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UberBlox lets you build robots and 3D printers, Lego-style

A common complaint about the time we’re living in is the lack of flying cars and/or jetpacks. However, another sci-fi staple, the replicator, is getting closer to becoming a reality. Not only do we have easy access to replicating 3D printers, but now UberBlox will let you build your own 3D printer in a manner not entirely unlike Lego. Call it a replicator replicator.

UberBlox is described on its Kickstarter page as a “ high-quality modular metal construction system and prototyping set for makers to build rigid structures and automated machines.” If this sounds similar to Lego, it’s because the toys were part of the inspiration behind the project.

“As great as building blocks are, they don’t address the need to build more robust structures. Anyone interested in making things like machines that actually do things, accurately, is generally stuck with either having someone else build it for them, or take the years to develop skills needed to get good at design and fabrication, then spend long hours on building their designs,” founder Alex Pirseyedi said to TechCrunch.

Related: Don’t let the $179 price tag fool you — this 3D printer can print circles around most machines

While the modularity is a major selling point for UberBlox, Pirseyedi was careful not to allow for too many options. “Having used systems such as T-slot extrusions for years for designing machines, I often had to deal with a great deal of design choices. That may sound like a good thing at first glance. But it could also introduce ‘analysis-paralysis,’” he said.

The simplest components are metal bars with metal connectors, called nodes. These only allow the rough structures of machines to be built, however. For the real heavy lifting, more complex pieces will be available. The system includes “re-configurable parts, including moving components, sub-assemblies, motors, electronics and controllers based on popular boards such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.”

While backer pledges can start as low as $1, a full “pick your own selection of parts” kit starts at $100. As pledges increase, so do the options available. A pledge of $600 adds a 3D printer to the mix, while $769 or more will allow your UberBlox kit to function as a laser engraving and cutting machine.

At the time of this writing the Kickstarter has earned just over $30,000 toward its $100,000 goal. The campaign ends on April 22.