A lot of people want a 3D printer, but can’t afford one, despite the fact that these have become rather affordable recently. One of them decided to make one from the things he had at hand: LEGO bricks.
Matthew Krueger, who goes by the name Matstermind on Instructables, is an engineering student who has been wanting a Makerbot Replicator 3D printer for quite some time now. Unlike some crowdfunded 3D printers that will be available for $395 when the mass production starts, the Makerbot is a tad more expensive (and by that I mean that the second generation costs $2,199). Legobot, the 3D printer he created out of LEGO bricks, is based on the first Makerbot Replicator, which was launched in January 2012.
Unlike many other 3D printers that use plastic for making various objects, Legobot take a different, and probably more affordable approach. The objects that come out of this printer are made using hot glue, so the results are not exactly spectacular and the Legobot can be furthermore improved, as Matthew admitted: “While it does print, I would call this more of a prototype than a finished project.”
A LEGO Mindstorms NXT brick was used for driving the printer. On top of that, the power were supplied in four different voltages, as follows:
- 3 volts for the extruder motor
- 7.2 volts for the NXT brick
- 12 volts for the fan
- 115 volts for the hot glue gun
Matthew asked a friend to 3D print the rack, and apart from that, only a few coins were used for balancing the motor. Aside from the components mentioned above, the entire Legobot was made from LEGO bricks, which is very impressive.
If you happen to have a lot of LEGO bricks handy, you might want to give this project a try, too. Matthew was kind enough to post the guide on how to build the Legobot on Instructables, so that anyone wanting a rudimentary 3D printer can build one from scratch.
It’s not printing accuracy that makes this project worth writing about, but the ingeniousness some people are capable of. Matthew will surely get far if he has started creating such things at such an age. What can the rest of us learn from all this? If you can’t afford something, build it yourself! You’d be a lot happier this way, knowing that you did it yourself.