Evergreen, Colorado geological engineering student and LEGO enthusiast Zane Houston spent approximately a month and a half (60 to 80 hours) piecing together this incredible poseable Atlas mech made entirely out of LEGOs to go with his custom made LEGO minifigure that depicts the Juggernaut (Cain Marko) Marvel villain. Subscribe to the Laughing Squid email list and receive a daily email with all of the blog posts published each day. We would like to invite you to the new Xtreamer Magazine - your source for movies, music, TV and technology news. Unfortunately, the summer is dragging on longer than we anticipated and now we need something else to keep us occupied. One of the most iconic products of our generation, Lego may be marketed mainly as a range of toys for younger children, but in the right hands it has the potential to be so much more. Over the next few pages we’ll show some of the most stunning Lego creations ever created, from staggeringly complex art installations to dioramas and mechanical masterpieces.
Closer to our own interests, we’ll also show you how you can build a simple tech-orientated mod with Lego – your own Lego USB drive!
A Lego USB drive is one of the most obvious and desirable geek desk toys, if only because it means you can keep your files in a convenient and literal stack.
Besides, if (like us) the bulk of your Lego collection has since been donated to younger relatives and you’ve only got one or two bricks left, this is the perfect way to make use of those errant oblongs.
There are a few ways to tackle this project, the simplest of which involves just building an enclosure of Lego bricks around your USB drive and leaving it at that.
However you hollow the brick out, you’ll also need to open one end so that the male port of the USB can stick out. If you want, then you can use a small drill to put two small holes in the opposite end, allowing you to thread a lanyard connector in, so you can attach the brick to your keyring.
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. 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.
It may not be as pretty as the Nerf guns we featured on the site recently, but this Lego gun is just as functional.
Running over Bluetooth, this plotter-style printer is powered by a custom Java program and a Lego NXT controller. 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. 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.
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. 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.
This pinball machine, which Lego used in official exhibitions, used more than 20,000 pieces.
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? As always, if you’ve got art of your own to share then we’d recommend taking a look in bit-tech’s Art and Photography forum and sharing some of your own creations. Part of a series of Lego renditions of MC Escher’s work, this waterfall is a rather cunning optical illusion that gets increasingly baffling the more you look at it. In fact, the Lego version of Escher’s famous painting is even more astounding as it’s actually had to be realised in blocks rather than displayed on a canvas. Click the image for a closer look, then check out the source site to see what it looks like from a different angle, if you really can’t figure out how this brain-bending effect was achieved. What better way to celebrate (or commiserate) the release of the new Predators film than with this beautifully gross bust of the iconic alien?


We’d love to see a motorised version with a moving mouth too – but once you step into that territory then why not look at making a Lego Terminator?
Harry insisted that if we’re going to show a Lego Predator model then we’ll have to balance it out with an Alien model – we’ve gone with this equally stunning depiction of a Chestburster emerging from a puddle of viscera. Okay, enough gross and bloody aliens – it’s time for an impossibly cute robot with sad, nostalgic eyes. You really can use Lego to make anything, as this working model of the classic V8, 32-valve engine proves. Plus, you can turn it on and use the fan to keep yourself cool during the long, hot summer – provided you don’t mind the sound of all those bricks whirring away. Nathan Sawaya is a professional, full-time Lego artist who has made some of the most singularly impressive pieces we’ve ever seen.
An exhibition of his work is currently touring throughout America too, so check out his site for more details. The Lego Testament is a scene-by-scene adaptation of the Christian Bible into Lego format, from Genesis to Revelations. The work is too big to fully show here, so we’ve just picked out our favourite passage – Jacob wrestling God in the Old Testament.
This website uses IntenseDebate comments, but they are not currently loaded because either your browser doesn't support JavaScript, or they didn't load fast enough. Hello, you used to write excellent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring’ I miss your super writings. Get the ultimate web translator with flags widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! The more I look at these the more I’m thinking that while the sets are pretty neat, the Kre-On mini figures are very cool. Allow me to assuage: The already-released TF blind packs have printed numbers on the bags that correspond to the figure inside. The Atlas and Juggernaut LEGO build was built as a submission for the upcoming Mech Madness 2012 contest taking place online at From Bricks To Bothans. By the way, love the idea of putting the hospital extremely close to the police station and fire department. We want to step away from our PCs, but we’d be loathe to do anything which actually required, y’know, going outside. From creating stop-motion animations to creating entire houses complete with furniture, there’s almost nothing that Lego can’t do. Designers like Nathan Sawaya and Sean Kenney are just two of the most popular artists leading this movement, with their creations turning up everywhere from art galleries and corporate lobbies to zoos! There are now at least 62 bricks for every single person on the planet, but demand is still growing. After all, the main appeal of Lego isn’t looking at another person’s projects; it’s making your own!
There are some official versions available for purchase, but we think it’s a bit more fun to make your own. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, but the end result will definitely be a bit chunky and crude. We say ‘spare’ because, while Flash drives are quite rugged and resistant to injury, there’s always the possibility of damage. If you’re using the ATP Earthdrive or a similarly stubby USB drive then you’ll only need a single 2×3 brick, but longer drives will need to be fitted inside larger bricks.
The low-tech approach is to just gouge the innards out with some needle nose pliers and a decent craft knife, but you could also cut them out with a Dremel.
Again, it’s hard to give exact measurements as it’ll depend on exactly what type of USB stick you are using and if the male connection has a metal casing around it. We know from our similar Project Enter the USB mini-mod that E6000 epoxy resin will do the job without damaging the PCB, but other sources suggest that a hot glue gun will work just as well.


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.
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.
Built from bits of a Star Wars Y-Wing model, this gun uses rubber bands to send bricks flying.
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. 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.
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. 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.
We’ve gathered up some of the most impressive examples of Lego being used as an art form and featured them below – click to enlarge. From the drops of fluorescent blood around the neck to the human skulls in the plinth, this model displays an extraordinary level of detail and, we think, would make for an awesome desk toy. The level of detail around the jaws is amazing, but somehow our favourite bit is the little trickle of blood that’s spilled over the base. This Wall-E model is articulated enough that you can move his head and arms around a bit, as well as manipulate his hands. It’s incredibly complex and hasn’t been wired up to power anything, but it certainly makes for one of the most impressive desk toys we’ve ever seen. His personal Lego collection consists of more than 1.5 million bricks – so if there are 62 bricks per person on the planet then he’s holding on to more than his fair share!
The solution we’ve come up with has been to distract ourselves with other things – last week we looked at how Nerf guns can be modded, for example.
Some of the designs, like Kenney’s latest exhibition at the Philadelphia Zoo, really have to be seen to be believed. The last few years have seen the Lego brand get even more diverse, with the Lego games made by Traveller’s Tales proving especially popular and a Lego MMO, Lego Universe, on the horizon as well.
If you’re buying a drive just for this purpose then we’d recommend the ATP Earthdrive as we know the case can be prized apart easily.
Thankfully, Lego bricks come in all shapes and sizes so, not only will you be able to find a match easily enough, but you’ll also be able to customise the brick however you want.
If you do use a Dremel then don’t let your cutting edge heat up too much as this may mar the brick – give it time to cool. The safe approach is to just cut one end off the brick completely, then sand all cut surfaces smooth. Just add a dab or two of the epoxy into the brick, push the PCB in and proceed to encase the PCB in stages, allowing one layer to dry before you add another. One of the more complex approaches is to use a stack of Lego panels, rather than a single brick, to create a layered appearance.
Lego bricks are made out of a thermoplastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) which, while tough, isn’t too hard to work with given a bit of perserverance.
This layered approach will provide a solid, secure fit for your finished Lego USB key which, once the resin has dried, will provide a stylish addition to any PC!
It even makes me wonder if they didn’t have this concept in the works when designing the Battleship sets. The TTBP is so obviously inspired by the vintage Joe toy; was there something like this in the Battleship movie?



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