Tag Archives: LEGO

Top 3D Printing News Last Week: NASA, LEGOs, Poppy, Crowdfunding

NASA 3D Printed Rocket Engine Injector

3D Printing News

A roundup of the top 3D printing news from July 15 to July 21:

Monday, July 15

Tuesday, July 16

Thursday, July 18

 Saturday, July 20

Student Creates LEGObot 3D Printer Made Entirely of LEGOs

LEGObot 3D Printer

LEGObot 3D Printer

Engineering student Matt Kreuger loves LEGOs and 3D printing, so why not combine those passions? Kreuger is the creator of the LEGObot, a 3D printer built almost entirely out of LEGO blocks.

Unlike other desktop 3D printers, the LEGObot is limited to hot glue which makes it more of a novelty than utility, but not bad for a first version!

Kreuger posted his design on Instructables along with this story and video.

Ever since I saw the first makerbot, I have been obsessed with 3D printing, but I am an engineering student so I don’t have an extra $800-$2500, and have been doing my best to create one out of what I have on hand. I tried arduino with easy drivers, and parallel port, but neither one gave results, I always needed a tool or part that I couldn’t get.  So I pulled out my old box of legos and started building.

This is a project I have been working on for the past year, it prints in hot glue and made almost completely out of legos.  Based roughly on the first version of the makerbot, while it does print, I would call this more of a prototype than a finished project.  I am using 4 power supplies (3v extruder, 7.2v for nxt, 12v fan, and 115 for hot glue gun) and having to manually turn the extruder on and off, (although i am working on that one) . Unfortunately,  due to my lack of computer programming skills, every move has to be manually programmed from the NXT programming software, I have yet to find a g-code interpreter for the NXT.

Hopefully in the next version I will be able to shorten the height of the platform, reduce wobble, and use g-code files.
but in the mean time, I have included a Lego Digital Designer file with the full printer in it, just about all the technic parts are exactly the same as in my printer, but for the structure I used different parts to speed the digital building process, the structure and dimensions are still the same. under each X and Y axis there are 2 suspended blocks that I placed coins in to balance the weight of the motor on each side, for the extruder motor I used a lens adjustment motor out of an old VHS camera because it was low speed/high torque. In the .ldd file, the green box on the right side of the extruder gears is the case I made for it, it works perfectly.

While hot-glue works, its very rubbery and doesn’t have many practical uses, if only one or 2 layers are printed then it will stick to glass to make window stickers, but its not sturdy or rigid, I will be experimenting with printing using wax and heat-melting resins in the future. I am currently limited to what I can make with what I have at hand, some more printed parts could really improve accuracy on this.  I initially did not have enough gear racks so I asked someone who had a 3D printer at work if he could help me out, I was able to get around 30 of them printed, and while they work, they do not connect perfectly to the legos, which is what causes most of the wobble in the platform.

Practical 3D Printing: 10 Things to Make With a 3D Printer

Practical 3D Printing List

Practical 3D Printing: 10 Things to Make

Our friends at Internet of things blog Hack Things put together a list of 10 practical things to make with a 3D printer. Here’s the practical 3D printing list.

After digging through ThingiverseShapeways and Ponoko, there are plenty of practical, every-day creations to justify the purchase of a 3D printer.

Here are ten practical things to make.

iphone case1) iPhone cases
At the Apple store even a bumper is going to cost you $30. With a 3D printer, you could print a new case design every week. And there are a lot of beautiful designs out there.

handle replacement2) Replacement parts
If you like to fix things, a 3D printer is magic. When a small plastic part breaks, you no longer have to throw the whole product away. This guy’s dishwasher had a broken handle, so he printed a new one.

macro lens3) Smartphone accessories
3D printers have come up with innumerable little ways to get more out of your smartphone, various stands, cord wrappers, sound amplifiers and camera attachments like this cheap and effective macro lens.

camera mount

4) Camera gear
Photographers are willing to spend serious money for the right gear, and manufacturers set prices accordingly. From tripod mounts to lens cap holders, camera buffs can 3D print inexpensive accessories made to fit their kit.

mudguard5) Bicycle accessories
Cyclists are already used to tinkering to get their bike perfectly in tune. A 3D printer opens up whole new opportunities. Create clips to attach to the frame, a carrying handle, or even a whole pedal.

anemometer6) Science
From a tray for washing microscope slides to custom lens mounts, you can 3D print whatever tools you need to do science. Good for the grad student on a budget, or for family science projects. You can even print this anemometer.


7) Wallets and purses
It turns out you can make a great wallet or an interesting purse out of plastic. Like the iPhone case, this really changes the way you think about these kinds of accessories. If you are making them yourself you can experiment with designs you might not buy in the store.

clock8) Clocks
A cheap quartz clock movement and a little 3D printing, and you have a beautiful clock. Pick from many styles.

toothbrush holder

9) Containers
Look around your house and you’ll probably find a lot of small plastic containers. You can print those, and tailor them to their purpose, like this toothbrush holder.

legos10) Legos
If you are a Lego fan (and if you are reading this, you probably are), imagine printing any shape you want and just plugging it directly into the Lego universe. I guess you could even print a Lego-compatible Yoda head.

Hack Things concludes:

Obviously if you want to mass produce something there are more efficient tools than a desktop 3D printer. The same could be said about printing with ink. If you want to publish a bestselling paperback, you don’t do that at home. But no one doubts the value of an inkjet printer.

All the hype aside, for small plastic parts, when you factor in shipping and customization, a home 3D printer actually makes sense today.

3D Printed Toys: A Profile on Toy Designer Wayne Losey and Modibot

3D Printed Toys Modibot

Wayne Losey designs 3D printed toys. He’s a veteran toy creator, having worked for Hasbro and Kenner for 13 years designing some of the most popular toys in the market that generated over $1 billion in cumulative revenue, including GI Joe, Batman Forever, Superman: Man of Steel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Vor-tech, and Micromachines. Today, Losey has his own product called Modibot, a 3D printable system of interlocking parts that lets you build your own fantastical creatures and characters.

Building a 3D Printed Business

As Losey was designing his new toy system, he embraced 3D printing as a way to get to market without the traditional inventory cost. Losey currently has 168 products for sale on 3D printing marketplace Shapeways. You can create spartans, patriots, dinosaurs, and more — toys that young boys love to put together and create. Like many competitors in the marketplace, Modibot comes in kits that kids put together themselves.

3D Printed Toys Shapeways Kidmechano

Losey was recently interviewed by Shapeways about his inspiration.

I like to create tools and toys that help people express their own ideas and creative spirit. The goal is to create things that people connect with in a very personal, hands-on way. ModiBot as a product is really what you make of it, I’m not trying to be the next big, prescriptive, entertainment property, I’m helping people to tell their own story. Mo is something noteworthy that people have sitting around on their desks. Other people take notice, pick it up and have a hard time putting it down. Its way for people to talk about what they love.

I’m inspired by tools, disruptive ideas and whats happening on the fringes of culture. As a professional, I had lost that hands-on relationship to my work. My work reflects a reconnecting with the work and an exploration of what is possible in desktop manufacturing.

Wired interviewed Losey in January about the benefits of 3D printing applied to toy making:

Having been burnt by seeing his creations in the bargain bin, Losey is in love with the print-on-demand nature of 3-D printing. “It’s an extremely sustainable business model. There’s no over-purchase of inventory and subsequent mad rush to sell that inventory and invest it back into the next batch,” he says. “Like many software businesses, it’s a constant beta mentality, where it’s tweaked until it works.”

Promoting and Telling the Story

Losey keeps an active Flickr and Tumblr account to follow the developments of his toy story. Below is a photo of his son with the caption: ”This was what I was looking forward to when we were designing Xevoz. My son enjoying them. Only took 8 years. #TotallyWorthIt”

3D Printed Toys Modibot Kids

Losey’s Modibot sells as a set and is easy to put together as shown in the video below.


How do prices compare? We looked at LEGO, Fisher-Price and Modibot for a dinosaur kit. Modibot is competitive, but not super cheap. The ModiRaptor Dino Kit is $37.05 on Shapeways compared with the Fisher Price Imaginext Dragon for $39.99 and the LEGO Dino Birthday kit for $147.99.

3D Printed Toys Comparison

So is 3D Printing the Future of Toys?

In a word, yes.

Wayne Losey is a veteran toy designer who is bringing best-in-class toys to 3D printing, breaking down the design barrier that one might assume large toy manufacturers have over independent creators.

While prices are Losey’s products are equivalently expensive as mass market products today, 3D printed toys will undoubtedly come down in price as 3D printing becomes more affordable and mainstream. For just $3, you can download the Modibot design and print your own on your home 3D printer.


Modibot photos by KidMechano used under Creative Commons license.

Happy New Year! Top 3D Printing Stories from 2012

Happy New Year! Here are the top 3D printing stories from 2012.

We are excited for 2013 to be the Year of 3D Printing.

5. UP! 3D Printer from China: Viable Competitor to US 3D Printer Makers

UP! 3D Printer from China



4. 3D Modeling and Design for 3D Printing: Tinkercad, Sketchup and 123D

Tinkercad Chess Set Design Winner


3. Why Google Sold SketchUp and What It Means for 3D Printing

Google Sketchup at Maker Faire


2. Why 3D Printing Will Be More Fun Than LEGO: Minecraft Video

Minecraft vs LEGO


1. 3D Printing Stocks are Hot: Top Public Companies Up 180% Over 6 Months

3D Printing Public Stocks