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Arthur Sacek‘s lathe works on floral foam. A project he has been working on since 2005, Arthur recently rebuilt the lathe using the still-robust RCX microcontroller brick, the precursor to the soon-to-be-replaced NXT brick. [via The NXT Step]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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  1. Tim says:

    I really think LEGO underestimates themselves. If they made a non-toy, heavier-duty version of their building systems and all the mindstorm stuff, people everywhere would feel better about having made something awesome that was more….i dunno….everday usable. Even saying that seems unfair to this project and other projects like the pancakebot… but hopefully you get my point. LEGO Mindstorms is definately a great leapboard for prototyping stuff like this but think of the possibilities of creating a building system that has a much higher degree of longevity and durability.

    1. Tim says:

      Before you jump on the “what about erector sets” band wagon like a fat kid on a cupcake…yes, i did consider it but it doesnt have the versatility of lego IMO

    2. andytanguay says:

      I think you make a really good point. You see a LOT of stuff bashed together with Legos that could be genuinely useful – no offense to the maker – if a more robust system existed.

    3. Tim says:

      Imagine this mill (or even in an XYZ desktop style) that was made out of the stronger system. Now you have a device that is easier to upgrade and alter and will still have the strength and durability to get the job done reliably and accurately time and again and only costs the amount of the tougher lego kit.

      Truly limitless…

    4. Matt says:

      They sort of do. Lego partners with Tetrix to sell kits powered by NXT bricks. It looks like Erector Sets/Meccano ver 2.0

      1. Tim says:

        Yea, I discovered the tetrix stuff about three months ago but it’s still a little too “erector” for my taste. I remember being excited as a kid when i got an erector set one year but then being disappointed later that day at the limits and clumsiness of the Erector system.
        I guess I was imagining a metal piece LEGO kit….kinda. I dunno. I’ll throw the gauntlet down here:

        Attn MAKE community, build a metal lego kit.

        1. Bill Shaw says:

          Made one. Sold it online for about 18 months. Sales were underwhelming. Quit selling them a year ago. You can see some of the parts and models built with it on my blog at http://inanimatereason.com .

      2. asciimation says:

        There is also Fischertechnik (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischertechnik). Ignore their kiddy range stuff and look at the educational range.I remember my old university having a huge, working model of an assembly line made out of it.

        Simon

  2. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    My guess is that if the elements were well-enough-made to build a “serious” mill from them, it would end up being cheaper to just buy a purpose-built mill. Of course, the reconfigurability might be worth the additional cost, to some.

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