Apple employee makes a printer from Lego!

Normally on this blog we cover highly technical printing innovations, but this printer is rather more low tech. An Apple engineer has created a functioning pen printer, using only standard LEGO bricks (and a pen).

This isn’t the first time a printer has been made out of LEGO, in 2010, “professional geek” Adam created a LEGO printer which printed using a felt tip pen and earlier this year a 12 year old designed a braille printer made out of LEGO.

Although not the first, Andrew’s printer is unique because it doesn’t use computers, motors or electronics, it is hand powered and 100% made from LEGO.

Andrew started building LEGO machines in 1991, when he decided to create a mechanical calculator out of LEGO using only standard lego pieces, a project that took him ten years. Undeterred, Andrew has since completed a number of other LEGO projects, “it’s like solving a puzzle – I have to be very creative in how I utilise the parts”, he said.

The printer is operated by a network of chains, which move the pen up or down and the paper forwards and backwards. It can write words and create simple drawings. Explaining the system, Andrew told Wired Magazine, “there are several needles which move up and down to touch these LEGO chains with wide and narrow links. One turn of the hand crank moves one link of the chains, If the needle hits a wide link, it’s blocked from going further down; if it passes a narrow link, the needle can continue to go past it to engage a ratchet and turn a gear. It’s reading a binary code written in the chains”.

Although we can’t claim to have anything as novel as a lego printer, if you need help with virtually any other type of printing, get in touch.