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Parametrized Lego Bricks

by wizard23, published

Parametrized Lego Bricks by wizard23 May 11, 2009

Featured Thing!

Description

While talking to Zach I got inspired to model lego bricks in order to create custom bricks - the ones you always wanted but thought you never could get. Well now you can!

Of course it does not snap in place as nicely as original lego bricks but it should be good enough to create the custom lego piece you always wanted.

Recent Comments

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You could certainly make an Arduino-based equivalent of Mindstorms, (There is already a Lego-compatible holder for an Arduino module on Thingiverse.)
For the power/signal connectors, you could make Lego-compatible blocks that hold a standard small plug (maybe IDC or 2.5mm jack), or just use standard connectors without blocks.

Ideally, you would want adpaters from these to Lego-compatible connectors. That would require 3D printing metal parts, but since the parts are small, you could use a commercial 3D printing service just for those parts. Or you just buy Lego extension cables, cut each in two and wire your plugs onto each half.
You would need motor driver circuits connected to the Arduino. You could make a Lego-compatible holder for that circuit too, and support a variable number of them connected to the main Arduino Lego-compatible block. (You could easily support more than 3, even with an Arduino Uno).
You could then package various sensors (touch, thermistor, LDR, etc.) and outputs (LEDs, motors, etc.) in Lego-compatible blocks with your chosen electrical/electronic connector.
If the signals from sensors were simple analogue (or digital) signals (the sensor output just changes the resistance), they would be much simpler than EV3 ones (my impression is that they include a microcontroller and are connected by a serial interface).

Then for programming, you could provide an Arduino library, and an optional simplified environment (maybe similar to Scratch).

There might still be Lego patents on Lego Technic pieces (the patent on the basic pieces is expired) that might prevent you from making Technic-compatible pieces.

I never used support, when printed like in the stl (nobs on the top) it works without support because with ABS you can bridge. It should fit together with normal lego (thats the idea!)

do you print it with or without support? do you have to use abs with water soluble plastic and dual extrusion? or just regular abs single extruder? does it fit together with regular legos or does it only fit together with makerbotted legos? do you print them upside down, rightside up, or sideways? thanks.

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Instructions

Because the Makerbot we are printing on is so incredible fast that the knobs used to stay molten so I also included a version that has hollow knobs.

To generate other sizes our under development and undocumented MetaCADEvaluator plugin is needed. This is part of the development version of CSGEvaluator for Art of Illusion: objects.reprap.org/wiki/Builders/Metalab/AoI_CSG_Evaluator

Comments

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latigerlilly on Jul 17, 2012 said:

do you print it with or without support? do you have to use abs with water soluble plastic and dual extrusion? or just regular abs single extruder? does it fit together with regular legos or does it only fit together with makerbotted legos? do you print them upside down, rightside up, or sideways? thanks.

wizard23 on Jul 17, 2012 said:

I never used support, when printed like in the stl (nobs on the top) it works without support because with ABS you can bridge. It should fit together with normal lego (thats the idea!)

ZaphodBeeblebrox on Apr 29, 2012 said:

ABS Plastic... It's the same stuff Lego bricks are made of!

artistpw on Apr 24, 2012 said:

Hi - you could always make one, and then make a silicone mold from it and replicate more with a different material. Check out the Compleat Sculptor because they have a lot of different mold and casting supplies that you can get.

bruno on Nov 10, 2011 said:

i sound like a geek but my sisters bf works some ware and the got a 3d printer doo eny of u know were the files r for a halo pelican

Anonymous on Jun 11, 2011 said:

Wow ! Looking as bad as Megablocks Bricks !!!! :)

tnlogy on Dec 9, 2010 said:

one of the first things I've tried to print recently, as you can see on my picture, I need to reconfigure my printer somehow.. :)

degroof on May 16, 2010 said:

I wonder if it'd be possible to make some sort of open-source Mindstorm using printed Lego-compatible parts and, say, Arduinos.

johnlambe on Dec 28, 2013 said:

You could certainly make an Arduino-based equivalent of Mindstorms, (There is already a Lego-compatible holder for an Arduino module on Thingiverse.)
For the power/signal connectors, you could make Lego-compatible blocks that hold a standard small plug (maybe IDC or 2.5mm jack), or just use standard connectors without blocks.

Ideally, you would want adpaters from these to Lego-compatible connectors. That would require 3D printing metal parts, but since the parts are small, you could use a commercial 3D printing service just for those parts. Or you just buy Lego extension cables, cut each in two and wire your plugs onto each half.
You would need motor driver circuits connected to the Arduino. You could make a Lego-compatible holder for that circuit too, and support a variable number of them connected to the main Arduino Lego-compatible block. (You could easily support more than 3, even with an Arduino Uno).
You could then package various sensors (touch, thermistor, LDR, etc.) and outputs (LEDs, motors, etc.) in Lego-compatible blocks with your chosen electrical/electronic connector.
If the signals from sensors were simple analogue (or digital) signals (the sensor output just changes the resistance), they would be much simpler than EV3 ones (my impression is that they include a microcontroller and are connected by a serial interface).

Then for programming, you could provide an Arduino library, and an optional simplified environment (maybe similar to Scratch).

There might still be Lego patents on Lego Technic pieces (the patent on the basic pieces is expired) that might prevent you from making Technic-compatible pieces.

Anonymous on Aug 12, 2009 said:

these custom lego blocks, and NXT could be very synergistic. the basic blocks you've got are nice, but they could be far bigger, more complex and do amazing things to integrate legos to higher functionality.. lego robots now can easily solve the rubiks cube.. extending them with these concept would be really creative for the thousands of lego robotics builders out there..
thanks and i hope people spread the word..

Anonymous on May 12, 2009 said:

When I close my eyes I have fantasies of building a RepRap/Makerbot body from printable parts like these.

Anonymous on Sep 6, 2009 said:

With the limited build size of both Makerbot and RepRap, Modular building is a reality that we'll have to face.

dcb on May 12, 2009 said:

These are super neat, I loved legos as a kid. I can see using these to provide custom shapes as well as adapters between lego and other building kits or materials. Lego to Lincoln Logs, Lego to fabric!

Re: the loose fit. Maybe a different design would work better with printed blocks, something that's more forgiving of the print resolution and tolerances.

Anyway, good work!

4volt on May 11, 2009 said:

This is really cool, making things that you can make other things is always cool.

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