AMS Spring 2023

Matt Denton Motorizes His Giant 3D Printed LEGO Go-Kart

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It’s a challenge to build a vehicle out of LEGOs, which is exactly what the makers of the LEGO Technic kit intended. They wanted users to be challenged and engaged in projects involving the plastic building blocks, and both kids and adults were happy to spend time carefully crafting models of cars and other machinery according to the kits. It’s satisfying to successfully complete a challenging project, but if building a go-kart from LEGOs is a challenge, imagine how much more difficult it is to build a super-sized one from 3D printed blocks.

That’s what creative and ambitious maker Matt Denton did recently, scaling up an old LEGO go-kart to five times its size and 3D printing enlarged versions of each of the kit’s 98 pieces before assembling the go-kart the way he would its smaller counterpart. His original intention was to build a go-kart that his eight-year-old nephew could sit in, but he wasn’t able to make it quite big enough, due to limitations like 3D printer build size. A younger child could likely sit inside the final product, however.

The point of go-karts is that they, well, go – so Denton recently decided to motorize the one he had 3D printed.

“Well no sooner had I built the Giant LEGO Go-Kart than I was thinking I’m going to have to motorize it!” he told 3DPrint.com.

“If it had been big enough to take my Nephew, I would have just put a motor on the back so he would have an electric kart. However, being too small for him the only option was to go full radio control! First thoughts were to hide the motors within the frame, but then I though it would be much cooler to use scaled up versions of the original Lego Technic motors! This decision became a particularly interesting challenge when it came to the steering.”

A giant LEGO go-kart requires giant LEGO motors, so Denton 3D printed several and encased working motors within them. He attached a DC motor to the front of the go-kart, and a brushless motor to the back, along with a lithium battery. He then took the go-kart to an empty parking lot to see how it would work with a remote control, and while there were a few mishaps involving parts falling off and needing to be strapped back on with zip ties, the overall result was pretty good. The go-kart reached a top speed of 26 km per hour, maintaining an average of 12.6 km per hour. Definitely not bad for a vehicle made from oversized LEGOs.

Denton also recently 3D printed a scaled-up version of a LEGO forklift as well, increasing the challenge with an even greater number of pieces than was required by the go-kart. He does all of his projects on his LulzBot 3D printers and documents them on YouTube – and if you’d like to try any of them for yourself, he has also made the files available on Thingiverse.

You can watch the go-kart’s many attempts to zoom around the parking lot below:

Are you thinking about 3D printing any of these projects? Let us know at 3DPrintBoard.com or below.

 

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