3D printers are slowly coming down in price, with the least expensive yet just reaching its funding goal on Kickstarter last month at an asking price of $397.
Matthew Krueger, aka Matstermind on Instructables, had been eyeing the Makerbot ever since it first came onto the market. As a cash-strapped engineering student, he simply didn't have the funds to purchase one -- so he decided to make his own.
What he had to work with was an old box of Lego, so he got to work and created what he is calling the Legobot, which is based on the very first Makerbot Replicator introduced in January 2012 and prints with hot glue rather than 3D-printing plastics.
Although the Legobot is mostly made out of Lego, it does, of course, have some other components. It is driven by a Lego Mindstorms NXT brick and powered by four separate supplies: 3 volts for the extruder motor, which is made out of a repurposed lens adjustment motor from an old VHS camera; 7.2 volts for the NXT brick; 12 volts for the fan; and 115 volts for the hot glue gun. The gear racks were 3D-printed by a friend, and some coins were used to balance the weight of the motor.
Because the Legobot uses hot glue instead of plastics, it doesn't print nearly as well as a Makerbot -- the glue is not rigid, and has few practical applications, at best suitable for window stickers. At this point, Matstermind also has to turn the extruder on and off manually. He plans to experiment with wax and resin to try to make his 3D printer a little more functional.
"While it does print, I would call this more of a prototype than a finished project," he said of his project.
If you would like to try to build -- and even modify -- one for yourself, you can find the directions on Instructables here
(Source: Crave Australia)