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Bricasso mosaic Lego printer built entirely from Lego parts

A remarkable Lego printer relies solely on Lego parts to scan and build, brick by brick, bumpy plastic copies of images.

The Bricasso scans part of the Lego logo. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks is a bit of a Lego savant. Last year, he created a working Lego particle accelerator. That's challenging enough, but Allemann wasn't content to just model the mysteries of the universe. He went on to create the Bricasso, a Lego mosaic printer made entirely from Lego parts.

The printer makes use of a Lego Mindstorms EV3 machine with a color sensor to scan an already pixelated image and then generate a plastic-brick mosaic using 1x1 plates, those tiny individual pieces that always get lost at the bottom of your Lego pile.

The small pieces used to create the mosaics are delivered to the print head by a gravity-fed system consisting of vertical chutes. The chutes are designed to hold 450 1x1 plates in up to nine different colors. The print head is a round piece that rolls off the top of each plate as it's put into place. It's a clever way to handle the issue of Lego bricks wanting to stick together.

A demo video posted last week shows the finished printer building the Lego logo, one piece at a time, onto a white plate. It took about 40 minutes to create the logo in two pieces. Allemann used previous prototypes of the printer to create a portrait of Mario from the Super Mario video game series and the "Bricasso" logo that adorns the final printer.

Printers are a very specialized subset of the Lego world. Young Lego builder Shubham Banerjee unveiled a low-cost braille printer made with a Lego Mindstorms kit in 2014. Another maker fashioned a 3D printer largely out of Lego parts that uses hot-melt glue to create objects.

The mosaic printer is quite an accomplishment, but Allemann may expand the project into a full-on 3D Lego printing system in the future. It will be a challenge to figure out how to do that entirely with Lego parts, but it would mark a new triumph in the small but mighty realm of Lego printers.

(Via Brothers Brick)