Apr. 7, 2015 | By Alec

Lego bricks hold a special place in the hearts and minds of most makers. After all, it’s the first step on a road of manufacturing addiction for many of us. Even in adulthood Legos don’t seem to lose any of their value or fun, so it hardly surprises me whenever I hear of makers who make their absolute basic prototypes with Legos before switching on their 3D printers. The natural combination of 3D printing and Lego has even spurred the creation of this Lego 3D printer, in which Lego bricks function as a type of RepRap building material.

However one Lego-crazed maker who goes by the bubbly username of ev3rything_is_aw3some on the Lego website has submitted something truly remarkable into a competition for turning projects into actual Lego sets. It’s called the Lego 3D printer, and it’s a amazingly fun and clever design that has turned the popular Mindstorms EV3 lego robot into a 3D printer – but then one that ‘3D prints’ Lego bricks instead of filament. As its designer revealed, ‘[it] uses a grabber to place bricks onto a large plate, to create actual LEGO models! It uses 3 motors, one for each axis of movement [which are included in the set]. This set teaches the fundamental principles of mechanical engineering.’

As you can see in the clip above, this fun 3D printer uses clutch power to ‘grab’ bricks from a brick trace and placing them onto a studded ‘print bed’. Firm shaking is enough to release the Lego bricks from the clutch. While a bit smaller than usual 3D printing, you can nonetheless use this cool build to construct Lego creations up to 16 studs long, 14 studs wide and up to 5 bricks tall. This has to be one of the most original combinations of Lego and 3D printing I’ve ever seen.

'After spending 20 hours of total building, filming and modifying, this has got to be my biggest and best project,’ the designer said of his creation. All in all, this Lego 3D printer includes more than 200 Lego bricks (excluding the ones used for building), as well as the electric components included in the Mindstorms EV3 set (three motors, a touch sensor and the special EV3 Brick).

While already winning several awards, including the first place in the LEGO Mindstorms competition twice, the  "One Step Beyond" award in November 2014 for the Maker Faire competition, and the "Gift of The Robot" award in January 2015 for the Holiday Building Challenge, the real prize would be to see it become an actual Lego kit. To do that, ev3rything_is_aw3some will need to gather 10,000 votes on Ideas.Lego.com. To vote for him, you will need to make an account but it is well worth the trouble. Just imagine: a Lego kit that will introduce 3D printing principles to an entire generation of children.



Posted in 3D Printers


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3Dreamer wrote at 8/3/2015 5:57:32 AM:

I wonder what control software he uses for the models... I bet the save file is .lgo >.<

Gosse Adema wrote at 6/6/2015 10:29:49 PM:

Not 100% lego, but a it's working 3d printer, http://www.instructables.com/id/LEGO-3d-Printer/

Snazzles wrote at 4/22/2015 5:51:34 AM:

This is a pick and place machine, not a 3d printer.

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