Free Hardware has become a type of hardware that is increasingly used and in demand. The reason for this is that its low price and extensive compatible software make it available to everyone. The same happens with Lego pieces, a very popular and used toy that makes it present in many homes and also has reasonably low prices so that those of us who do not play with Lego pieces, we can buy this type of pieces .
Next we are going to talk about 5 Free Hardware projects that we can create and use thanks to Lego pieces. For this we will start with the Lego pieces that we can find in any house and store, but for each of these projects we will also need other components such as an Arduino MEGA board, a Raspberry Pi board, LED lights or an LCD screen. Everything will depend on the type of project we want to carry out.
Table of Contents
Raspberry Pi case
It is possibly the oldest and most popular project with Lego pieces (without taking into account the constructions of children). The proyect consists in create various housings to protect and cover Raspberry Pi boards. Its birth was due to the fact that the creator needed a support to save and have several Raspberry Pi boards. Before long, it was discovered that Lego pieces could double as a great case for Raspberry Pi boards. or any other type of SBC board as well as being a great support for certain tasks.
In principle, we can build such a carcass with the Lego pieces that we want but we have to take into account the empty spaces that we have to leave to make connections through the ports of the Raspberry Pi.
If we do not want to build this case or we want to use the Lego pieces for another task, we can always buy the case through online stores such as Amazoni. We can get this colorful case for a price similar to the official cases and fully compatible for Rasbperry Pi models.
The project of the integrated flashlight is original and combines with having a nice keychain with Lego pieces. The idea is to use a slightly large block or piece of Lego and drill a side of the piece to insert the led light. Inside the Lego block, which is usually hollow, we add the battery, the cable and the switch to make the lamp light or not. At the other end of the block we can add a chain and a ring to also obtain an original keychain that has double function.
This original project can be built by anyone and we don't need to invest large amounts of money to get great results and even original lamp shapes thanks to Lego constructions. You don't need any electronics or a hard-to-find part, this may be the success of this project.
Building a camera with Lego pieces is something easy to build, although it is not as cheap or economical a project as the previous one. On the one hand, we will need the PiCam, a raspberry pi Zero W, a rechargeable battery, an lcd screen and a switch. On the one hand we have to assemble and assemble all the electronics and the PiCam, after that, we then insert the assembled into a housing created with Lego blocks, a housing that we can modify to our taste and need, shaping a classic camera, a modern digital camera or simply an old Polaroid camera. In the repository of Instructables You will find some examples of projects with Lego pieces that will allow you to have a powerful camera but with a retro air or even create cameras without Lego pieces.
Homemade robot or drone
Possibly the oldest project of all but also one of the most difficult to carry out with Lego pieces. The idea is to create a housing and support for robots created from Lego pieces. The success has been such that Lego has decided to build more and more kits with wheels attached to a block. This allows mobile robots to be built and even the smallest to build and participate in the famous robot wars. But Lego's interest in robotics has gone beyond providing parts for builders and has launched its own range of robots and robotics using Lego pieces and free components.
Thus, the most famous kit is called Lego Mindstorms, a kit to assemble a functional robot with Lego pieces. The downside of this kit is its high price. A price that not everyone can afford. But that does not mean that you cannot use Lego pieces for your own robots, far from it. Before these kits, people used Lego pieces to create their robots and if we visit the Instructables repository You will get several personal projects that create a robot from Lego pieces.
3D printing has also benefited from Lego pieces, although not as successfully as in the DIY world or in robotics. However, there are projects that build a 3D printer with Lego pieces. The little success of this project, at least compared to previous projects, It is due to the fact that the union of the Lego pieces is not as firm as we would like and produces an instability that affects 3D printing, creating parts of poorer quality.
The latest changes in certain 3D printers created with Lego pieces have reduced this instability considerably and the printed pieces obtain a higher quality.. In this link You can find some of those projects that manage to print plastic pieces with a structure created with Lego pieces. And the most paradoxical of all this is that they can create more Lego pieces, increasing the possibility of creating more Free Hardware projects with Lego pieces.
Are they the only projects that exist?
The truth is that no. The success of Lego pieces lies in their timelessness and in not being tied to a certain shape or toy, which has made many grown-ups have thought of these building blocks to help them with their Free Hardware projects. There are many projects that can be made with Lego pieces but the truth is that if you have read the previous ones, surely now you are thinking of building one of them. And they are all very attractive, especially the project of building a robot Do not you think?