Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Development and evaluation of a low‐cost lego 3d bioprinter: from building‐blocks to building blocks of life

Moukachar, Ahmad, Harvey, Katie, Roke, Eva, Sloan, Katherine, Pool, Cameron, Moola, Shabbir, Alshukri, Ameer, Jarvis, Danielle, Crews‐Rees, Phoebe, McDermott, Grace, Evans, Lluan, Li, Jin ORCID:, Thomas, Christopher ORCID:, Coulman, Sion ORCID: and Castell, Oliver ORCID: 2023. Development and evaluation of a low‐cost lego 3d bioprinter: from building‐blocks to building blocks of life. Advanced Materials Technologies 8 (6) , 2100868. 10.1002/admt.202100868

[thumbnail of admt.202100868.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB)


The development of low‐cost accessible technologies for rapid prototyping of mechanical components has democratised engineering tools for hobbyists and researchers alike. The development of analogous approaches to fabrication of soft‐matter, and biologically compatible materials containing living cells, is anticipated to be similarly enabling across multiple fields of biological research. LEGO toy construction bricks represent low‐cost, precision engineered, and versatile construction materials for rapid prototyping. This study demonstrates construction of a benchtop LEGO 3D bioprinter for additive layer manufacture of a 3D structure containing viable human skin cells within a hydrogel scaffold. 3D bioprinted structures are formed from the deposition of microfluidically generated bio‐ink droplets containing live keratinocyte skin cells, representing components toward an artificial skin model. Fluid flow rates and printer speed, together with bio‐ink gelation rate, determine droplet packing arrangement in the bioprinted structures. The printing of 3D structures containing multiple bio‐inks is demonstrated and live cells are imaged in the resulting bioprints. Fluid delivery can be achieved using LEGO pumps and readily available, or home‐3D‐printed, microfluidic components, therefore avoiding the need for any specialist microfluidic hardware. Build instructions are described to enable easy uptake, modification and improvement by other laboratories, as well provide an accessible platform for learning and education. Affordable, accessible, and easy to use tools for 3D bioprinting are anticipated to open opportunities for a greater number of research labs to work with 3D cell culture and bio‐printed materials, with bioprinting expected to assist in better understanding of disease, contribute to tissue engineering and repair, and enable personalised medicine through the printing of cultured patient cells. The presented approach is not only an easily accessible laboratory tool for bioprinting, but also provides a learning system for mechanical construction, robotics, coding, microfluidics and cell biology, making it a versatile platform for research, education, and science engagement.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 2365-709X
Funders: EU H2020 ACDC G.A. n° 82406
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 January 2023
Date of Acceptance: 27 January 2023
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2023 20:59

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics