Tag Archives: How To

3D printing a LEGO-compatible servo holder and Arduino Micro casing

Arduino continues its 3D printing tutorial series for its brand-new Materia 101.

It’s no secret that LEGO has been the perennial building blocks for DIYers spanning across decades. And, it’s also no surprise that the bricks are being paired with the Arduino open-source platform. Together, they are enabling Makers to bring their wildest ideas to life. If you recall, late last year, Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi announced the launch of the company’s first 3D Printer: the Arduino Materia 101. The device, which is powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) and a RAMPS 1.4 shield, is currently available for pre-order. In an effort to lower the barriers of entry and get Makers started, our friends have published a series of tutorials, including this LEGO-compatible servo holder and Arduino Micro casing from Kristoffer.


First, the Maker designed a brick using the parametric 3D modeler FreeCAD, which is capable of holding a small servo. The 3D-printed brick itself is comprised of two 2×4 LEGO pieces, that joined together, serve as the project’s base. Next, make a hole for the servo, carve out a groove for the cable, extend the cylinders beneath the brick, and like that, your piece is just about complete. As Kristoffer notes, print your piece standing up with the side with the open cylinders facing downwards (as pictured above). Now, you can easily add wheels to LEGO robots and use variously-sized servos. Follow Kristoffer’s 10-step tutorial to get started.


Meanwhile, this isn’t the only LEGO-comptaible, 3D-printed piece the Maker has whipped up recently. Kristoffer also designed an enclosure for the highly-popular Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4) using a Materia, which can beused together with this DIY power function IR receiver.


In order to make the casing as minimal as possible, the Maker used a Micro without header pins. Meaning, Makers looking to create one of their own will have to solder straight onto the Arduino PCB board itself. However, in true open-source fashion, Kristoffer encourages anyone to modify the design to accommodate for the ATmega32U4 based Arduino with headers or something else.

Interested? You can head over to his step-by-step breakdown of the project, and download all the necessary FreeCAD files here.

Making your own e-textile Arduino with ATtiny85

In a recent Instructables post, a Maker by the name of Jesse Seay has outlined how to create your own entry level e-textile Atmel-powered Arduino.


As the basis of low-cost microcontrollers like the Picoduino, Trinket, and for e-textiles, the Gemma and the LilyTiny, the Maker explains using an ATtiny85 chip is a simple and cost-effective way to get into Arduino.

“These off-the-shelf boards are brilliantly designed and great for one-offs. If, however, you need a bunch (or you’re feeling crafty), you can make your own wearable board.” To do just that, the Maker provides a step-by-step tutorial to demonstrate just how simple it is to fabricate your own Arduino electronic textile component. For this project, Jesse set out to create a collar that mimicked a heartbeat.


Beginning by cutting the stripboard to fit the 8-pin chip, Jesse notes that you could use a common box-cutter to carry out this task; however, be aware that cutting this way is less accurate so make the board larger to compensate, the Maker warns. “The box cutter will also work on the copper traces.”


Next, the leads are to be bent and soldered. Our Maker instructs others to heat up each lead/copper pad with the wet tip of your soldering iron and then feed in your solder.


Lastly, the board is to be connected to the e-textile and sewn into place. Once that’s complete, you’re free to wear your creation proudly!

Get a full breakdown of the tutorial on the project’s official Instructables page here. If you’re looking to explore some other Arduino-based DIY projects, you can head on over to Bits & Pieces archive.