3D printers have been steadily crawling into the market and the prices have been gradually decreasing, with the least expensive 3D printer just reaching its funding goal on Kickstarter last month at an asking price of $397 USD.
An engineering student, Matthew Krueger, has been eyeing the Makerbot – a desktop 3D printer – ever since its first appearance on the market. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the funds to purchase one for himself, so he decided to make his own.
With only an old box of legos, Matthew got to work and created what he is calling the Legobot, based on the very first Makerbot Replicator introduced in January 2012. His Legobot prints using hot glue rather than 3D-printing plastics.
Althought the Legobot is mostly made out of Legos, it does, of course, have some other components. It is driven by a Lego Mindstorms NXT brick and powered by four separate supplies : 3 volts for the extruder motor, made out of a repurposed lens adjustment motor from an old VHS camera; 7.2 volts for the NXT brick; 12 volts for the fan; and 115 volts for the hot glue gun used to print things out. The gear racks were 3D-printed by a friend of Matthew’s, and some coins were used to balance the weight of the motor.
Since the Legobot uses hot glue to produce items instead of 3D printingplastics, it doesn’t print nearly as well as a Makerbot. The glue isn’t as rigid, and has only a few practical applications, at best, suitable for window stickers. At this point, the extruder must be turned on and off manually. Matthew plans to experiment with wax and resin to try to make his 3D printer a little more functional.
“While it does print, I would call this more of a prototype than a finished project,” he said of his project.
A video of the Legobot in use:
If you would like to construct and even modify one for yourself, Matthew has posted instructions on Instructables here.