Out of the hundreds of different 3D printers we have seen over the last several years, probably some of the most interesting ones are those constructed almost entirely out of Lego bricks. Certainly not machines that any serious 3D printing enthusiast would choose to use, there have been a few different LEGO-constructed 3D printers that we have covered, such as this one which was spawned from an Instructables project earlier this year.
Almost all of us grew up playing with LEGO bricks when we were younger. In fact, one of my fondest memories as a child was pulling out my huge toy chest filled with a mixture of LEGO sets and building objects for hours on end. By now, I thought that we had seen all that LEGOs and 3D printing could possibly have to offer, but today I stumbled upon a project which has certainly proved me wrong.
In an effort to have their project turned into a LEGO set by the company, BlueBrick Studios this week submitted an idea to Ideas.Lego.com, one which is sure to challenge the very fabric of 3D printing in general.
Using bricks that come with the robot-inspired LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 set, BlueBrick Studios built an incredible 3D printer out of LEGOs which prints, not using filament or resins, but using only LEGO bricks. Part robot, part 3D printer, this machine is capable of grasping 2×2 LEGO bricks from a platform and then placing those bricks down based off of a simple computer program.
“After spending 20 hours of total building, filming and modifying, this has got to be my biggest and best project,” stated the designer, who goes by the handle of ev3rything_is_aw3some on the Lego Mindstorm website.
The printer uses three motors, one for each axis of movement, which are included in the MINDSTORMS EV3 set. It uses these movements along with an attached gripper to grab a specific brick, move to an exact location on a LEGO platform, and firmly deposit that brick on the platform. The current machine is capable of printing structures which are as large as 5 bricks tall, 14 studs wide, and 16 studs long.
This design requires over 200 LEGO pieces to construct, and included the following electronic components found within the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set:
- 1 – EV3 Brick
- 1 – EV3 Touch Sensor
- 2 – Large EV3 Motors
- 1 – Medium EV3 Motor
This machine has already won several rewards, including 1st place for an international LEGO Mindstorms competition two different times, the One Step Beyond award in a 2014 MPaker Faire competition, and the Gift of the Robot award in January 2015 for a Holiday Building Challenge competition. BlueBrick Studios hopes to ultimately have this project turned into an actual LEGO set. To do so, however, they will need at least 10,000 supporters of their project on the LEGO Ideas website before LEGO Review Board members will review it for a possible future set.
Let us know if you have played around with a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set before and if you may try constructing this unique 3D printer/robot. Discuss in the LEGO Printing, LEGO 3D Printer forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of this ‘3D printer’ in action:
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