Nov 20, 2015 | By Alec

Is there any better toy out there than the Mindstorms EV3 Lego set? While Legos themselves are fantastic and inspiring toys that not only act as a perfect outlet for your kids’ imagination, but they’re also known to be very educational and have set many of us on the long and windy road to making and 3D printing. But just imagine what you could’ve achieved at a young age with the fantastic Mindstorms kits, and we’ve seen plenty of 3D printing projects involving the Mindstorms kits to know what’s possible.

One of the most impressive ones, however, was definitely the full-fledged 3D printer that one Instructables user going by W1ll14m (William) has been working on. Called the Lego EV3 3D Printer, it’s a fantastic example of what is possible with Legos. Featuring a Lego build and a Mindstorms controller, this is a basic 3D printer thtat only differs from many RepRap builds in only one respect: it 3D prints glue, rather than plastic. That because a glue gun is cheaper and easier to get than a whole extrusion unit, but the point is definitely clear: you can build a 3D printer with almost nothing but a Lego kit.

What’s more, this project is has gone through a few iterations, with the second prototype being released back in February. Already featuring a good X and Y axis on racked Lego tracks, it was quite a precise build already. However, William is now ready with his updated third edition, that not only looks better, but also functions more optimally. And while glue obviously isn’t the most versatile filament in the world, the clip below proves that you can definitely build basic structures with this fantastic creation.

Incidentally, this Instructables project is also an interesting exercise in effectively sharing your making projects. Not a man of many words, William has simply shared a series of photos that detail the building steps and highlight that this is truly just about a bunch of neatly aligned Lego pieces – it’s quite amazing to see what is possible with toys fit for eight year olds.

It also means that recreating it with your own Mindstorms kit should be pretty straightforward – dig into your Lego boxes for the parts displayed on this Instructable, and follow William’s steps. The only slightly complex part will be the extrusion unit – in which a glue gun needs to fit neatly. The extruder is then completed with little more than a paper clip, as William explains. ‘Bend the paper clip in a way that it partially stuffs the hole of the glue gun nozzle. This will allow for a more controlled extrusion process,’ he says. A couple of rubber bands and paper sheets on the print bed finish the simple project.

Upon completion, simply download the code supplied by William for your Mindstorm kit, and you can start 3D printing. Before starting your program, you need to first wait until the glue gun's hot enough. Every layer of hot glue needs approximately 30 seconds to cool down and harden enough to support the next layer. 30 seconds later, the machine lays down the next layer. "Depending on the glue gun you used, the extruders' motors' speed will vary form program to program." Willam previously explained about 3D printing glue. The result is a fantastic and refreshing 3D printer that truly brings us back to the basics.



Posted in 3D Printer



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