Jun 21, 2016 | By Andre

It is often said that the youth of today are the future. This is accurate in just about on every regard, and considering the nature of how linear time works, it would be difficult to find someone that doesn’t find truth in the statement. The more I follow 3D printing however, the more I become convinced that today's youth are capable of innovating just fine right here in the present.

Whether its a 17 year old’s low-cost SLS 3D printer, a 15 year old innovating in the field of robotics or another pushing the boundries of mind-control, the youth of today don’t seem to want to wait for their chance to make a difference.

So when a 12-year old tinkerer went ahead and made a 3D printer using a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit and a low-cost 3D printing pen, I was barely even surprised. And while it's doubtful it'll be able to produce intricate 100 micron models at blistering speed with incredible accuracy any time soon, it still offers a really cool, think-outside-the-lego-box approach to creating a 3D printer.

Too young to even sign up for Instructables himself (his mom made the account for him) the contraption is based on motors moving around the extruding pen in three-dimensional space (x/y/z) while following the basic rules of just about every 3D printer out there today.

Even though the build instructions include everything you need to complete the project, a lot is left up to interpretation. So the perfectionist might feel a little frustrated regarding how exactly things work with steps such as “Add another very smooth connector between the two small pillars. Basically make the structure sturdy by adding support where ever necessary using Lego/K'NEX pieces.” But heck, if it works it works and the visual aides provided should suffice in assisting you in building a similar 3D printer of your own.

Additionally, technical purists might be brought to tears when trying to figure out the tension required and how much tape to use for instructions like “on the ring, create an obtruded part, such that the part touches the button to start the 3D printing pen. On the other side of the ring, attach a piece of yarn that will go to the other edge of the prism and ultimately to the motor. The motor will have the string taped to its axle.” But again, with a little effort and tinkering, everything you need to reproduce the 3D printer is made available.

At the end of the day, the the goal was to create a working 3D printer with Lego (and some K’NEX) and that’s exactly what user amoghp succeeded in doing. Sure, the software used was primitive (Minstorms EV3 Home Edition) and the results remain a work in progress (it is difficult to determine how many layers completed on the only provided sample 3D print) but for a 12-year old hoping to win the site’s current 3D printing contest in the youth category (you can vote for him at the top right of his Instructable), I think he accomplished everything and then some.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Kit wrote at 6/21/2016 12:00:02 PM:

I think you confused/merged "Over-the-counter" and "off-the-shelf" You don't really buy things over a shelf.

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