As the 3D printer revolution picks up speed, the price of the machines is beginning to drop—but shelling out several hundred bucks for a desktop printer is still out of the reach of many would-be enthusiasts. That did not stop one truly innovative and tech savvy individual from creating their own version of the device. Using what he had on hand, Matthew Kreuger constructed a printer with a set of LEGOs that uses hot glue as a feedstock. The prototype is a fully functional, NXT powered 3D printer roughly based on the Makerbot and cost its creator almost nothing to fabricate.
Certainly a feat of great ingenuity, Kreuger admits that the LEGObot still has a couple of limitations. He has to rely on friends to provide additional parts that he did not already own to complete the printer, and due to his lack of programming skills every function has to be manually programmed through the NXT software. The extruder is made from a hot glue gun because that is what was available, and the glue itself has few practical uses as a medium. However, he is working towards building a filament extruder that can recycle milk bottles into plastic material for the LEGObot. Kreuger is also on the hunt for a g-code interpreter to replace the NXT language which is not as open-source. Further iterations of the machine will also fix a slight wobble in the X and Y axis and find a way to avoid having to turn the extruder on and off by hand.
LEGO lovers and 3D printer aficionados can check out a his project on Instructables.