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Posted on June 2nd, 2010 by Mike Jennings

The genius of the Lego Printer: video

Let’s be clear on one thing: Lego is brilliant. The block-based toy started life in Denmark and, since its current design was patented in January 1958, over 400 billion of the little plastic bricks have been produced.

We assumed that this simple toy would never go hand-in-hand with computers, but we’ve been proved wrong by a particularly inventive member of the B3ta forums. While the site is normally full of offensive pictures and jokes that Frankie Boyle wouldn’t tell, this show of ingenuity is guaranteed to put a smile on your face: by combining the diminutive plastic bricks with a Mac and a felt-tip pen, he’s built a fully-functioning Lego printer:

I hope you’ll agree that it’s work of genius. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with a boxful of knobbly plastic bricks. That Lego server won’t build itself.

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44 Responses to “ The genius of the Lego Printer: video ”

  1. Ian Devlin Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Ha ha, that is indeed genius!

  2. Paul Jones Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Nice. Lego is entirely Danish though.

  3. Mike Jennings Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for pointing that out, Paul – it’s now been changed!

  4. Ben Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Simply awesome!

  5. stokegabriel Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    At least the replacement ink is cheap.

  6. JohnAHind Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Nice, but in the genius stakes (being defined as something I could not do) this is better:

  7. Paul B Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    @JohnAHind – First a Printer and then this – who knew Lego could be so versatile? Also like the Lego workmen placed on the Lego printer – nice little touch :)

  8. Daniel Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Absolutely the best thing I’ve seen in years!

  9. troll Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    typical mac fanboy.

  10. swiz Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    +1 robotics
    -1 upset children

  11. ender Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Outstanding. Good for you. Clever, funny, and ingenious.

  12. Josh Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I’m disappointed, I thought I was going to read an article about a printer that printed Legos.

  13. Tony Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    While cool, I was also disappointed. I thought it was a printer that build stuff out of legos. That would have been wicked awesome instead of just cool.

  14. john Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Its not that big of a deal. I made one of those in 7th grade back in the early 90s on an apple ][ there were no printer driver systems.

  15. KlaymenDK Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Needs optimisation.

    No way does this really require 6 guys — including two on friggin’ horseback!

    Well done.

  16. Andre Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    This is really cool.

    For an additional challenge: see if this could be done without the custom electronics and use Lego Mindstorms instead.

  17. bugme143 Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    ’scuze me, gotta go buy more legos to make this thing. 10 to 3 LEGO is going to get wind of this and make it a kit!

  18. dinkydavey Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Perhaps your parents have a large Lego bag tucked away in the attic somewhere to really go to town with!!!

  19. Iso Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Doh, it`s one color and even no shades…

  20. a10112 Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Well, Iso, son of Jacob, make a lego printer with an array of pencils so that you may have a shade-able printer!

  21. Erik Olson Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Very nice. But not the first: something like it was in the 80s Lego Technic Idea Book #8888, except it used Lego punchcards to guide the (multi color) pens. Another book in the day featured a Lego turtle pen attached to an Apple ][. But bravo for doing the raster printer!

  22. Anonymous Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 12:56 am

    This is better:

  23. Jerry Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Very cool even if it has been done before. I’d really like to know what the cost of a printing like device like this would be and the cost for “ink”. IE a pencil/pen were used in place of traditional inkjet ink or laser toner. Obviously it would only be very sketchy crummy quality. I’d think you could probably get a decent enough quality with sufficient refinement though still for printing stuff off the internet and wordd processing. Even if you wouldn’t be printing pictures. As it is now the quality probably only allows for very big lined text.

  24. Strodtbeck Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 3:03 am

    That’s great! Someone apparently had a little extra time on their hands.

  25. JayBoom Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 3:36 am

    As a former employee of LEGO, just want to point out that LEGO is always spelt out in caps and will never have an “s” at the end. LEGO is a brand name much like Kleenex.

  26. Snotty Nose Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I need to go to the store to buy some kleenexes after reading this story about legos.

  27. Sam Watkins Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 9:36 am

    That is really awesome. He should write up an instruction manual and publish or sell it, maybe talk to lego about selling it as a lego kit – together with some electronics hobbyist kit company (such as dick smith australia) for the electronics part of it!

    Again, really awesome, and the quality of the print isn’t too bad either! Next how about the 3-pen colour model! :)

  28. Bored Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Boring… couldn’t build anything more interesting? Worse, it’s not even in color. The world is full of stupid people impressed with stupid stuff like this.

  29. Benjamin Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I bet you an ink jet cartridge that the ink replacement cost is cheaper than any other non-laser printer.

  30. dp Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    LEGO people are awesome! They probably can design something to plug the oil spill!

  31. TiredGeek Says:
    June 4th, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Lets hope Mac doesn’t see this, or LEGO is gonna have to be called “iLEGO”, cost x10 more and only be available in white!
    Or is this a sneak preview of the new printer for the ipad? Mac buyers would flock to it…….

  32. Advanced Colon Max Says:
    June 4th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    It is really the work of a genius!!

  33. Alan Deepdale Says:
    June 5th, 2010 at 1:34 am

    JayBoom: Agreed about the lack of “s”, but the ALL CAPS is just stupid, seeing as “Lego” is not an initialism. Companies that insist on ALL CAPS irritate me – Chanel does it (”CHANEL”) and that’s annoying too. Nearly everyone here (the UK) writes “Lego bricks” (”Legos” seems to be mostly an Americanism) and that looks much better than “LEGO”.

  34. Steve Says:
    June 5th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Yay! Roll on the full colour version.

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  36. Mark Says:
    June 11th, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Works better than my piece of shit Epson. Are there any blue prints or tutorial available for this? I would love to try it.

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