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The frame for the display is made out of Legos. I originally planned to 3D print a frame. Thingiverse user PocketBrain created a few designs for a 5" display, and I wanted to do the same for the 10" display. But this started getting a little complicated, especially since the 10" frame has screw tabs that need to be designed around.
My wife had the brilliant idea of building a frame out of Legos, which was perfect! Legos offer the flexibility to tinker, and they are much faster to work with. Plus my 4-year-old is obsessed with Legos right now.
I started by prototyping with his Legos. That lead to this spreadsheet, which helped visualize the length of each side and tab positions.
The rest of the frame came together thanks to two things: 1) Lego offers an amazing Digital Designer tool that lets you design with Legos right from your computer, and 2) the Lego store has a Pick a Brick section that sells individual bricks.
Using the spreadsheet from above as a guide, I was able to design the frame in Lego Digital Designer.
The Digital Designer source file can be downloaded here.
The display is 31 studs long and 21 studs high. The base of the frame consists of 2-stud wide plates of varying length (2x16, 2x10, 2x3, etc). Larger 6x8 rectangular plates give support to the back. Smooth 1x2, 2x2 and 2x4 flat tiles line the edge to give it a polished look. Finally, there are a few bricks stuck on the back to prop up the frame. Here's the final parts list:
|Qty||Part||Lego Item #|
|10||Flat Tile 1X2||3069|
|6||Flate Tile 2X2||3068|
|22||Flat Tile 2X4||87079|
I ordered a total of 120 bricks, all in black (I ordered a few extra just in case). The total cost was $34, plus another $7 for shipping. As a comparison, this Death Star Troopers set has 100 pieces and is $13. Also, not all bricks in Digital Designer are available for purchase from the Lego store, a fact I learned only after designing the first iteration of the frame.
After placing the order, you wait, and wait and wait. It took about three weeks to receive the pieces, and understandably so: Lego says that each piece is hand picked, and the package shipped from Strykow, Poland.
Here are some photos from when the package finally arrived.
A bag full of hand picked bricks!
Bricks organized by type.
In progress - The backing portion of the frame without the display.
In progress - The display now sits inside the frame. Note the tabs that lay snug in recesses around the edges.
The final frame, standing up!