If you’re a nostalgia-minded geek, you might have a soft spot for the classic Space Lego sets, with their iconic orbiting rocket ship logo. You might also be fond of the physical action of pinball, full of tactile sensations so often missing from modern gaming. You probably never expected the two to meet in one of the more amazingly geeky pairings in recent memory, a pinball machine called made entirely of Lego bricks.
Lego enthusiast Bre Burns used over 15,000 Lego bricks to build a fully functional pinball machine, and it’s amazing. Every part (minus the plywood base used to help safely transport it) is made from Lego pieces, from official Lego rubber bands in the bumpers to Mindstorms steel castor balls—no glue, screws, or custom parts. The scoring, sounds, and electronics are controlled by three Lego Mindstorm NXT programmable bricks connected over Bluetooth. The Mindstorm systems include servo motors, touch sensors, color sensors, light sensors, and ultrasonic sensors, giving a wide variety of ways to track and interact with the ball.
The dedication to staying with official parts continues to every detail. The LEDs are sourced from Lego, and so are the power sources, which can either be a Lego Power Functions battery box or a 9-volt Lego Trains speed regulator plugged into a wall socket. The game logic was all programmed using the native NXT-G environment. Perhaps the most authentic detail, though, comes from the side art, depicting a classic Space Lego helmet, with the bottom featuring the crack that every Space Lego owner knows is inevitable.
For more details on ‘s programming, the challenges Bre faced during the build, and her thoughts on using Lego for a pinball machine, read the write-up at The Brother’s Brick. You can also see the machine in action and hear Bre describe her process in her own words in the following video.