The maker movement has given inspiration to many talented builders and programmers. LEGO® and MINDSTORMS® have become a perfect platform for unleashing the creativity of many makers. Recently, we have seen LEGO machines that solve Rubik’s cubes, print photographs and cards, weave scarves, play games, and more. Here are three innovative 3D printers made with LEGO MINDSTORMS from makers in Montreal, California, and Pennsylvania.
EV3Dprinter by bazmarc
Inspired by 3D printers at World Maker Faire, Marc-André Bazergui (aka bazmarc), in collaboration with Thomas Madeya, created the first 3D printer made with MINDSTORMS. For Marc-André, the most fun part of this project was working with someone in a different part of the world: Thomas lives in Germany while Marc-André lives in Canada.
Dubbed EV3Dprinter, this amazing machine is able to print a variety of shapes by selecting the parameters on the EV3 programmable brick. In 2016, Marc-André updated this printer to use the FUNWELL® 3D Printing Pen V3. He added the ability to create your own coordinates and was then able to start printing text and any other design. Marc-André’s work has inspired others to make different versions of 3D printers made with MINDSTORMS.
In addition to the EV3 programmable brick, the key LEGO elements in his printer are three medium motors, one large motor, gear racks, and two large linear actuators.
Marc-André has modeled his printer in LEGO Digital Designer (LDD), and made the LDD file as well as the code file available for others. Take a look at his post on Instructables.com. LDD is a free LEGO CAD software and can be downloaded online.
To see a video explanation of the EV3Dprinter, watch the [bazmarc]session. To learn more about Marc-André, visit his website.
G-Code Pars3r by Cyrus
In 2016, a young maker in California, Cyrus Cuenca, created his version of a LEGO Mindstorms 3D printer in collaboration with Xander Soldaat. He used an inexpensive 3D pen, and wrote a custom G-Code interpreter. Since his printer accepts G-Code, his printer is able to print models like a conventional 3D printer. It uses four LEGO MINDSTORMS motors: three motors for the three axes, and one for the extruder. The printer is programmed in Robot-C.
Cyrus uses the Soyan Standard 3D Printing Pen. He has his code and other instructions for this project on his post on Instructables.com.
To learn more about Cyrus, visit his blog site.
EV3D Pi.G Print3r by Seshan Brothers
Sanjay and Arvind Seshan (aka Seshan Brothers) have been building dot-matrix printers (PIX3L PLOTT3R) out of LEGO MINDSTORMS since early 2016. Inspired by an actual 3D printer they received in December 2016, they began building a 3D printer out of MINDSTORMS in January 2017.
Their goal was to create a MINDSTORMS printer that resembled their Alunar iPrusa Clone in features and functionality. As a result, their printer features a large print bed with an 8-inch PEI plate on top. The PEI plate is largely to protect the LEGO from accidental melting when in contact with the tip of the 3D printing pen. The 3D printing pen they use is the Monoprice MP Select 3D Printing Pen.
From a programming perspective, the key requirement for their project was that it accept G-Code files which is used in traditional 3D printers. However, they also wanted the printer itself to be programmed in EV3-G, the standard programming language for MINDSTORMS to make this project more accessible to others. To accomplish this, they wrote their own file converter that would could interpret the G-Code into a file readable in EV3-G. This conversion process is done in Python.
As an added feature, they include a Raspberry Pi and small touch screen to the printer to support a user interface. The interface lets the user select prints.
To learn more about the development of this printer, follow EV3D Pi.G.Print3r on Facebook. Code and build instructions will be shared through this page as soon as they are available.
To learn more about the Seshan Brothers visit their website.
Where can you see these 3D printers?
Next weekend (May 19-21), all three of the above 3D printers made from LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3s will be featured at the 2017 Bay Area Maker Faire. Stop by their booth in Zone 2 to meet the ROBOT MAK3Rs in person, learn about how you can make one, and pick up a special collectible tile.
In addition, follow the MINDSTORMS EV3D Printers Page for updates and future events. Feel free to share your MINDSTORMS printer with this page.