Fun With Lego

Written by Joe Martin

July 8, 2010 | 11:13

Tags: #cool #geek-toys #guide #how-to #summer #technic #toys

Companies: #lego

The Best Lego Machines

Lego make a lot of cool toys, from simple mini-figs (that's the little men, to the non-initiated) to the giant Millenium Falcon model that we love so much. The biggest official Lego model currently available is a replica of the Taj Mahal which involves more than 5,900 individual bricks and is more than 16in tall.

But those are only the official models and, as any Lego owner knows, the real fun only starts when you start creating your own designs. We’ve collected some of the best creations we could find below, but if you think you can do better then be sure to let us know in the modding forum.

*Fun With Lego The Best Lego MachinesLego Gun

It may not be as pretty as the Nerf guns we featured on the site recently, but this Lego gun is just as functional. Built from bits of a Star Wars Y-Wing model, this gun uses rubber bands to send bricks flying. Just don't try pistol-whipping anyone with it.

Full build instructions are available on the source site, Brickbarrage.

*Fun With Lego The Best Lego MachinesLego Printer

Running over Bluetooth, this plotter-style printer is powered by a custom Java program and a Lego NXT controller. It only does basic image processing (the actual printed image doesn't appear to be that great quality) but it's the cool-factor that counts.

This is probably one of the only ways that anyone could make a printer at all interesting.

*Fun With Lego The Best Lego MachinesLego 3D Scanner

Featured briefly on the site last year, this 3D scanner is built entirely from Lego Technic and works by running a small probe over an object and recording postitions of contact. It’s not very quick, and the creator, Philo Hurbain, admits that scanning even a single object can take several hours, but it’s so cool we think it’s got to be worth the wait.

Philo has made the software and build notes available for free.

*Fun With Lego The Best Lego MachinesLego Pinhole Camera

This Lego camera obviously involves some non-Lego pieces, such as the film reels, but the majority of the mechanisms involved are built out of plastic bricks – including the shot-counter. It’s basically the same as the pinhole cameras that many of us will have assembled as children, but with a tougher construction and a somewhat chunkier look.

*Fun With Lego The Best Lego MachinesLego Difference Engine

Undoubtedly the most ambitious and large Lego machine we’ve ever seen, this Lego computer is essentially a large mechanical calculator built for solving polynomial functions. It’s inspired by one of the earliest known mechanical computers, the 19th Century difference engine designed by Charles Babbage, and is capable of solving complex equations.

You can read a detailed breakdown of how it works here.

*Fun With Lego The Best Lego Machines
Lego Pinball Machine

The Lego difference engine may be the most complex brick-built machine we’ve seen, but this Lego pinball machine is definitely the most fun. A number of compromises had to be made to the design, such as swapping the usual steel ball for a lighter glass one, but the result is quite astonishing.

This pinball machine, which Lego used in official exhibitions, used more than 20,000 pieces.

*Fun With Lego The Best Lego Machines
Lego Harpsichord

Five feet tall when opened, this Lego harpsichord may not be a ‘machine’ as such, but it’s still pretty complex and a lot of thought had to go into the structure – the strings exert around 325lbs of tension.

The finished product may not sound as good as the more conventionally made models (listen), but that’s hardly the point, is it?

Flip the page for some more amazing Lego creations!
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