"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

We built a human skin printer out of Lego and we wish every lab to make use of our blueprint.

Obtaining human tissue samples for biological research isn’t at all times easy. While they’re Morally acquired Through organ donation or from tissue removed during surgical procedures, scientists are in search of them Increasingly difficult to catch.

And it's not simply because human tissue samples are in limited supply. There can also be a limited availability of specific sizes and tissue samples required for a lot of projects at anybody time. That's why we decided to unravel this problem by creating our own low-cost, easily accessible printer capable of making human tissue samples using considered one of the world's hottest toys.

The appearance of 3D bioprinting has provided a possible solution to the issue of obtaining tissue samples. The technology involves loading “bio-ink,” which incorporates living cells, right into a cartridge. As a result, it’s then loaded into the bioprinter. Once programmed, the bioprinter prints the cell-laden bioink to create 3D structures intended to mimic the complex makeup of biological tissue.

Unlike two-dimensional cell cultures grown on plates, which most of us still depend on for the majority of our research, bioprinters enable scientists to grow cells in three dimensions. And it higher mimics the complex architecture of human biology. In other words, bioprinting technology allows researchers to create more comparable models to review healthy and diseased tissue.

The problem is that these machines are eye-watering. Expensive Some tens, even a whole bunch, hundreds of kilos. Few research teams, including ours, can stretch their budgets to cover these sorts of costs, regardless of how necessary the technology.

This is why we asked ourselves if we could construct our own inexpensive 3D bioprinter. The answer was “yes” and we decided to do it using Lego.

Bor Photography/Shutterstock

Anyone who has ever tinkered with it is going to know that not only is Lego extremely low cost and versatile, however it is built with great precision with quality parts which are universally accessible.

We also knew that Lego was addicting. Build traditional 3D printers. But what remained uncertain was whether we could take the essential concept of a Lego 3D printer — which prints solid 3D structures from plastic — and an engineer who could print soft biological materials.

Any work in our lab requires the output to be accurate, reliable and stable.

We set to work on our own inexpensive, high-quality bioprinter using standard Lego bricks, their mechanical sub-brand, in a corner of our Cardiff lab. Lego Mindstorms and a lab pump, which is a tool commonly present in research labs. A multidisciplinary team of engineers and biologists worked together to design, engineer, construct and program our bioprinter.

A machine made of Legos of different sizes and colors.
The 3D bioprinter is comprised of Lego and Lego Mindstorms.
Cardiff University, The creator provides.

Still in its infancy, our bioprinter, which costs £500 to construct, achieves the required level of precision to supply delicate biological materials. The strategy to do that could be very easy.

A nozzle ejects a gel-like substance, stuffed with cells, onto a dish. At the center of the device is a mini Lego Mindstorms computer. The device moves the dish backwards and forwards and side to side while mechanically moving the nozzle up and down because it expels the cell-filled gel. These programmable movements create layers of cells to mimic the 3D structure of human tissue, layer by layer.

Our bioprinter is now getting used to create layers of skin cells, working towards an entire skin model. By using various kinds of nozzles to print various kinds of cells, tissue samples could be modified by creating various kinds of complications. This is an exciting opportunity to simulate each healthy and diseased skin, take a look at current treatments and develop recent treatments for various skin diseases.


Our bioprinter cannot only provide us with an accurate representative model of human skin, but it will possibly even be used so as to add diseased cells to the healthy models we create. This will enable us to review how skin conditions develop and the way healthy and diseased cells interact. It will even enable us to see how skin diseases develop and the way possible treatments could be developed.

Printing artificial human skin using a Lego 3D bioprinter.

We have provided. Details on how we built our own Lego 3D bioprinter with clear instructions How to breed this device in any lab, anywhere on the planet. At a time when research funding is scarce, we’re offering an open source, accessible and inexpensive alternative that’s beyond the budget of most researchers.

Quite simply, we wish our Lego bioprinter to enable researchers to conduct necessary research that can ultimately result in a greater understanding of biology and further improve human health.