Introduction: Building a Lego MP3 Player

Picture of Building a Lego MP3 Player

I saw a couple of USB drives with Lego casing and thought I'd give it a go. On my search for a cheap drive to hack open I found this very cheap MP3 player, and boldly thought, "Wow, that'll be even better!"

Different to the flash drives, this needed buttons and a headphone socket. Plus an annoyingly large battery.

Step 1: Materials and Stuff

The MP3 player was an amazingly cheap £4.97. Unfortunately that meant it was rather large and didn't have many features, but it works.

I also needed:
- Four lego bricks (two 1x4s and two 2x4s) and several lego "plates" i.e. flat pieces for the base
- Super Glue
- Hot Glue
- A mini drill or similar for sanding down / cutting up the bricks
- Sand paper
- A solder iron and solder
- Good lighting helps

Step 2: Get Player Circuit and Start on Case

Picture of Get Player Circuit and Start on Case

Removing the gubbins from inside the MP3 player was as easy as prying it open with my fingernails. Something of higher quality will probably need a little more effort.

After looking at the board I realised I could either go for making the case four dots wide and be on the safe side, or three dots wide and need to do a bit of squeezing. I went for three.

It was fairly pain free to glue the bricks together and hollow them out. For the sake of getting the circuit in easier I kept them in two parts. Note that super glue was what seemed to be the best choice here, the edges were mearly a milimeter thick, and it needed to be strong and accurate.

Step 3: Sanding Down the Circuit

Picture of Sanding Down the Circuit

As stated, the circuit was too big for the case, so I needed to reshape it a little. I figured I could do the following:
- Sand down the edges to remove excess
- Add on a few link wires so I could cut off the end of the circuit
- Move the awkwardly positioned headphone socket

To start, I sanded down the easy bits just about as much as I could. Saved at least two milimetres. I then basically cut away all of the circuit that supported the USB port so I could push it through further and save more space. Eventually I got one end to fit in.

It's pretty hard to get any pictures of my messy link wire(s), but I managed to cut quite a bit off there too. And desoldering a surface-mount mini headphone socket... that wasn't nearly as easy as I'd expected. It eventually came off, with a lot of poking, driling, prying and sucking up solder.

Step 4: Making Holes for the Buttons and USB Thingy

Picture of Making Holes for the Buttons and USB Thingy

Fairly easy, just mark out and drill (I did the marks on the edges so as not to get pen on the lovely shiney outer surface). It seemed best to make a hole in the middle and then work one's way out, continually testing.

Once the USB head fit (with a little more sanding to the board) the buttons were a little more tricky. The tact buttons had little plastic silver buttons over them on the original player, which I kept, but there was no way the grid thing that held them would fit in here. I decided to cut each button out of the grid, and then sand down the back of them until they were a silvery grey lump. I then very carefully cut a rim to the holes I'd made for them, so that when they were inserted they were flush on the inside. I could then fit the circuit in without any more wiggling than before, and the buttons still had a nice feel to them.

Step 5: Getting It In

Picture of Getting It In

More sanding and shoving, finally I got the thing into the case. Here you can see it held together with another piece of Lego, with the buttons looking nice and all. Also on the right is the remains of where the headphone socket was.

Step 6: The Headphone Socket

Picture of The Headphone Socket

Oh, this bit was fun. The picture doesn't show much, but it was quite a feat. The thinnest wire I could find was still a thick, unflexiable, industrial sized slug... well, sort of. It certainly wasn't the easiest thing to use. After connecting all the pins with their original pads, it was a matter of shoving it through another hole, and smothering in hot glue for it to withstand many plugging ins and outs.

It's important to test before covering in glue though, if you can hold a battery to the awkward terminals. The first time round one of the pins shorted and the sound was only in mono, which isn't quite what we want.

Also the glue mound I built helped keep the springy battery terminal in place. I actually held it to a blowtorch first so I could change the shape slightly, but that doesn't really matter. The SMT components are quite heat sensitive, they shouldn't be under heat for more than a few seconds.

Of course once that was done I could glue the case together permenantly. The thing now looks pretty good.

Step 7: The Battery Cover

Picture of The Battery Cover

Alas, this bit was awkward. See, the battery stuck out a lot more than I expected. So the single layer cover was out.

I put two flatties on top of each other next to it, and it *looked* like it would work. It wouldn't.

Eventually my two layers got sanded and drilled into just a frame. It's not nearly as nice as I'd have liked, but it does the job. You can stick it onto more lego around the edges, but not in the middle due to the edge of the battery poking through. Oh well.

Step 8: Finishing Off

Picture of Finishing Off

Because so much had been carved out, the original bumps didn't keep the cover in place. I thought of using magnets, but couldn't find any. In the end I glued little metal rods into it which made it (sort of) click into place when you close it. At least it holds.

So what next? I hoped to add a light to this - the original had a light on it, but it was made of two SMT LEDs so there wasn't a hope in moving them, and if I replaced the bump above it with a clear one it wouldn't look balanced at all. I would also like to desolder and resolder the USB port to be a bit more logical - at the moment you have to insert it upside down, because of the crappy design of the original player which needed to be inserted with the battery compartment on top.

But for now, I'm off to listen to my favorite tracks on my new Lego MP3 player. Hmm, needs a better name. Lego-MP3? MP3-Brick?


knakamoto (author)2013-01-21

You should make a cover for the jack... >.>

lucas wheatcroft (author)2009-02-09

128MB?! That's so little room. My iPod is 2GB!!!!!! Yeah, I should remember when I had this "cheapy" Mp3 Player that was only 256MB including system and data.

XOIIO (author)lucas wheatcroft2011-08-19

2GB? how can you live with that? I have a 32gb and thats filling up already.

portalturret2 (author)2010-07-12

pretty sweet, but i wish there was a screen. you should experiment and try to put a screen on it. it looks like a colby, my brother has one

TSC (author)2010-04-01

Sweet goood job 5 stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

walking tree (author)2010-02-08

 it should be LP3

mattccc (author)2009-12-23

nice job

marffy (author)2009-07-12

pretty cool, to bad there is no screen

lucas wheatcroft (author)2009-02-09

Tenei's Mp3 Players qe pueden tener un TB.

lucas wheatcroft (author)2009-02-09

Das ist so geil, ich will's mal jetzt aufbauen. Aber ich habe die richtige teile nicht um es alles zu schaffen.

lucas wheatcroft (author)2009-02-09

I was just reading these comments and there so funny. One song I'd put in the Mp3 in When Dory does the whale language. Ich lach mich tot.

lucas wheatcroft (author)2009-02-09

I like to move it move. I like to "Move it!"

lucas wheatcroft (author)2009-02-09

Hmm, legoooo. Coooooooooooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh, Lego can be build to a Mp3. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lucas wheatcroft (author)2009-02-09

I downloaded this Lego Mp3 Player in Adobe Reader and it's so cool. Where the heck can I get the Mp3 chip?! I love building. "Oh baby. Oh baby oh I'm gonna do somethin' freaky to you. oh yeah" is one of my favorite songs.

dadoman (author)2008-12-14

mplego asd!

jonathan95123 (author)2008-05-10

it's a coby 128 mb, 20 $ usd, i shouldd know, i have the same exact one

bombmaker2 (author)jonathan951232008-11-18

i have one just like it but it's a gig

thefunktopus (author)2008-05-02

what mp3 player is this and who much did it cosy

Kaiven (author)2007-09-26

oohooooohohoooo...i have a cheap mp3 player with a cold( it's definetly not a virus) and i might try this :) thanks for the idea. Oh, and you could make a lego speaker, so that you can build a lego house with a huge radio and speaker. :P

gnasty gnork (author)Kaiven2008-03-23

is it a sansa. my sansa is a piece of crap. the volume buttons keep on breaking!!!!! Makes me mad! I threw it out and got a zen vision w from amazon for $280 (after discontinue)

mitxela (author)Kaiven2008-01-12

Lego speaker... that'd actually be pretty awesome. I'll do that some time.

ferrari484 (author)2007-10-15

I like it man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HIGHVOLTAGE-Z (author)2007-07-24

it would look kinda cool if you had it in a altoids gum tin

mitxela (author)HIGHVOLTAGE-Z2007-08-03

That'd kinda defeat the point, methinks.

Mr. Smart Kid (author)2007-06-27

mp3 brick

learningmaster (author)2007-05-20

can you buy one in the us?

mitxela (author)learningmaster2007-05-26

Probably... try looking on ebay.

Canned Husky (author)2007-05-04

Hullo there! YAy, it's really cool. Unfortunately I just got a new mp3 player and have no time to make something like this:( about calling it iBrick?

themaster (author)2007-04-18

hey me again. I just read all comments and I was wondering if any of you know where i can get a cheap MP3 in Vancouver, BC? Please respond.

mitxela (author)themaster2007-04-19

Well, here (the UK) they're selling them for £4.97 in Tesco, which is actually cheaper than a USB flash drive of the same size! For everyone else, though, there's quite a few going for ~$10 on ebay, if you wade through all the headphones and cases and chargers and what-have-you.

themaster (author)2007-04-18

this project is totally awesome. Where can i get a really cheap MP3?

superclassic (author)2007-04-17

Yer those mp3 players are ace, i used 1 in a pez usb stick i made, had to do away with the mp3 capabilites due to space issues. I will probs try again and make the full pez mp3 player and post the results on here. out.

paulgeering (author)2007-03-19

Turns out some stores still have them. Still at 4.97 GBP.

paulgeering (author)2007-02-22

Before even opening your instructable page i knew, from the tiny thumbnail picture, exactly where you had purchased your mp3 player. the three buttons are a dead give away. Also I see you were clever enough to wait until the price went down to 4.97. I have 3 of them, two of which may appear in some modified form on this site in the near future. Brilliant work. From a good idea to a good instructable. Perfect pictures, can't fault it in any way. Well done.

where did he get it from?

He got them from TESCO (Biggest supermarket chain in UK). At least I hope so, otherwise my last post makes me look a bit stupid. If you live near a TESCO, don't bother rushing down there to get one (or more) of these. They were a limited stock special offer. Now the cheapest mp3 players i the shop are around 15 GBP but they are superior in many ways. (they have an lcd screen, normal sized headphone socket, better button layout and the ability to record).

I looked and saw them on the site, why are they still there?

I was just going on what my local store had in stock. If you want to pay for the shipping then try ordering one/some from their website. Let us know how you get on.

mitxela (author)paulgeering2007-02-22

Yay, thanks. It's my first instructable :D I was thinking of going back and buying more, and building them into other stuff.

PetervG (author)2007-02-22

So where'd you get it? What's it called?

mitxela (author)PetervG2007-02-23

Tesco. It's branded as made by "Technika" and the model number is MP-906. And yes, they were probably limited stock.

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