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14 year-old designs functioning Lego printer

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February 29, 2012

The PriNXT functioning printer made of Lego by 14-year old Lego Mindstorms wunderkind Leon...

The PriNXT functioning printer made of Lego by 14-year old Lego Mindstorms wunderkind Leon Overweel

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The PriNXT may not be the first functioning printer made of Lego, but given that it was made by 14-year old Lego Mindstorms wunderkind Leon Overweel, we won't hold that against it.

The printer employs three motors to control the motion of a felt tip pen. Overweel converts source image files into to a text file of 1s and 0s using Paint.NET, which is then (after some tinkering) imported into RobotC - a development environment used to control Lego Mindstorms NXT robots (among other things) based on the C programming language.

Two of the PriNXT's motors control the pen along the X and Y axes, while the third lifts and lowers it from the page. The printer also makes use of two touch sensors, a light sensor and a color sensor. The light sensor is cleverly used to assist with the vertical motion of the pen.

This is by no means Overweel's first foray into Lego engineering. Only last month, he blogged about his Skype-controlled NXT Car. Check out Overweel's video of the printer fulfilling its raison d'être below.

Source: World of Mindstorms, via Make

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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9 Comments

Something tells me this Overweel kid is going to do rather well for himself if he keeps this up. Very clever.

PeetEngineer
1st March, 2012 @ 09:29 am PST

It's not a Printer, it's a flatbed plotter.

Still, it's a cleaver device. Kudos to the designer.

YetAnotherBob
1st March, 2012 @ 10:54 am PST

Somebody give this kid some hydrogen and a Radio Shack giftcard. I'd like to see reliable Fusion power and FTL propulsion before I die.

Mark Hansche
2nd March, 2012 @ 10:40 am PST

...you think maybe Leon may have had a little help from his dad?:)

b@man
2nd March, 2012 @ 08:08 pm PST

b@man: nope it's all me :)

Leon Overweel
4th March, 2012 @ 05:19 pm PST

Ever tried making a scanner with the lego light sensor?

Frank A L'Estrange
4th March, 2012 @ 06:41 pm PST

b@man - he certainly had moral support, something which makes people more *willing* to succeed. Well done Leon, if you're still following. When I was young, I designed a "new" type of steering mechanism and sent the details to Lego. They sent a thank-you letter!

agulesin
5th March, 2012 @ 04:03 am PST

Bravo Leon

when can you start working on the smartphone builtin printer. Nothing fancy, just something small and built into the phone so I can print out the occasionall address or list that I need on paper

3razer
5th March, 2012 @ 06:18 am PST

to yetanotherbob: PRINTER

Facebook User
12th March, 2012 @ 07:10 pm PDT
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