Lego Noir


I’m working on turning my Detective’s Office into the site of a Lego Noir-style mystery. The cast of characters is being assembled. Stay tuned…

Raspberry Pi B+ Lego case

I finally got my hands on a Raspberry Pi (B+ model) and then after a couple of weeks I finally got it up and running. I’d seen before I got one that you could make a case out of anything for it, so with inspiration from the internet and a desire to elevate my newest computer above the tabletop, I set out to building with my spare pieces.

Unfortunately the mounting holes in the board are just barely too small for a Lego “stick” such as a flag pole or axe handle – I could have tried to bore them bigger but didn’t and settled on gear shifter pieces to keep the bottom of the board off the bottom of the case. This makes the mounting of the board extremely temporary – you need to plug everything into the Pi, then lower it over the levers. The advantage is that because you can rotate and align the levers any way you want, you’ve got a “perfect” fit pretty easily and you can do this repeatedly when you knock the board off – I can personally attest to this.

As I said, all I was really trying to do was keep it off the table and offer some protection. I chose the pieces I did because they fit and the colors for the same reasons. I added the cabinets, I think they would make good storage for micro SD cards if you have several with different operating systems for your Pi. And again I added Hawkeye because he was spare and seems like a bit of a hacker (it was either him or an Uruk-hai, so he won the hacker face off easily).

If you’re not familiar with Raspberry Pi, you can learn more here. I had wanted one for quite awhile and it happened they released the B+ (the third model) earlier this year. So far I’ve had a lot of fun playing Squirrel eat Squirrel and Tetris and using it as a streaming device via Raspbmc – If you have just a little technical knowhow it is probably one of the most cost effective streaming devices you can buy. Did I mention the retail price is only $40? You can even get them from Amazon a little less: Raspberry Pi Model B+ (B PLUS) 512MB Computer Board

I know this is a bit off the usual Lego topics but I found making the case to be a fun Lego project so I thought I’d post it.

Lego Batman Minifigure Display with Ikea Ribba Frame Revisited

Completed…for now.

When I first posted about making a Lego Minifigure display I hadn’t gotten the last set I needed (The Riddler Chase) to fill it out. But now, as you can see above, it is complete. It contains every Lego DC Superheroes Minifigure (except Lex Luthor) that has been released in the DC Superheroes line.* Obviously some duplicates like Black Suit Batman and Poison Ivy have been left out. So I thought I’d revisit it and post a better picture. You can see the original on Flickr and zoom in nice and close. Having done this, it’s time to take the some of the figures out. I need them to post set reviews – and this brings us to the biggest problem with the Ikea Ribba frame as a Lego minifigure display – it’s pretty tedious to move figures in and out. But, it’s by far the best, nicest looking, cost convenient way there is right now. I just wish I had three or four of them for all the other figures I want to display. And some different colored baseplates for the background. Particularly a dark green for my Lord of the Rings figures.

*Ok, I really need to qualify that statement. The display contains all of the Batman (and Justice League) figures aside from Lex Luthor and duplicates. Not included in the display are the Superman figures from the Superman movie sets. OR the Joker and Batman figures from 76023 The Tumbler. Because even if I did have those two, they’d be behind bulletproof glass.

Success! Making a Lego Minifigure Display with an Ikea Ribba Frame

For awhile now I’ve been wanting a way to display some of my minifigures but at the same time keep them from getting dusty. My current Lego storage method consists mostly of sets stored in Ziploc bags and it’s not the most crush proof method for the figures when the bags are all piled together – I’ll detail my full Lego storage in a later post. I believe I first came across this pretty incredible looking display. Then, I started to read about using the Ribba frame all over the internet, it works because of its depth. I ended up using this post from Ikea Hackers for reference. (Ikea Hackers is a pretty neat website for all of your non-Lego furniture and decorative needs as well)
For a long time I’d wanted to make the entire case itself out of Lego, using large clear windows for all of the figures, but that is a very costly proposition. The 1x6x5 clear wall element that would be best for this is 90 cents per piece from Pick a Brick – meaning the cost of the display would be about a dollar per figure (if you made the back a different color). So I finally got around to going to Ikea in Stoughton, MA, which is not exactly close. I then bought a large gray baseplate – the reason for going to the Lego store – I was too impatient to wait for one from Amazon – where they cost a dollar less. As you can see from the Ikea Hackers link, you can wedge plates into the baseplate – I was very keen not to be gluing any Lego – the Kragle! The only adhesive I had to use was scotch tape – which has surprisingly held for the last 5 days or so. For a background beyond the baseplate I just left the matte in the frame. To center it I used a ruler to make small guide marks – on the back of the matte, so I could use it for a picture some day if I wanted to. When I couldn’t see the marks any more, it was close enough to centered for me. You want the baseplate to be 6 cm from all sides. I may cover it with black paper to give it a more sleek look, but white is fine for now. In the end, I was very impressed with the results – especially compared to how little effort it took (other than driving to Ikea). You can get the frames online from their website – and they also come in white. So – check it out:

The flash reflection on the top of the glass doesn’t do it justice – but in person it is truly breathtaking. Now the only problem is if I want to play with a figure – they’re not exactly at arms length. If you want to zoom in to see the figures in all their glory just click on the photo to visit Flickr.