Posts Tagged ‘lego’

MakerBot Your Memorial Day


Life's a Beach


Woohooooo! Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and hot dang are we excited to blow off some steam! It’s been an absolute whirlwind here at MakerBot HQ. The Wall Street Journal scooped our big move to to the Brooklyn Tech Triangle,  but we still managed to put the final bolts on our traveling Robot Petting Zoo and pack them off to the first Maker Faire of the year in San Mateo! We hooked up with our old pal Schuyler and talked to thousands of people about changing the world with desktop manufacturing, and more importantly, customizing our own LEGO blocks. We captured some magical moments  in our photo booth and went hunting for bots in the wild. We exchanged much needed hugs with our west coast family. We made @hugs idea come to life and helped a really cool kid fix his Go-Kart in 45 minutes flat. It was AWESOME. We got home just in time to cause a disruption at TechCrunch and say a bittersweet farewell to our second season of MakerBot TV. What should we do next season?

Oh! We also  helped a team of engineers light up the Bay Bridge in San Francisco and gave Jared Leto a giant PLA frog.

How to Start The Summer Off Right:


Head to the beach.

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Crack open a cold one.

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Get patriotic.

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Ladyada’s Workshop LEGO Set: Vote And Make This REAL

Posted by on Friday, May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

We make an open-source robot so that people can make better things and a better worlds. That’s why we work really hard to keep costs down on high quality machines and plastic. We just want people to have this stuff and start imagining and doing.

What if kids could imagine the workshop of their dreams? What if little girl could look at a LEGO set and think of herself as a person who runs a technology company?

Ladyada, the master maker and hardware hacker at adafruit, and LEGO artist Bruce Lowell have created a fun, inspirational LEGO set to get boys and girls excited about engineering. Look at this set!


We are really excited about this LEGO set, and we need you guys to go VOTE for it at LEGO Cuusoo! In order for this to become a real set, it needs 10,000 votes. Help give kids the chance to imagine what it’s like to run a hardware and electronics company and learn about open source. This is what empowerment looks like at an early age, and MakerBot is in full support.

Just think what a kid might decide to learn about when she sees this laser cutter.


Or when he encounters this clean workspace with soldering station.



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How One Guy’s Idea Came To Life On A MakerBot At Maker Faire

I’m still buzzing from Maker Faire, which Annelise captured beautifully in the last episode of Season 2 of MakerBot TV. I met thousands and thousands of people at the MakerBot tent, including people who were discovering us for the first time and people who had all three generations of bots at home.

And then there were people in the middle, like Jason Huggins, or hugs on Thingiverse. Jason was part of the Grid Beam booth just down the path from our tent, and stopped by during set up on Friday to say hello. When I asked him whether he was a MakerBotter, he said no, but that he was a part of the community and had a good Thingiverse success story. Incidentally, Jason is the founder of Sauce Labs, a cloud version of the website performance testing services Selenium that he also started. But he is an enthusiastic open source hardware guy, too.

Last fall, Jason started his project Bitbeam, which he explains this way on his blog:

Bitbeam = Lego + Grid Beam = Awesome

To clarify: Grid Beam is a construction system created by Phil and Richard Jergensen, and Bitbeam is a miniaturization of that concept to just the right scale that it’s compatible with Lego, and especially Lego Technic.

Jason added Bitbeam to Thingiverse last September as a file for laser cutting, and before the day was out, there were two derivatives including a version you can make on a MakerBot. He was really excited to tell me about that, and I was excited to hear it. One person put an open source hardware idea into the community, and someone else, a total stranger, took it from one way of making things into another in just a few hours.

And here’s how Maker Faire chapter of this story makes it more awesome. When Jason told me at our tent on Friday that he had still never seen his Bitbeams made on a MakerBot, I said I could easily run the file through ReplicatorG for him. I did that in a spare moment that same evening, which took me all of two minutes, and finally caught up with Jason on Sunday to show him the final product. This was the look on his face.

A Happy Hugs

And this was his tweet to me:

It’s nice when a grown up can be genuinely surprised and delighted by something. Jason told me that he has no real interest in laser cutting the Bitbeam pieces in balsa wood — although, I have to say I really think they’re nice looking — and would rather just tell the world to get a MakerBot and make all the pieces themselves. He twisted and bent the ABS parts in his hand and said the durability was better than the wood. Just to be sure of the quality of the design, we linked one up to one of his Bitbeam constructions on display. Perfect fit!

MakerBotted Bitbeam attached to laser cut Bitbeam

I was thrilled to meet Jason and to give him a little confirmation that his idea of making his designs on a MakerBot was a great one. This was really easy because we were at Maker Faire together, but this is exactly the kind of thing that happens in hackerspaces all the time. If you own a MakerBot, I hope you give yourself the thrill of making something for someone, and letting them tell you their ideas that could take over the world.

This stuff never gets old.


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Questions from Maker Faire: How many bricks?

Posted by on Monday, May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized
Any brick?!

Any brick?!

This last weekend I had the good fortune to be able to help out with the MakerBot booth at the 2012 Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo1  So many people had so many interesting questions that I’d like to just can’t help sharing a few of them here on the blog.

One of my favorite series of questions came from two boys who were at the booth with their father.  After watching half a squirrel being printed out, they asked what material the MakerBot was using to make objects.  I explained that it was the same ABS that went into Legos.  All of a sudden the pairs of eyes that were watching the Replicator were now on me with laser focus.  They had to know if the robot could make Legos.  I told them that people had, indeed, shared designs for Lego compatible bricks on Thingiverse and they were no longer constrained to only have those bricks they could find in stores – they could have any brick they could design.  Now, that got their attention.

Their father, ever the savvy and wary consumer, wanted to know just how expensive it would be to make those bricks.  I responded with my own question – how many plastic building pieces could they buy for $50?  The father and both kids agreed that it wasn’t much – $50.00 might buy you a medium sized Lego set.  I reminded them that those boxes were also mostly empty – you buy a lot of air when you buy a box of Legos. 2  Hefting a spool of ABS plastic in their direction I told them that $50.00 would buy enough plastic to make more than two pounds of bricks – bricks of any size and shape they could imagine.  That definitely got the dad’s attention.

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  1. Near San Francisco []
  2. Don’t get me wrong.  I love Legos and own a LOT of them. []
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Toy Train for Legos by sconine

Posted by on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Here we have a very exciting new Thingiverse item: a Lego-compatible train!  This is a seriously viable toy, especially since we can already print compatible train tracks.  Add in the Lego blocks that you’ve already got at home (don’t pretend you threw them out…) and voilà: infinitely customizable train set!

You know, for kids.  I mean, I definitely don’t see any adults printing out these parts.  Who plays with toys at our age?

Thanks are due to prolific Thingiverse modeler sconine, who created this (and other) awesome 3d models for playing with.  I’m sure that he just printed these parts out to make sure they’re optimized for play.  For children to play with, I mean.  These things are for kids to play with.  Kids.

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The Christmas Lego Men of Kansas City by Skimbal

The Great Hall, Union Station

The Great Hall, Union Station

You may already remember Michael Curry, aka Skimbal on Thingiverse, from his epic Cathedral Play Set or his rubber band design challenge winning rubber band gear mechanism.  Well, you’re going to love his latest design – Christmas greeting themed oversized Lego people.  My favorite part is the slide show of his twenty Lego people touring Kansas City.

This year instead of sending Christmas Cards I decided to use my Makerbot to make something unique for my friends. And naturally the project took on a life of its own.

The final result was 20 Lego Men at 4x the normal size. Each inscribed with a holiday greeting.

Before dispatching them off to the world, I decided it would be nice to take all 20 brothers on a photographic tour of Kansas City.

Happy Holidays to all of the Thingiverse Community.

-Michael Curry

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Duplo Brick Train Track Adapter by Zydac

Duplo Brick to Brio Track adapter

Duplo Brick to Brio Track adapter

I just love this new Duplo to train track adapter by Zydac.  It is absolutely brilliant on so many levels.  First off, I just like anything that extends an existing toy.  That this extends two different kinds of toys just makes it that much cooler.  I remember as a kid having Duplo blocks and then eventually “graduating” to regular Lego bricks.  The problem is that once you move to the “older” toy, the Duplos become obsolete.

What I like most about this thing is that it totally solves the problem of what do with old Duplo bricks after your kids1 outgrow them.  Now these old bricks don’t have to be relegated for a dusty bin in the garage.  They can be repurposed and renewed with a totally different toy.

How much more useful are toys when you can use them together seamlessly?  Is this a linear progress – are both toys twice as useful?  With zero actual evidence to back it up, I expect the usefulness would be exponential.

What would you do with a MakerBot?  How would you make toy converters and adapters?  How would you upgrade your toys?

  1. Or you. []
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