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.