Lego 3D printer itching to make Lego robots

How long before Lego sets start building themselves and becoming self-aware? Check out this 3D printer and be afraid.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
Screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

We've seen Lego robots that do Sudoku puzzles, solve Rubik's Cube, and mimic the human hand. Well, this Lego robot builds Lego models--so far. How long until it starts building other robots out of Lego? The horror!

Hobbyist Will Gorman built his Lego Mindstorms NXT MakerLegoBot for the ongoing Lego World 2010 expo in Zwolle, the Netherlands.

Inspired by the open-source 3D printer MakerBot, the machine is made of more than 2,400 bricks and runs on three NXT Intelligent Bricks and nine NXT motors.

A PC running the MLCad Lego design system sends instructions to the printer via USB, and it then starts selecting bricks from its large-capacity feeder system. It can build objects up to 12 bricks tall with 1x2, 2x2, 3x2, 4x2, and 8x2 bricks.

The models are made on a base that rotates to handle nonsquare bricks. See detailed pics here.

So far, the MakerLegoBot has made quaint objects like little houses. But its ultimate purpose can be nothing other than to make other Lego robots. Once they can replicate, it's game over for us.

(Via Discover)