the evolution from the 2.0 to 3.0.

LEGObot 3D Printer

Matthew Krueger built this LEGObot using Lego bricks (you didn’t expected this, did you?) from his “old box of Lego” as he says here.

3D Printer Lego

As the previous printer, it’s printing with hot glue, so don’t expect highest precision with it. But it still can be a good start and a first step before going further with hot plastic. Here it is in action.

Chimera

But he also made another printer: the Chimera. Fair enough, it’s not 100% made of Lego:

But look at the results!

Mastermind wanted to create a high resolution 3D printer without spending tons of money. And as a matter of fact, he succeed, since he spend less than 100$ of materials.

As you can see on the pictures above, the quality of printing is just amazing. The printing principle is different from what I’ve shown before on this website. The Chimera is what we call DLP printers. Most of the printers we know are the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) which consist to model objects deposing fused plastic.

To reuse his words:

A DLP printer uses the stationary projector to display the entire X and Y portions at once onto a resin that turn from a solid into a liquid from the light emitted by the projector in the shape of the projected image, and uses one axis for the Z motion.

Maybe a video will be more explanatory about how things are working?

Congrats as well, since he won a 3D printer contest couple of month ago.

Bricasso

This project here is 3D printing using Lego as material. And the most amazing thing is: you can scan and print a copy!

But to be more accurate, it’s more an homage to 3D printer. For the moment, it seems to convert 2D pictures into Lego pixel-art models.

He use a intelligent brick Mindstorm EV3 Brick to power the machine which can ‘print’ using 9 different colours.

This machine is more like a mosaic Lego printer than a proper 3D printer, but it’s still quite impressive.

MakerLegoBot

Still using Lego bricks as ‘ink’, Will Gorman build a printer similar to the Bricasso.

You’ve got about 450 steps before arriving at the final printer. Not as the Bricasso, it’s powered by 3 Lego Mindstorms NXT Bricks, along 9 NXT motors and allow you to build 3D lego models. As said, the previous machine was more about converting 2D pictures into mosaic, as you can see on the video, here it can clearly build using the Z-axis.

You can see the whole working process of this MakerLegoBot visiting battlebricks. All the steps are detailed and the final result is outstanding.
Will Gorman also participated to the World Makerfaireof NYC in 2014 with his printer.

3D Chocolate Printer

Yes. You read it correctly. After hot glue, after Lego bricks, it’s time to print CHOCOLATE!

It’s very awesome to be able to print with this delicious material. But I think, if you’re a chocolate addict, it’s faster to eat it in bars than wait for a printed one.

You’ve got different models:

It’s have been created by saul from instructables.com. You can have a look at the different steps to build it in here.
Unfortunately, the project was made a long time ago (in a galaxy far away…), and the documentation is incomplete.

But fortunatly for us, someone used it as inspiration and reached this amazing goal!

Look at the video below:

This printer has been build by Gosse Adema. Actually, this guy already made a 3D Printer (coming on the next point) and saw the project of saul. 10 years after, he came up with this machine which is in fact, an improvement of the previous classic 3D printer he made.

He had to do many improvement to go through this process. Printing in chocolate is not the same thing than printing plastic, but the process is the same. So he basically had to come up with a chocolate extruder.

At the end, the result works pretty good:

Lego 3D Printer

As told you just above, Gosse Adema created a 3D printer out Lego. This one is a classic regular 3D printer which prints in plastic.

This is based on the Prusa i3 Rework model. On this video, he used Nema 17 motors which are perfect match with Legos:

LEGO and Nema 17 stepper motors are a perfect match. A default LEGO brick of 4 by 2 studs is 32 x 16 x 9.6 mm. Nema stepper motors have m3 holes at a distance of 31 mm. Attaching the Nema 17 stepper with LEGO technic, using a felt damper/isolator and m3 x 15 bolts, gives a solid base (image 4). See this Lego Dimension Guide for more lego math.

Check at the instructions to mount you own 3D Printer made of Lego!

LEGO 360° Milling Machine

One more for the road! This is not really 3D Printing as we usually know, but it’s quite amazing. Arthur Sacek developed a milling machine. With the 360° rotation, it’s give you similar possibilities of creation than with a classic 3D printer.

The final result is impressive, but the material used here is floral foam. I don’t especially have problem with that but the truth is you won’t have the same solidity than with PLA or ABS plastics. It will depend of what you want to print.

Unfortunately, for this machine, I couldn’t find any information on how to build it, or where to buy it.

Conclusion

As a matter of price, it’s of course more cheap if you can find back the Lego you had when you were a kid.

But if your mom can’t find your bricks back, it’s might be worthless. If your printer is powered by a NXT Intelligent Brick ($169.99), then, you’ll need a Green Baseplate ($7.99) to place the bricks, and some Lego Technic package to provide gears and articulated items (about $80-$100) and eventually for a Medium Creative Brick Box ($34.99) so you have enough pieces to build the structures.
So we’ve got a total of $300 to 350. Some of the machines are working with 3 Intelligent bricks and 9 Lego motors (about 25 each), so you can reach the total of $915.

But Lego bricks are so fantastic! Honestly, I wouldn’t do the machines in here. Especially because I will need to buy all those bricks and it will be quite expensive. With this amount of money, I’d be more interested into a classic desktop 3D printer.

If you’ve go extra bricks, you can still use then to teach maths to you kids 😉

Needless to say those are machines I found across my Internet browsin. There are many more I didn’t mentioned but don’t by shy and share them in here!

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