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I apologize if this is a silly question. My kids recently went to a LEGO robotics workshop at our local science museum and LOVED it.

Is there a way to buy just the robotic parts (motor, sensors, software, etc)? We don't need anymore lego bricks, as we have them coming out our ears, lol.

I did see parts on ebay, but got overwhelmed since I really don't know about the different types and what is compatible. Is there a good place to learn about that?

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Yes, you can buy all the electronic parts by themselves, but given that the electronic parts are the bulk of the cost, you may not save much.

The MINDSTORMS EV3 set (MSRP $349.99 USD) contains:

  • 1 - EV3 Intelligent Brick (MSRP $189.99 USD)
  • 1 - EV3 Color Sensor (MSRP $39.99 USD)
  • 1 - EV3 Infrared Sensor (MSRP $29.99 USD)
  • 1 - EV3 Touch Sensor (MSRP $19.99 USD)
  • 1 - EV3 Cable Pack (MSRP $14.99 USD)
  • 2 - EV3 Large Servo Motor (MSRP $24.99 USD each)
  • 1 - EV3 Medium Servo Motor (MSRP $19.99 USD)
  • 1 - EV3 Infrared Beacon (MSRP $29.99 USD)
  • Software: Free download.

That comes to a total of: $394.91, or $44.92 over the price of the whole kit.

That means you would have to find these pieces for a fair bit less than the MSRP to save any money (remember shipping costs if you get them from multiple sellers), which could be difficult as these pieces tend to have good resale value. At quick glance on BrickLink, I found you can maybe get $40 of an EV3 Intelligent Brick, but the EV3 Medium Servo Motor is actually selling over the MSRP (possibly because it is backordered).

We don't need anymore lego bricks

The Mindstorms kits actually come with LEGO Technic pieces, not bricks. You would not really be able to use these electronic parts without a fair number of Technic pieces.

If you plan to follow along with the instructions from the kit, you would need to have the parts in the kit.

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    OK, that makes sense. The kits they used at the workshop were apparently much more basic. They were some kind of educational kit that just had a motor, tilt sensor, motion sensor, and various Lego pieces. Would you say you can build things other than what the instructions show with the EV3 set? My older son hates instructions and almost always builds his own thing. – Becky Brown Dec 9 '17 at 23:56
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    @BeckyBrown Sounds like you might be describing LEGO Education WeDo. I don't know if LEGO limits who can buy them, but they are also available on BrickLink. Both MindStorms and WeDo can certainly be built into other things besides what the instructions say. – Alexander O'Mara Dec 10 '17 at 1:42
  • It could also be the new LEGO Boost sets - the software is available from the App Stores, but I don't know if the logic brick is available on its own yet. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Dec 11 '17 at 11:38
  • There's also EV3 education set, that has several more sensors (and lacks the remote) compared to the EV3 retail set. The education set is actually better value for money if you have already some LEGO at home, as it gives you more robot parts and a lithium battery. – Marek Lewandowski Dec 21 '18 at 9:38

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