LEGO printer is a great nerd accomplishment

Posted 6 years ago
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LEGO’s are no new thing they have been around for well over 2 decades now and they have always been useful, whether you are building a lego sized replica of the Washington Monument or building the Eiffel Tower you can always count on the help of LEGO blocks but one dedicated computer nerd was so determined to find a better use for these recreational blocks that he went as far as making a printer out of them.

The following is taken from his YouTube video’s description page:

“Lego felt tip 110” printer connected to an Apple Mac. This is not mindstorms, I designed/built/coded it all from scratch including analog motor electronics, sensors and printer driver, the USB interface uses a “wiring” board.

FAQ: Track name? “Christopher and Raphael just popper Shinichi Osawa distortion disco edit”

FAQ: How long did this take? Hard to say, maybe 3 weeks working evenings.

FAQ: Just a remake of the 1092a? No, I’d never seen the 1092a until now. However some of the parts came from a 8094 kit amongst others many years ago. It is made to my own design, but I acknolwedge influences and the great work of the official lego designers !

FAQ: Does this use mindstorms? Nope, wiring demo board + homemade analog electronics and sensors.

FAQ: DPI? Dots per inch? Approx 75 DPI

FAQ: PPM? Pages per minute? Maybe 1 is pushing it, I sped things up a little in the video editing to keep it interesting to watch 🙂

FAQ: Helvetica? Yes of course, respect to those who noticed 🙂

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FAQ: Full color version/more colours? Originally I was going to do 3 colour version, but I had to simplify as only have 4 lego motors.

FAQ: Open source, schematics etc? Yes, I’ll try to get around to this soon.

FAQ: Wrote your own driver? Yes, how sad is that!!

FAQ: Are you using some sort of MCU demo board(the black pcb)? Yes. [1] http://wiring.org.co/hardware/

FAQ: re: Mac vs PC abuse? Video not meant as a Mac advert and I’m sorry if the Apple logo offends anyone. I just find them easier to use.

FAQ: Felt tip damage drying up? Yes this is a problem, but one felt tip usually lasts for quite a few pages.

FAQ: Felt tip auto-capping? Nope, sorry.

FAQ: Sensor info: Horizontal positioning using homemade shaft encoder (black/white rotating lego squares you see in the vid) with a SY-CR102 photo reflector from Maplins, (only £0.89 or $1.30). This is into a sampled analog input as I couldn’t get full enough saturation to trigger the ext interrupt pins. There are also push buttons built into lego bricks for left and right end stop detection.

As you can see the printer is definitely slow, so don’t expect it to print out your book report in a minute the video was sped up and this thing has a print time of 1 PPM (Page Per Minute) maybe. but considering that there is definitely room for improvement I can just say this is perhaps the most unique use of LEGO blocks i have ever seen and I give the creator a nerd salute over the design.