MAKER MOVEMENT PROJECTS

DIY Lego 3D CNC milling machine

Written By: Bill Griggs - Aug• 23•11

Photo: Make.com

I admire people who tackle big projects with everyday items. Arthur Sacek built a DIY Lego 3D CNC milling machine completely from Lego. Sacek is a member of Brazil’s ZOOM Education for Life, a 13-year-old company that is developing innovative learning projects in cooperation with LEGO Education. Sacek made his Mini CNC milling machine using parts from LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 building system. Lego Mindstorms kits are being used in schools all around the world to introduce children to robotics.  The NXT 2.0 bloq is an intelligent microprocessor that provides an easy to use programming interface which allow drag and drop programming to make things move. Arthur Sacek built every piece of the machine using LEGO parts with the exception of the drill bit itself. Sacek used dual Rack and Pinion motor/gear drives to move the Y axis gantry fore and aft. A single motor/gear drive Rack and pinion set moves the X carriage from Left to right. Lastly a complex series of gears raise and lower the Z axis to move the drill down into the material. So far Sacek has only cut floral foam with the machine. Comments on his Youtube.com video indicate that a soft material is required because of the low torque motor  used. The milling machine is an example of subtractive machining and is different from 3D printers (additive machining ) because they remove material from the stock versus depositing material. Personal machining is really taking off all over the world thanks to open source projects like RepRap and Makerbot. The ability to have access to machining tools is empowering students and hobbyist  to innovate and may just be the spark we need to jump start the economy. While Sacek’s milling machine is not the first Lego CNC machine, it is certainly the most elegant I have seen. When you add the fact that a Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit costs under $300, you have one of the least expensive ways to make your own CNC machined parts.   Here are some examples of CNC machines built using Lego Mindstorms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnSVbzZPKWc&feature=related

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  28. [...] DIY Lego 3D CNC Milling Machine [...]

  29. [...] The Lego RCX Lathe is a “remake” of Artjur Sacek’s first LEGO CNC projects that worked with floral foam. The original machine was built in 2005 to be shown in an educational event. After the success of the lathe Sacek was inspired to create the LEGO Milling Machines. [...]

  30. Martin Rothe says:

    Hi,
    I´m from germany and I build nearly the same CNC/ Milling Machine as Arthur Sacek. I want to ask you a question? Has he written the programm manuel or with a translator? If you want to see my Milling Machine please writte me a E-Mail.

    Martin Rothe

    martinlucas.rothe@gmail.com

  31. Bill Griggs says:

    Martin,

    The program was written manually without a translator.He has made some changes recently but has not shared them with me. I would love to see a picture of your Lego CNC machine. Send it to support@makermasters.com.

    Bill

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