3D printers are extremely versatile machines but what happens if you simply grow tired of printing your own meme-based figurines, complex spherical gears or other common creations? Why not hack the machine and use its parts to build an automated air hockey opponent?

That’s exactly what one hardware hacker by the name of Jose Julio (no relation to our own Jose and Julio) recently did with his 3D printer. Julio started with a RepRap 3D printer, a DIY kit that is capable of printing replacement parts (or even a full system for a friend).

There was a lot to figure out (puck detection, robot speed, etc.) but through trial and error, he eventually got the machine up and running. And as you can see from the clip above, the robot is very good at the game and difficult to defeat.

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