Tag Archives: build

Building Egyptian Pyramids is Easy… with LEGO

I’ve never been to Egypt, but I’ve watched plenty of documentaries and informational shows about it to know everything there is to possibly know about its history. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch – but I’m sure you feel like you’re in the same boat as far as Egyptology is concerned.

Unless you’re in de Nile. Get it? Sounds like “denial.” Anyway…

The Golden Staff Guardians [7306] is but a small part of the entire LEGO Pharaoh’s Quest series. My only other experience with them was with the ill-designed LEGO magnets a few months back. That said, I’m still quite enchanted with how LEGO brought this small bit of humanity’s past into the brick universe.

Maybe the golden staff has the power of reversing the pain of stepping on a LEGO piece with your bare or socked feet? Or, perhaps that’s how the Egyptians built the real pyramids? Wouldn’t that be an amazing LEGO set: a complete “true to life” LEGO pyramid? Of course, if I had enough bricks at my disposal, I could probably attempt the same myself (and it’d probably cost as much as all the real gold in Egypt, too). I’m sure that build would be easier than the actual pyramids at Giza.

Here’s an overview / review of what my girlfriend and I built:

This LEGO set’s mummified minifigs (mummifigs?) drew me to it. Assembly was a snap, too – pun intended. The bricks clicked at the skilled hands of my girlfriend, who assembled the set live on YouTube. She was quite proud of her accomplishment, and I was impressed that she did so well without much guidance. Sometimes even I find myself misassembling constructions as laid out by LEGO instructions.

It’s quite a standard, simple build at $10 (for ~70 pieces). The motorbike might be a nice addition to your collection if you happen to be a LEGO vehicle fanatic, though I don’t find any other piece to be a must-have. The mummy heads do have dual faces to give you a little variation between them, and the scarab shields are a nice touch. The golden staff is, of course, the centerpiece – though its true value is completely subjective.

LEGO Lubbers, Ahoy – Pirates of the Caribbean Booty!

Arrrrrrrrrrrrr you a pirate?

I’ve been a fan of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie series since the first flick was released a few years back. That said, I’ve never really considered myself a pirate kind of guy (even on “Talk Like a Pirate Day”). That’s not to say I’m more of a ninja, either. You can like both equally inside the LEGO universe.

I caught the Captain’s Cabin (4191) at an affordable $12, figuring it would take about 15 minutes to build. While I do have a bigger Pirates of the Caribbean LEGO build coming down the pike, there’s nothing wrong with having a few more pirate pieces in my metaphorical playpen. I suppose my primary purchase reason was price – I mini-figured I couldn’t miss.

My biggest fear in getting more Pirates of the Caribbean LEGO sets is that I’ll be overrun by Captain Jack Sparrow clones (which would certainly allow me to better re-enact the scene from “At World’s End” right before he was rescued from Davy Jones’ Locker). Still, that’s a good fear to have – and there’s always room for more pirates on my minifig shelves.

I think I most appreciated the ‘ship in a bottle’ pieces, coupled with the longer bone fragments and circular map – though I’m not sure where else I might care to use them after the set is dismantled. The spinning globe certainly brings a sophisticated air to my collection.

What more can be said? Well, perhaps you’ll just have to watch the video and tell me what you think.

Adult Fans of LEGO: The Bricks Aren't Just for Kids

AFOL A Blocumentary from AFOL on Vimeo.

See? I told you I wasn’t the only adult LEGO fanatic. There’s an entire community of them – right here in the Seattle area. Adult Fans of LEGO is a Blocumentary film about LEGO builders and enthusiasts that reside in the Pacific Northwest. The film visits people’s homes, club meetings, and conventions that take place in the region. The film was released in early 2010 and was directed by Jess Gibson.

The film consults numerous everyday people (some of whom claim to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the blocks), who variously attribute the ageless LEGO allure to nostalgia, investment possibilities, entertainment, and spiritual escape.

Are you an adult LEGO fan? Stand up and be counted. Show us your favorite creations!


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A Danish caller the other night actually gave me a choice of topics to discuss. He threw out LEGO, windmills, politicians on Facebook and journalism for me to choose from. I ruled out politics immediately. If you get me going on that, I will never stop. I don’t know much about windmills, and the chat room went insane wanting to talk about LEGO bricks. LEGO it is!

It’s no secret that I’m a LEGO fanatic. LEGO is actually a term that came from the Danish people for those of you who didn’t know. Loosely translated, it means that you’re having a good time playing. Isn’t that the truth?

I still remember opening my first LEGO set when I was a kid. I thought it was something new and interesting and I couldn’t wait to get to work on building things. I don’t know what drew me to that universe when it wasn’t even as large as it is today. I love the way the kits have evolved over the years – and I’m addicted to minifigs.

Part of the attraction is the nostalgia factor because I have loved them for so many years. There is, of course, a sense of accomplishment once you have finished building. I admit that I always follow the instructions. I’m just anal that way. I’ve know a few people, though, who have replicated my home office in LEGO bricks. It blows my mind to see people freestyle build things that way. I would love to meet someone who could put together a kit (and instructions) to build my home office. How cool would that be? I’d love to build it myself.

LEGO to me is like Zen. I can zone out while I build and really relax. I don’t get to do that often, so I welcome any opportunity that comes my way. How many of you are LEGO fans? It’s okay to admit that you still love to build as an adult, I promise.

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LEGO Games

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Part of the geek experience is playing with LEGO. I took the bricks for granted, as some people (like Imei) have never played with them at all. This was her first time – caught on tape. Actually, it was caught on Memory Stick.

LEGO is serious business for most of us Geeks. We GET it, you know? You don’t need to have a set of directions, or a particular build in mind. You just dump out your bricks and build whatever is in your mind! It’s almost like a Zen experience for me!

What was your first LEGO experience?

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How to Build your own Laptop

LaMott is a PC Tech, and wrote in to ask this: “My question is why isn’t there an industry standard of MBD’s & cases that techs can use to build their own laptops? Also, what percent of people in the U.S. would you say build their own PC’s vs. those that buy?”

PC fanatics are up in arms over how Apple doesn’t let you build your own Mac. I hate to say it, but there’s a good reason for it. Some people feel that’s not how things should be. I guess I won’t open that particular can of worms.

By the way, if you are subscribed to my Podcast, you could be eligible to win a computer this Saturday, March 15th! If we reach 20,000 subscribers, I will be giving away the AMD Spider computer system. Ok, so now on to your answer!

I don’t think 12% of the world population build their own computers. I actually think it’s less than 5%. Most people will buy off the shelves. It’s a matter of convenience and being taken care of. People think that they are better off buying from a well-known brand. I seem to recall an old movement surrounding building laptops. There are so many things that go into a laptop. A notebook needs to be designed to move around. Weight is a concern, the lid needs to easily and fully shut, the connections need to be secure. Is it possible? Yes, it is. At the end of the day, I really think it may not be worth it. There’s just too much that goes into it, and it can get to be extremely expensive to get everything just right. CCMike, who is an Op in my Chat room said it best: “Many laptop platforms are much too “style” specific to be able to find parts for”.

For any of you who enjoy building machines, I ask you this: If the parts were all available, would you build a laptop from scratch? I honestly don’t know that I would. There’s just so many complexities that go into building something that’s designed to be mobile. It’s a different level of challenge from building a desktop computer.


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How to Build Your Own Computer – Tips and Ideas

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Here are some excellent tips you should read when you are preparing to build your own computer. Thanks to everyone who continue to send in their Top five lists. Keep them coming!

  • Save your money. Some times you do not need to buy everything for a new system. If your hard drive is running fine on your current computer, do not go and purchase a new one. Often times you can find things such as a hard drives; and use it for your new system that you are going to build. The only thing you need to make sure is that it will work with your new system’s motherboard. For example, If you do have a spare Video Card that you are willing to use for your new system, make sure it is PCI or PCI-E.
  • Cases. The case of a computer is what holds the components inside. You want to make sure you are going to have enough space to place everything inside. Usually, mid-towers are what you want if you are going to build a regular computer. You may want to go a bigger size than a mid-tower if you are going to use RAID or more Hard Drives for space. I recommend buying the case first, so in a case where a motherboard would not fit, you can possibly return it and get a new one.
  • Power Supply’s (PSU). In my opinion, many people do not realize that they need a good Power Supply. Many people do need see a reason why they need to worry about getting a good one. However, when their computer keeps shutting down for no reason, then you may want to think about it. Power Supply’s are very important because it is going to control all of the components inside of it. If you have a top-of-the-line system with 2 Video Cards with SLI, 4Gigs of Ram, A Quad-Core Processor and 2 500Gig Hard Drives, you are going to need a good Power Supply. However, if you are going to use a on board video card or something along the lines of a lower end machine, you may not want to purchase a bigger Power Supply.
  • Cooling your System. Cooling your computer also goes along the lines of having a good Power Supply. You PC can overheat if you have to much heat coming from your system. There are many ways to cool your system. The first one is to purchase case fans. Case fans, will allow you to create a good airflow so you can cool the system. I suggest placing a case fan in front of the case taking in air; and place another case fan on the back of the case blowing air out. A good airflow is good for keeping your computer cool. The second thing you can do from preventing the system from overheating is to add a good Heatsink. A Heatsink can cool your processor and this is very important if you are going to overclock your system’s processor. The last and final thing you should do, and must do if you are going to run a high end system, is to purchase a water cooling system. This will help the system to cool a lot better than just regular case fans. I do not recommend getting this if you are going to run a basic machine, but for higher end machines with more video cards it is a must.

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LEGO Block Building Software

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When I was a kid, I would get into trouble all the time for trying to build with my LEGO blocks when I was supposed to be sleeping. To this day, I have a box of LEGO blocks, and I still build things with them. Well, you can also do some LEGO construction using your computer!

The official LEGO computer program is called Digital Design. There are currently 763 different LEGO bricks to choose from. Using these, you can design your own projects, then order the pieces you used if you wish to build it at home for real. You can choose from partially built models, or a blank slate to create the design of your dream. There is no obligation to actually order LEGO bricks, so let your imagination wander!

There are a couple of good open-source applications which are LEGO-like, but not endorsed by the company itself. The first one of these is called LDraw. LDraw is an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes. You can use it to document models you have physically built, create building instructions just like LEGO, render 3D photo realistic images of your virtual models and even make animations. The possibilities are endless. Unlike real LEGO bricks where you are limited by the number of parts and colors, in LDraw nothing is impossible.

Second, we have BlockCad for Windows. BlockCAD is a freeware program for building virtual models with Lego-like bricks. You can save your models, or save pictures of them (.bmp, .jpg), even reuse a complete model as a part in another model. Everything can be controlled with the mouse, but it’s also possible to use the keyboard for most of the commands, making ‘routine building’ more effective, and there is a minimum of text involved, to make it easier for kids.

Last but not least, there is the BrickSmith offering for OS X. Bricksmith allows you to create virtual instructions for your Lego creations on your Mac. The magic is based on the LDraw library, a collection of 3D models of Lego building blocks created by enthusiasts from around the world. With Bricksmith, you never have to worry about running out of parts!

So, do you still play with LEGO’s? What do you like to build? Have you used any of these programs… or will you try one out after reading this? Let me know!

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