Tag Archives: LEGO-Compatible

mCookies are Arduino and LEGO-compatible modules


These quarter-sized, stackable, Arduino and LEGO-compatible modules allow Makers to bring their ideas to life. 


If there’s one trend that is continuing to evolve throughout the Maker Movement, it’s modularity. DIYers are constantly seeking expedited and efficient ways to piece together their projects, all while bringing their ideas to life without the hassles of soldering and wiring messes. Joining the likes of littleBits and Modulo, the Microduino crew has launched mCookie — a small, stackable electronic hardware kit for designers, engineers and curious tinkerers of any age and skill set.

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You may recall their first Kickstarter campaign from back in September 2013, which went on to garner well over its pledge goal in just a matter of days. Since then, Microduino has developed over 50 blocks and 30 sensors, and has granted users access to more than 100 basic tutorials, 500 project samples and a burgeoning online community.

Hoping to continue riding its wave of success, the next-generation of Microduino consists of quarter-sized hardware components inspired by the incredibly popular Arduino platform that not only connect magnetically, but can be built into predesigned projects or used to innovate new ones as well. Each open source module is color-coded and is designed to be stacked on top of a main processor to perform one core function — whether that’s expanding Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, GPS and sensor hubs, audio and battery management, or a core USB.

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As its creators note, there are three microcontroller modules in the mCookie series, all of which powered by Atmel. The CoreUSB is built around the ATmega32U4, while the Core and Core+ are driven by an ATmega328P and ATmega644PA, respectively.

Ultimately, these components will provide users with the ability to build any number of projects, ranging from drones and robots to wearables and smart gardening gadgets. Helping speed up the development process, these devices can be programmed using Arduino IDE and integrated into existing Arduino sketches of all kinds. Aside from that, the modules are even LEGO-compatible and only fit together when the right connection is formed, making them more accessible to people of all ages and eliminating the need for soldering.

Meanwhile, for projects that require a little more reinforcement, spring pins offer rugged surface-to-surface linkage between circuit boards for an extended usable lifetime, and M2 screws can be employed to securely fasten more robust designs. Not only geared towards beginners, experienced and well-seasoned Makers can write their own programs in the Arduino IDE and transmit that program to the hardware via USB, too.

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mCookie comes in a variety of packages, including Basic, Advanced and Expert kits, each of which bundles different boards and sensors. So whether you’re looking for a fast and simple way to devise a remote-controlled LEGO car, a Wi-Fi weather station or even a DIY quadcopter, mCookie is for you. With its incredibly popular crowdfunding campaign complete, Microduino expects to begin shipping units by the end of July 2015.

Tutorial: 3D print a LEGO-compatible LED brick with Arduino


LEGOs have been the perennial building blocks for DIYers for decades, and therefore, it’s no surprise that the bricks are being paired with Arduino to bring ideas to life. Now Makers, what if you could 3D print those very same plastic pieces? 


Over the past couple of weeks, our friends at Arduino have been designing LEGO-compatible creations using their first 3D Printer: the Arduino Materia 101. To demonstrate just how it easy it is to get started with the Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) powered device, the company’s resident 3D specialist Kristoffer has been releasing new tutorials, including bricks with some added light effects.

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Over the past couple of weeks, our friends at Arduino have been designing LEGO-compatible creations using the company’s first 3D Printer: the Arduino Materia 101. To demonstrate just how it easy it is to get started with the Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) powered device, Arduino’s 3D specialist Kristoffer has been releasing new tutorials, including bricks with some added light effects.

First, the Maker designed a brick using the parametric 3D modeler FreeCAD, though just about any CAD or 3D modeling software could do the trick. He then went on to remove the knobs from the block, while hollowing out the top to make an LED holder. Kristoffer does note that a box will need to be added in order to fill the brick. After merging the brick with the box and adding a cutout for the LED, you’re well on your way to creating a blinking piece.

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“To compensate for the expanding nature of the plastic, we will make the bottom edges of the brick a little bit thinner. To make the brick printable we will make the cylinder on the of the brick touch the print surface when we print it,” Kristoffer writes. Given the extremely small size of the print, the 3D specialist advises to use a lower temperature (195 or 200℃) and a lower speed. This will allow the Materia to extrude thicker plastic and ensure that the previous layers have enough time to cool down.

Interested in making your own blinking brick? You can find Arduino’s entire step-by-step tutorial here, as well as several other LEGO-compatible projects here.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.