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Build your own computer

By Peter Naulls. Published: 29th Jul 2003, 15:26:09 | Permalink | Printable

Acorn machine made from Lego

What happens when you take several hundred bricks from a famous Danish toy maker and combine with a under-powered computer from an infamous British computer company? No, it's not a ZX Spectrum powered radio controlled toy pig (Denmark exporting bacon of course), but a Lego encased A7000.

The perpetrator of this evil feat is none other than Peter Howkins who recently brought you the RISC OS Modules Database.

A Lego encased computer is far from a new idea of course, and Peter's been able to get inspiration from many sources. In particular this Lego Mac which sold on eBay for 365UKP. In addition, a suitable Google search will turn up many more.

It is, however, the first RISC OS machine we're aware of to which this has been done, and as Peter says "it's traditional that each platform has one". On his site he explains the motivation for the project, as well as providing plenty of pictures to ooh and ahh over.

You might wonder where you'd get so many Lego bricks from if you didn't already have them. Lego themselves offer a limited choice in their online store although it can be pricey. BrickLink is the site of choice for cheap bulk lego if you wanted to make your own case. You can of course also find bulk lots on eBay too.

If you've got any more RISC OS related Lego creations we'd be interested to hear from you. But be careful with those bricks, or Lego people might die.


A Lego cased A7000
Lego Macintosh

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Fantastic! More expandable than the RiscPC slice system!

 is a RISC OS Userzeeb on 29/7/03 3:40PM
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Cool... but, I can't resist, how much for a portable case?! ;-)

 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 29/7/03 3:46PM
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adrianl: I'd put some though into this myself, depending on the size of the screen and the keyboard a lugable made from lego would be doable, cost ... about 200-300 ukp (for lego and time), less if second hand lego was acceptable

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 29/7/03 4:29PM
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adrianl - the CASE is portable, just take it apart! :-P it's the other stuff that poses problems.

How about powering it from the solar panels that LEGO produced at one stage. A competitor for the Solo.

Love the volume control, but blu-tac for holding the LEDs is a bit rough, what's wrong with a piece of technical LEGO, the holes in it should be just about the right size.


 is a RISC OS UserAnimal on 29/7/03 4:30PM
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animal: I ought to take a photo to demo this, but the walls are made from 2 wide bricks generally, the Led section uses a 1x4 technic beam with 3 holes in, the leds are a flat variety so don't go into the holes, the blue tac holds them up to the back of the hole, whilst on the outside I put a 1x1 round transprent plate to difuse the light.

Re portables, the thing making the case so tall is the power supply, if I made an extension cable to the power lead this could be placed externally (like it is on most laptops), then by using a 2.5 HD, slimline CDRom, smallish PS2 keyboard (mounted into the lid), then a seperate folding lid holding a vga plug capable LCD panel and you've got a portable A7000.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 29/7/03 4:40PM
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Alternatively, if anyone has any spare Lego they don't need they might consider donating it to the following cause. [link]

 is a RISC OS UserKingBob on 29/7/03 7:32PM
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Do these meet international standards for electrical insulation? They sound a bit risky to me.

-- God Save the Queen

 is a RISC OS UserA.W. on 30/7/03 1:20PM
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Yes, plastic is an insulator in all countries. ;) -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 30/7/03 5:41PM
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 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 30/7/03 5:42PM
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Not quite 'build your own', quite nice though.

Thin I'll stick to <a href="[link]">this case though</a> as I can get an LCD, a modem and a foldable keyboard in it, plus all the cables :-)

 is a RISC OS Userajpullan on 30/7/03 6:35PM
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Hmm! Should have linked to the main page [link] for my cameracase RISC PC -- Owner of 5 computers, one of which is unfortunately a PC

 is a RISC OS Userajpullan on 3/8/03 12:04AM
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