Incredible LEGO Printer Invented by 14-Year-Old Boy!

by , 02/28/12
filed under: green gadgets, Innovation, News

green design, eco design, sustainable design, LEGO printer, LEGOS, Mindstorms NXT Printer, PriNXT, Leon Overwheel, RObotic Arm, Mechanical LEGO printer

We’ve seen LEGO wizards create some pretty amazing projects lately by combining the iconic blocks with technology. One fourteen year old LEGO genius, Leon Overweel, has used his skills to construct his very own LEGO printer! Dubbed the LEGO Mindstorms NXT printer (or PriNXT), the machine uses three motors to control an attached pen, which draws objects and messages.

green design, eco design, sustainable design, LEGO printer, LEGOS, Mindstorms NXT Printer, PriNXT, Leon Overwheel, RObotic Arm, Mechanical LEGO printer

Leon previously built an incredible  Robotic Arm, and he put his LEGO knowledge to use for this next project. Built with gray, red and white LEGOS, the mini-printer looks like a toy version of a drafting printer. Packed with gears, cables, and remotes, the LEGO printer is a future draftman’s dream.

The printer utilizes three motors that work together – one motor controls the pen tool, which draws on pieces of paper. The other two motors control the pen’s motion – one moves it up and down, and the other left to right. The complicated gears and gear racks keep the movement fluid, for complicated turns and curves. Touch sensors help calibrate the robot, and tell the motors where to deposit each stroke of the pen. A color sensor kicks in when the drawing is complete, telling the robot to stop.

To create each image, Leon imports his chosen drawing to Paint.NET for editing, then exports it as a .PBM file, which translates the image into a stream of 1s and 0s. After more formatting, the final image is then formatted with RobotC, then sent to the PriNXT. The resulting drawings from the LEGO printer look like a pixilated version of faces, letters and designs – but drawn in marker. We can’t wait to find out what Leon will be up to next!

+ World of Mindstorms

Via MakeZine

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  1. tahrey March 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I could swear blind that something like this was one of the original projects for the old Lego Control Centre of the early 90s. You could hook the thing up to a BBC Micro and use it as a plotter… Ages 12+ I think.

    And then there was the “Lego Inkjet” of a couple years ago where someone on youtube made up an actual line-printer (rather than plotter) using a felt pen that could be hooked up to a mac and controlled with a custom driver. Replete with minifigs “operating” the machinery.

    It’s a pretty cool thing this kid has made, but it’s hardly an invention.

    BTW, Johnross – no… what you want is a LEGO Reprap… O_O

  2. DjAxOh March 5, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Hey do you reckon you could send a plan for it to me? I’d really appreciate it if you did bro


  3. Johnross1968 March 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I cant wait for a Lego 3D printer

  4. lorrbrack March 3, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Very cool – can you post any of the printed images so that we can see what they look like?

  5. mammachook March 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    What a brilliant future you have Leon, look forward to seeing more.

  6. Leon Overweel February 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Hey this is Leon :) Thanks for the awesome article!! Just one thing: my last name is without the “h”. It’s a common problem, so don’t worry about it, but if you could change it that’d rock :)

    Thank you!

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