Picture of Lego 3D printer/plotter
Hello, thank you for looking at this!

First off, a slight update. I'm working on the 3rd version printer, which should actually be able to print. Since I won an NXT 2.0 in the Toy challenge with this, I should be able to make another one for the next contest that features a Makerbot.

I originally wanted to create a lego 3D printer for the makerbot challenge, but wasn't able to finish it in time. So, since another makerbot is up for grabs, I decided to do a second version of the printer. Since I have no extruder, I can't actually have it be a 3D printer. That's why it's currently configured as a pen plotter. Also, this takes a massive number of parts. I had to scrounge around for all the little pieces I need.

This is my first instructables, so I've decided to do the guide with a combination of two different techniques. I'm using Lego digital designer to design some of the sub-builds. I've exported each sub-build as an html file and html files are each given a number. (All of which are in the "building" file) I'll reference them by B#. ie, B1, B2 or whatever. So when I say build 2 of B1, I mean open up 1.html and build it twice. If you have Lego Digital Designer (LDD) and would rather use it, the "" file has all of them by the same number. It's just B1 is 1.lxf instead of 1.html. Sorry if that's confusing. The second approach was to take pictures of putting the sub-builds together.

Here is a video demonstrating what it can do:
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metalix2 months ago
dude the videos private
jnesselr (author)  metalix2 months ago

Fixed! Thanks for letting me know! I did an account transfer which seems to have made my videos private.

tom101222 years ago
why not make a printrbot instead? Just don't have money for the parts?
jnesselr (author)  tom101222 years ago
If I recall correctly, this was built before printrbot existed. The second version ( was based on a printrbot. I am currently the proud owner of a Prusa mendel 3d printer.

At the time I built this, I did not have enough for a pl3d printer.
nice, I have a H-1 Huxley.
matstermind2 years ago
any progress in making it actually print?
jnesselr (author)  matstermind2 years ago
This is the first version. The second version is

I already commented about the second version, but as for this version: I don't think I'll go back to this design. It's too unstable. Especially the build platform. It could never work for actual printing. The second one was designed to, so I know that it can.

I'm currently working on a delta Robot out of Legos, though, so stay tuned.
Kyky Rocks13 years ago
Can this be made out of 1 Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Kit?
jnesselr (author)  Kyky Rocks13 years ago
In terms of the motors and sensors used, yes, but not in terms of pieces. I have so many pieces that it would be impossible to separate them. I'm currently working on another printer that uses two different NXT kits.

But with just one kit, you cannot build this model. You need more pieces than that.
iproberry13 years ago
you won!!!
jnesselr (author)  iproberry13 years ago
The toy contest? Yes, I got first prize, but I didn't win the makerbot. I wish I did, though.
dscott43 years ago

I would love to see it added to the 3D print group I have just started

dombeef3 years ago
When you said this " I then had replicatorg try and connect to it." How did you get replicatorg to connect to it?
jnesselr (author)  dombeef3 years ago
relpicatorg can automatically connect to serial ports.

I'm re-writing part of the lejos firmware to be able to have custom USB configurations and endpoints while the program is running. In this case, it would be a CDC device. ie, it would emulate a serial port, and replicatorg can automatically connect to that serial port too. I'm not entirely sure how the bluetooth <-> serial port works. All I know is that I connected and paired it, and it showed up as that /dev/tty.nxt port.
dombeef3 years ago
Hey, I am making software for my own take on a nxt 3d plotter, When I am done I will make sure to tell you so you could actually use this for something :D
dombeef dombeef3 years ago
And it will use G-Code as the input
jnesselr (author)  dombeef3 years ago
I'm writing a driver that will be part of and will be able to talk to up to two NXT's and have configurable settings based on a lejos program. If you want to help me with it, just send me a PM and we can talk on IRC or whatever.
ricardowong3 years ago
you could try adding a [primitive] extruder made from legos and some rolled up wire, (molten wax/ crayolas), molten wax I believe doesn't melt legos
jnesselr (author)  ricardowong3 years ago
I was thinking of trying it with chocolate. But I'm also thinking I'll wait til version 3 for that. I'm taking everything I learned from this bot and putting it towards version 3. The crayons have a melting point of about 128-147 degrees Fahrenheit, and abs plastic has a melting point of about 221. So I think that would be fine. chocolate has a melting point of less than 100, though.

But yeah, I think I'll wait til v3. Thanks though, and I hope I get your vote!
I'll look forward to v3 then. You already won my heart since I first saw your lego toy. You see, I always had craved for a 3d lego printer machine, but was never corageous enough to make it real. You, on the other hand, did. Congratulations on a nice project.
jnesselr (author)  ricardowong3 years ago
Thanks, glad you like it. I hope v3 is easier to build and works better, as well.
dombeef3 years ago
Erm, it could be better, the stage that you builded was a bit wobbly, bit good job!
dombeef dombeef3 years ago
Whoops, I ment but good job!
jnesselr (author)  dombeef3 years ago
lol, that's fine, I understood it well enough. Thank you for commenting. If I make a 3rd version of this (This printer is actually v2, with v1 never being posted) I'm going to focus on that, and focus on trying to find a better way to drive the axes than with string. This version went through quite a few iterations to try and get that axis right, and I never really got it just oh so perfect, so I'll definitely try and fix that this next time.

Thank you, and I hope you vote for me!
I see you took inspiration from the reprap design, with the triangle prism like design

It could be able to use an extruder for 3d printing if you make sure to not let the hot part hit any of the legos, it extrudes the plastic that legos are made of(just a fun fact)

Good job though and I will vote for you, if you vote back for an instructable that I am almost done with
jnesselr (author)  dombeef3 years ago
You're working on an instructable for this contest? Depending on if I think it deserves a vote, I'll vote for you. Just send me a link when you're done, I'll love to look at it.

Yeah, I took after a reprap mendel for this design. And yeah, I know about the ABS plastic limitation, which is why I didn't bother attempting to design a full one for this project. I guess I good for v3. I'll design it with that in mind.

But yes, thank you for the vote. Looking at some of your other projects, I'll probably give you a vote. I like origami and other paper craft related things too.
I am about to press publish, I just have to check the grammar and spellings and how it looks, etc...

And thanks, I try to be unique and use what I have, As far as I know and i have looked up for anything like it, I couldn't find anything like a few of my instructables, no one has made it before

And I cant wait for v3 Subscribed :)
jnesselr (author)  dombeef3 years ago
Well, the reason I ask what contest it's for, is that the toy contest has closed, so I wasn't sure what contest you where referring to voting on it. I'll definitely rate it for you.
The exact words
"Multiple entries are accepted, but each entrant can only win one prize. Contest is open to international entries. Contest closes for entries at 11:59pm PDT, July 4."
jnesselr (author)  dombeef3 years ago
oh my bad, I totally thought it was over the 3rd and they were going to get all the entries ready for voting on the 4th. Oh well. Yeah, sure, I like your project, and will be sure to give it a vote for a vote on mine. Thank you!
Not yet, it is over at 12:00 pm in california

And i just published it
really impressive. but i can't find the vote button :( and you uploaded this on my birthday!
jnesselr (author)  tofu4tortoise3 years ago
Glad to have uploaded it on your birthday, and happy birthday to you! As far as I can tell, it hasn't actually been added to the contest yet, and voting doesn't start until midnight tonight. But thank you for voting for me! (When you can later, I guess)
thanks, definitely see the effort you put into this and how you would really benefit from the printer, that's why i'm voting for you.
jnesselr (author)  tofu4tortoise3 years ago
Excellent. Yeah, I put in a bit of work on it. I was originally going to just put up that video in the first page, because I didn't think I could get it all taken apart and put together in time, so I'm really glad it worked out! Thank's for voting for me, because I do love 3D printers!