LEGO-Modded Glue Gun is a Handheld 3D Printer
Ashley Allen / 4 years ago
Industrial design student Vimal Patel has developed his own homemade 3D printer, using a hot glue gun and a custom-built extruder made from LEGO. The project is part of Patel’s university project, for which he was asked to design a delivery system for biodegradable 3D filament.
Patel’s brief was to replace multimaterial products – as commonly used by most consumer 3D printers – which contain a collection of materials shipped from around the world, with a single material that would be easily recyclable and have a lower carbon footprint.
It’s a tough job, as Patel attests to on his website:
It was clear that the layer-by-layer deposition of material constrained the plane of flexibility to a single axis which made it difficult to make complex shapes (like a helmet). The ideal situation would be to extrude material along a path in multiple axes (i.e., with a robotic arm). This is a damned difficult thing to model and program, so I sought a simpler way.
So, Patel decided to simplify the process. He replaced the 3D printer with a glue gun, constructing an attachment from LEGO that would feed the 3mm filament into the glue gun. He has made digital plans for the LEGO extruder that are available for download from his website.