This is a repost of our Lego Mindstorms: Banner Print3r Bot build. I wanted to make it more clear and added a few more tips and pictures. I hope it helps out anyone building this right now!
Note: Google Drive had a security update that made our old program links for the alphabet program on page 4 obsolete and inaccessible. I’ve fixed this and they should be viewable again.
I’ve separated this post into pages to help speed up page loading. To continue with the rest of the post, just click on the page numbers at the bottom of the page after the pictures of the related posts.
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Since the Lego Mindcub3r took so long to build and get working, the kids played with it for more than a few days. It wasn’t until last week that we decided it was time to take the Mindcub3r apart and build a new bot to play with. Josh gave us a few options, and I decided we would try the Banner Print3r bot.
What is The Banner Printer?
The LEGO Mindstorms Banner Print3r bot can draw or write on a cash register/calculator paper roll using a standard Sharpie marker. If you have a washable marker though that works as well as and is the same size as a Sharpie, I’d recommend using that. We didn’t have any cash register paper rolls and I didn’t feel like taking all the kids to Staples, so I ordered a 12-pack off Amazon. At first, I thought I had bought too much paper, but it ended up being a good thing. We are already using our second cash register paper roll!
Since this is a monster post (1500 words!), I am going to place the rest of it under a read more.
This robot was even more challenging than the Lego Mindcuber robot. It wasn’t the build itself that was difficult, but the programming that was the challenging part. Matthias was able to build the bot in about an hour. Troubleshooting the actual workings of the robot took about a day. Programming took us about two days since we decided to program each letter of the alphabet instead of programming only certain letters.
Where to download The LEGO Mindstorms Banner Printer building instructions and the program:
There isn’t as much info as you would expect about this bot on the Internet. The best place we found for the program itself was at ConstructingKids.com. Ralph Hempel designed the original Banner Print3r bot and building instructions are also at the Lego.com website (the downloadable program doesn’t seem to be at the Lego website though). We used the building instructions from the Lego website and then downloaded the program from ConstructingKids.com. You will need to download two of the files from the Google Drive that is linked at Constructing Kids: LEGO EV3.ev3p and PlotStep.ev3p. The Lego EV3 file will tell your bot to print out “LEGO EV3.” This is a good file to use just to see if your Print3r bot is working correctly. The PlotStep file is what is used to “build” letters.
EDIT: I did not know that you could download the program AND build instructions right from the google drive link at constructingkids.com. I would suggest doing that instead of using the building instructions at the Lego.com website. At the time that we built this robot, I did not totally understand the Lego Mindstorms programming environment. See this post for more info.
The following link contains the programs you will need for this portion of the build.
The following pictures show where on the downloads page you will go depending on the software you need: Tablet, Mac, or PC.
It is probably easiest to download the whole program. To do that, click the download icon as highlighted in the next image.
You can use the LEGO Mindstorms programmer app on a tablet as well, but it was easier for us to use a laptop.
When you open the BANNERPRINT3R.ev3 program, the build instructions will be accessible within the LEGO Mindstorms programming environment itself.
Once you finish with the build portion and you want to get to the programming portion, just click the icon as circled in the above image, and the build instructions will be hidden.
I would suggest reading through all the comment boxes before doing anything else! They were a huge help to us later on when we decided to program the alphabet ourselves. Later in this post, I will post a link to the complete alphabet that we built.