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A Folding Farm PC Made of Lego

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 35 comments

The ultimate DIY job.

Having a modular, custom built case would be a dream for any DIY-er, which is probably why Mike Schropp decided to build his own server-class case out of Lego. Yes, that’s right, the learning toy from your childhood is used as parts of a case for a folding farm.

Schropp wanted to fit a triple CPU and motherboard system into one case, which slimmed his pickings considerably.

"I had an idea in my head what I wanted the case to look like, but after researching I couldn’t find something to fit my vision," Schropp explained. "With every project I do I always invariably arrive at the same point, 'Can I use Legos?' VOILA! YES! Lego! Lego and computers definitely sounded like a good combination. In reality the structure of a case built from Legos was going to require a fair bit of thought. I needed to get my case laid out correctly and able to support the weight of all the components without Legos buckling or falling apart."

He then set out with the following parts:

3X Sandy Bridge 2600k CPUs
3x Thermaltake Frio Cpu Coolers
3X Asus P8P67 Micro atx motherboards
1x Antec 1200 HCP Power Supply
2x Corsair SSD (System 1/Workstation)
1x Mushkin SSD (System 2/Touchscreen)
1x WD HD (System 3/Folding Only)
3X DDR3 for each system
8x Aerocool 140mm Case Fans
1x Metric Crapload of Lego Bricks (Technically it was about 2,000pcs)

Read all about his full build here.

Add your comment Display 35 Comments.
Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    cookoy , July 19, 2011 2:42 PM
    oh the joy of building your own system! now you can mix work and play when assembling the components.
  • 11 Hide
    stingstang , July 19, 2011 2:37 PM
    I doubt the heat would melt legos. I'm a former lego master myself, and this was a terriffic idea. In fact...I'm willing to bet that with a little ingenuity, a desktop case maker could make a winning design which lets the user create the shape of his or her case to fit what's inside, sorta like legos. In the meantime, I may actually try to do something like this.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    bennaye , July 19, 2011 2:26 PM
    Will lego work for a standard desktop set-up as well, or will the heat kill it?
  • 11 Hide
    stingstang , July 19, 2011 2:37 PM
    I doubt the heat would melt legos. I'm a former lego master myself, and this was a terriffic idea. In fact...I'm willing to bet that with a little ingenuity, a desktop case maker could make a winning design which lets the user create the shape of his or her case to fit what's inside, sorta like legos. In the meantime, I may actually try to do something like this.
  • 13 Hide
    cookoy , July 19, 2011 2:42 PM
    oh the joy of building your own system! now you can mix work and play when assembling the components.
  • -6 Hide
    winterblade , July 19, 2011 2:50 PM
    Maybe I'm just not hardcore enough but... why in the world would anyone want 3 complete computers in one case?? isn't it cheaper to virtualize??
  • 4 Hide
    bennaye , July 19, 2011 2:51 PM
    Well, I'd never thought of using lego as a material. Guess I really can build my own pc in a more literal sense of the phrase. And I think using lego is fantastic, as you can customise it the way you like, and can be made very strong by supergluing the pieces together, allowing for less supports and thus more ventilation space/fan space. And it's pretty cheap as well. My cousin has enough spare lego to build 5 of these things.
  • 5 Hide
    eddieroolz , July 19, 2011 3:18 PM
    That is intense. The hardware, the case...its a dream
  • 4 Hide
    chewy62 , July 19, 2011 3:20 PM
    not to mention it looks pretty good too...
  • 4 Hide
    warmon6 , July 19, 2011 3:32 PM
    winterbladeMaybe I'm just not hardcore enough but... why in the world would anyone want 3 complete computers in one case?? isn't it cheaper to virtualize??


    You obvious miss the key detail in the title.

    "A Folding Farm PC Made of Lego"

    virtualizing 3 folding@home clients/computers is not ideal for the project.

    To understand the folding@home project, Come to our team thread and learn more about F@H.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/268010-28-folding-home-thgc-team-40051

    Team 40051!


  • 0 Hide
    warmon6 , July 19, 2011 3:39 PM
    warmon6You obvious miss the key detail in the title."A Folding Farm PC Made of Lego"virtualizing 3 folding@home clients/computers is not ideal for the project.To understand the folding@home project, Come to our team thread and learn more about F@H.http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] team-40051Team 40051!


    Well, tom's forgot to mention this was a World Community Grid computer.... Although points are still valid between WGC and Folding.
  • 2 Hide
    admiral_grinder , July 19, 2011 3:42 PM
    winterbladeMaybe I'm just not hardcore enough but... why in the world would anyone want 3 complete computers in one case?? isn't it cheaper to virtualize??


    Virtualizing is great for consolidating servers that don't eat up all the resources of a single box. Folding and Boinc run full blast so virtualizing will only cause unneeded overhead and cause each "computer" to get 1/3 of the resources on that the host.

    This single box would be called a cluster.
  • 0 Hide
    dogman_1234 , July 19, 2011 3:51 PM
    saw this hours ago...but still like to read it though. It was a good idea and I went wow...brings childhood memories back.
  • 0 Hide
    phil kizer , July 19, 2011 3:55 PM
    He probably has Windows 7, Ubuntu, and Hackintosh all running at the same time.
  • 0 Hide
    K-zon , July 19, 2011 4:29 PM
    To say, that all is for whats being said, is probably as well said for what is said of it all, but to say of the article though, Its is interesting. Given the fact of folding and etc as well, to say. The thought of idea within lego and interest of use with choices a hardware probably, without saying that a specific interest is in mind but maybe more of one then none to say. Legos are modular.

    I would say in terms of concepts and works applied very practical. Cause what lego project was something that was an actual finite? You could do the Shuttle i think and Saturn Rockets of course, but still was left without the Hangars, and the some of the docks sometimes. But were all still nefty, right? So of the thought at least, if ever placed really on the fact of legos alone, to say, that this isnt done or finished is probably an understood value of the fact of it.

    So with what is there, is more then none, right? So of that idea should be something at least. Otherwise i would think in the whole terms of idea within it all, outside the fact of folding@Home or whatever. Be fairly placed for what it all is.

    Obviously the parts of taken are in lack on all parts though. But of the system though what probably isnt, is something to fold with.

    But of all, usually takes fund or money to work with, yes? Somehow someway, and better off your then someone elses? Well, in terms of some gains against others, someone elses is always better.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 19, 2011 4:37 PM
    strange:
    "3X DDR3 for each system"
    isn't Sandybridge dualchannel?
  • -5 Hide
    Taylor422 , July 19, 2011 5:05 PM
    dj_ninstrange:"3X DDR3 for each system"isn't Sandybridge dualchannel?


    DDR3 works fine, and it's cheaper. DDR2 is old and gone.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , July 19, 2011 5:18 PM
    I'm curious how 1 power supply would work with 3 different systems. I know you can get splitters for the the 24pin connector but for the ATX power switch, does that mean 1 m/b would power them all on and off.

    Would it also mean any one of the 3 motherboards could send a shut off signal to the powersupply. Not that many of us would have a need to try this but I'm curious how it would work.
  • 0 Hide
    blackened144 , July 19, 2011 5:51 PM
    brutus1234I'm curious how 1 power supply would work with 3 different systems. I know you can get splitters for the the 24pin connector but for the ATX power switch, does that mean 1 m/b would power them all on and off.Would it also mean any one of the 3 motherboards could send a shut off signal to the powersupply. Not that many of us would have a need to try this but I'm curious how it would work.

    We have several 1U Twin Supermicro servers.. There are 2 full i7 based servers in the 1U chassis sharing 1 700w PSU in the middle.. These units come with a little PDU that shares the power supply and each server can be powered individually from the controls on the front. I'd guess that this has something similar.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 19, 2011 5:58 PM
    Taylor, dont think u got my question =)
    I'm talking about two or four modules when running dual channel
    3 memorymodules whould make the memoryconfig asymetric
    It says 4x on the source page.
    Guess it's just a typo here.
  • 2 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , July 19, 2011 6:05 PM
    Very very cool! I'm a little older so I'm wondering if anyone has tried it with Lincoln Logs.
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