The Original Bitbeam

by hugs, published

The Original Bitbeam by hugs Sep 20, 2011
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BSD License
The Original Bitbeam by hugs is licensed under the BSD License license.

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Use Bitbeam for your robot's skeleton!

Bitbeam is LEGO Technic-compatible and awesome for building robots and other contraptions.

Each Bitbeam is an 8mm x 8mm square beam. Holes are 5.0 mm in diameter and 8mm apart from each other -- just like LEGO Technic.

The advantage of building your own Bitbeam parts over LEGO is that 1) the materials are cheaper, 2) you can make parts in sizes that Lego doesn't make, and 3) making your pwn parts is fun!


The original bitbeam design was meant to be cut with a laser cutter. The current version is meant to be made with a 3D printer.

Download the bitbeam-beam.scad file and open in OpenSCAD. Specify the length of beam, compile, render, then export the STL file. Import the STL into a slicing program (e.g. Slic3r), then print on a 3d printer (e.g. Lulzbot, Makerbot, etc.)

I'm blogging how to create and use bitbeam over at http://bitbeam.org. I've posted YouTube videos of the the bitbeams being cut by the laser. More, better, awesomer instructions will come soon, I promise!

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What infil do you recommend for 3d printing in ABS?

It took a fair bit of trial and error to get a reliable cut without flare ups, here's what I ended up doing (on an Epilog 50W):

  • Make sure the lens is clean!

  • Manually focus the bed of the laser about 5 clicks past the top surface ("into" the wood)

  • Cut the outline of the blocks first, using speed: 20, power: 95, frequency: 500. After doing 2 passes of that check if any blocks are still stuck and do a third pass on ed
    ges that aren't seperated yet.

  • Once all the blocks are free, cut just the holes using 1 pass on each of the 4 sides (again using speed: 20, power: 95, frequency: 500). You can use the scrap as a jig to hold the pieces exactly where you need them.

After that you might need to poke out some stuck
bits but it should work! I'd be interested to hear what procedure @hugs uses - doing a cut for each of the 4 sides does take a while.