Personally, I’m a bit of a caveman when it comes to technology. Working with computers sometimes feels like interacting with a magic tablet controlled by a temperamental spirit that doesn’t like me. While I shudder at the idea of diving into code, I have friends that program games on old computers for fun. Understanding the finer details of the process might not be my strong suit but it’s easy to appreciate the process and results of their efforts. Especially when those friends often build their own computers as well. So I can’t help but think of them when I see a model like this. Builder David Strenzler, otherwise known as Force of Bricks, has built a LEGO version of a Soviet computer from the era of the Apple II and the Commodore 64. Let’s take a look at this beautiful model of the Agat 4 8-bit computer.
These days, we come across a lot of digital LEGO builds, and it’s easy to see why. Through several free programs, the world of virtual building offers anyone access to infinite quantities of bricks in any type and color you need. But despite having seen thousands of digital creations, builder Tong Xin Jun still managed to create something I’ve never before seen: LEGO Digital Designer. The interface of LEGO’s now-retired free building software will be familiar to many of you, but look closely, because I promise you’ve never seen it like this before. That’s right, this is the LDD interface built out of bricks within LDD! It’s an absolutely brilliant piece of design that I’d love to see rendered with physical bricks, and I actually think the majority of it could be.
Have you ever looked at a circuit board and thought it looked a little like a futuristic cityscape? LEGO builder Adam Betts has run with that idea for this awesome microscale city, which he says is based on the idea that cities, like circuit boards, are highly interconnected and optimized for efficiency. Look closely and you’ll see that the left side of the city starts out with ambiguous structures that mimic circuitry, but then slowly move into more recognizable skyscrapers to the right, complete with a zeppelin and bustling seaport. Or is it a serial port?
If you spend any time working on a computer, and let’s face it, we all spend more time on computers than usual these days, you’ve probably experienced the occasional glitch with your graphics card. I think that Ivan Martynov may have discovered the real cause of all those graphic glitches. This dark and colorful critter is snacking on a graphic card, and by the look of it, he’s going to do some damage. Aside from the many printed tiles used on the computer module, I love the use of a Creeper face from the Minecraft theme.
Getting everything done was possible on an IBM PC XT running at 4.77 MHz not too long ago. Yes, you read that right, all gaming needs, word-processing needs, and multiplayer games meant your sibling or friend sitting right beside you banging on that other side of the keyboard and functioning at the amazing single-digit MHz. This digital render by mrmotinjo is a time machine back to the ’80s.
While you continue to admire the rest of the peripheral devices like speakers and joysticks take a closer look at the elegant desk, which is also built with digital bricks. And believe me when I say those 2×2 tiles are a lot more reliable and lasting than what we used to call our storage devices – floppy disks. Now all I need to find is that turbo button that will get my machine screaming up to 8MHz.
The average person now carries more computing power in their pocket than what it took to put the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon. However, Johan Alexanderson takes us back to a time when ties were wide, comb-overs were a thing, ashtrays were piled high with cigarette butts, and data was stored on reel-to-reel. This is the kind of vintage computer room my dad worked at in the 70s. A vehicle door makes an excellent spool of continuous feed computer paper. The green screen, the big cabinets, the data reels, even the color aesthetic and the utilitarian swivel chair all seem clunky and outdated to us, but at the time it all went together like swingers and fondue.
It should come as no surprise that Johan is a computer programmer who also seems quite inspired by a retro aesthetic. This wouldn’t be the first time he had delighted us with computing nostalgia. Check out this free-to-play “Classic Space Adventure” LEGO-inspired computer game he created utilizing over 400 pages of programming.
This little LEGO beige box, by Thilo Schoen, is none other than the original 1984 Apple Macintosh. Over the years, I’ve seen quite a few builds of the Mac in question. But Thilo’s Hello Mac! is sporting something special. With the real one traditionally packing 128 KB of RAM, this sweet little recreation has been retrofitted with technology 25 years its junior: a 2009 iPod nano. Built tightly around this powerful futuristic processer, Thilo has kept its iconic shaping with some seamless SNOT work. The beveled edge framing the screen hasn’t been lost in the process either. I’m particularly fond of the modified 1×2 grille bricks used along the bottom as venting. Most impressive to me though, was that he has raised the front side up one plate thickness. This subtlety allows the whole unit to give it its classic tilted face.
Just in case you thought The Brothers Brick has gone into selling electronics, you may want to take a second look, and a close one at that. It’s simply too easy to mistake this monitor for a real one than to believe it’s all made of bricks and bits at a quick glance. Timofey Tkachev is one builder that never ceases to enthrall me with his flexible skills as he builds in a variety of subjects and themes. In case you’re wondering what’s that screen on display, its the front page of the Russian Lego User Group that Timofey belongs to, phantoms.su – a loyal member indeed!
Built especially for the geek in all of us, Chris McVeigh brings us a festive LEGO blast of electronics nostalgia, all set to hang on your Christmas tree. That tan coloured monitor and CPU is what almost all Personal Computers came in back-in-the-day. And that detail of a floppy disk half shoved-in the drive delights the bits and bytes out of me.
You’ll never run out of Lego ornaments with these and more of Chris’s Christmas ornaments — check out all his building guides.
Even if you’ve not heard of Chris McVeigh, you’ve probably seen his builds in one way or another, especially his iconic Classic Mac that’s been featured quite a bit across the media. As a brick artist, Chris specializes in capturing fragments of details in tiny builds that give maximum impact. The other great part about Chris’s builds is that all of his build guides are available free for download and all you need to do to enjoy his wonderful creations are to source the bricks from sites like Bricklink or gather what you have from your very own stash. Of course, there are those that may not have the time or knowledge of the secondary LEGO market to gather all those parts, which makes purchasing a custom kit directly from the artist becomes a great option. For those that do, there’s no detail spared in the experience. Trust me on this, I’m going to bet that you’ll be impressed by the level of care and detail that Chris puts into this.
We’re huge fans of Chris McVeigh here at The Brothers Brick, and I’ve enjoyed each of the custom LEGO kits I’ve bought from his online store — custom kits that I can only describe as artisanal LEGO kits, with beautifully printed packaging lovingly arranged in the shipping box with tissue paper. We featured Chris’s LEGO Macintosh desktop last year (which I bought for myself last Christmas and love, love, love!) and his LEGO Amiga 500 last month, and now Chris has posted the final design for his DOS desk kit, which will be available on his website soon.
The desk drawers are fully functional, with a bunch of accessories to make you more productive — or keep you distracted during the workday.
One of the things that makes us love Chris and his designs all the more is that he puts his detailed instructions online for free. Yes, you can buy his kits — complete with custom-printed floppy disks and retro calculator — but you can also download his instructions and build his designs with your own bricks if you want. Be sure to check out our interview with Chris McVeigh as well.
As modern video games become more and more demanding in terms of hardware, no wonder getting the cutting edge component parts is a pressing problem. Recently, dueling LEGO builders produced a couple of brilliant microchips, and now it’s high time to get a proper motherboard for your high-end gaming station. Depending on your ambitions and budget, you can either go for the popular and reliable GIGABYTE G4M-XPZ by Tim Schwalfenberg…