Introduction: Portable Lego Creation Station
My son has recently developed an interest/obsession with Lego. I pulled out my old Lego collection and instructions, and as we browse through them he says "Lets make a fire truck daddy!" We proceed to sift through the pile for the parts.... 2 hours later I might have all the parts needed to build his fire truck.
After a few of these situations I decided something needed to be done to make our Lego sessions as productive as possible. A few days of thought later I came up with this design.
- Adequate parts storage.
- Organized parts storage.
- Storage tubs to hold current projects and double as somewhere to throw Lego for fast pack up.
- Whole setup folds away into a neat format.
- Big enough to last years of my son's growth.
- 2x 27L storage tubs (Got mine from Bunnings)
- 6x 200x300x100 parts trays (Fisher Brand, got mine from APlus Plastic Box Co.)
- 3x 100x300x100 parts trays
- 1x 1200 x 2400 x 9mm plywood sheet
- 1x 1200 x 900 x 9mm plywood sheet
- PVA glue
- 30mm brad nails
- 2G x 25mm countersunk screws
- Aluminum tube or nylon brewers tube to fabricate bushes
- 4x M8x30 button head bolts
- 12x 25mm flat washers to suit M8
- Old tupperware lid or 5x 40mm nylon washers
- 2x brass latches and screws
- 2x 50mm hinges and screws
- 2x 75mm hinges and screws
- 2x latches and screws
- 2x 4kg magnetic catches and screws
- 500mm aluminum flat bar
- 4x rubber feet
- 2x 25mm PVC conduit right angles
- 300mm of 25mm PVC conduit
- 2x M6 threaded inserts
- 2x M6x25 Bolts
- 12mm dia 600mm long round bar
- 300mm square sheet of 3mm aluminum sheet
- 4x 12mm washers
- 2x split pins
- 2x 100mm Dia 30kg wheels
- 12mm Dia x 100mm long aluminum round bar
- M8x40 countersunk bolt & nyloc nut
- 1x "R" clip
Step 1: Main Box Construction
- Refer to the Plywood Sheet Cutting Layout and Main Box Shell Cutting List drawings and prepare the front, back, sides, top and bottom 9mm plywood sheets for assembly.
- I started with a side and the bottom. Apply a bead of PVA glue (take note of which panel is overlapping). Clamp vertically on a flat bench and check for square prior to fixing (preferably fix with a pneumatic brad nail gun). Repeat this process for each corner then attach front and back panel using a similar method.
- Once you have a complete shell go back and make sure all joins have nails at about 100 to 150mm centers. Also add screws where the table edge will join to stiffen future main hinge connections. *Note: Be sure not to install nails or screws where you will be cutting off the table panel.
- Set your saw gauge to 39mm and carefully cut around the front panel to create the table.
- Set your compass to 75mm to mark the 150mm Dia Lego dots on the 9mm plywood and cut out 8x circles using a jig saw.
Step 2: Shelf Construction
- Use a piece of scrap plywood to make two strips slightly higher than your parts trays to ensure shelves are parallel from front to back. I only allowed 1 - 2mm higher than the parts tray so the Lego parts do not mix while wheeling the box around.
- Clamp the gauges in positions, slide shelf into position and check clearances using parts trays and tubs. Also check for square.
- Apply PVA glue along back and sides of shelf
- Brad nail into position.
*Note: The two middle shelves are flush with the front of the box as they butt into the end of the table while it is in position. Refer to Section "A" on Plan & Elevation Drawing.
Step 3: Main Hinge Construction
Refer to Main Hinge Detail drawing for the dimension of the plywood hinge arm.
- Fabricate 8x bushes that will push neatly into all pivot holes to suit the pivot bolts which in my case is M8x30.
- I used some small Aluminum tube which was a little big in diameter so I ran a slot along the bush and it crimped down to the correct size once it was tapped into position with a small mallet. Try this out on a piece of scrap ply first to get the correct final hole diameter.
- You could also use something like nylon brewers tube or machine up or 3D print some bushes.
- I used a short piece 38mm pipe and ground a sharp edge on one end (as shown) to create a wad punch and punched out 4x nylon washers from an old Tupperware lid to make the washers between the hinge arm, main box and table.
- You can use a compass (set at 240mm) to check the position of the pivot hole in the main box by marking the hole center on the table and scribing an arc on the side of the main box while the table is in both the closed and mocked up position. Where the arcs intersect will be the position of the pivot. I double checked this by carving down an old pencil to fit into the bolt hole in the hinge arm and repeat the arc scribe process, as shown above.
- Drill the pivot hole in the side of the main box and tap in bushes.
- Temporarily bolt assembly together to check alignment and to attach latches.
Step 4: Leg, Hinges and Latch
- Modify 2x 75mm hinges as shown above and as detailed on the Leg Hinge Detail drawing.
- Fix the smaller modified side of the hinge into the top of the table edge with 2x 2Gx25 countersunk screws.
- Fold the hinge closed and fix the hinge into the top edge of the leg with 2x 2Gx25 countersunk screws.
- Align brace along center line and perpendicular to leg. Fix 2x 50mm hinges with 2x countersunk screws each connection.
- Using a hacksaw to cut off the mounting tabs as shown above, fix the brass latches to each side of the brace and their keepers to the underside of the table.
- Fix main door latches into position as shown above. I used adjustable cam style latches which seem to be working well.
*Note: Coat all metal hardware you intend to paint with etch primer prior to fixing into position.
Step 5: Lego Dot Construction
- Once you have printed the 8x sets of Lego letters using the STL files attached give them a quick coat of spray primer to make life easier when it comes time to paint them.
- Coat the 150mm diameter plywood Lego dots with paint to help with adhesion.
- Mark a horizontal pencil line across each of the dots. 3D print the locating stencil and line it up with the pencil line through the slots on each side of the stencil.
- Apply a thin coat of super glue (cyanoacrylate) to the underside of a letter and carefully place it into the stencil and hold it down for a few seconds for the glue to set.
- Set out the dots on the underside of the table and pencil mark their positions. Apply PVA glue and fix them in position with 2x small countersunk screws.
Step 6: Painting
- Disassemble the plywood parts prior to painting.
- Most of the parts were painted with a small foam roller.
- The undercoat is an interior acrylic sealer. I had enough to apply 2x coats.
- The final coat is Pascol Bedazzled Blue interior acrylic. 1 Liter was just enough.
Step 7: Bottom Magnetic Latch
- Fabricate some steel angles for the magnetic catches out of angle or RHS as shown above.
- Fix the angles to the main box with small countersunk screws making sure you do not foul the main hinge pivots.
Step 8: Door Seat and Legs
- Use some 30mm (I only had 20mm) Aluminum flat bar to fabricate a seating strip under the front edge of the main box for the table to seat onto, to stop any sag in the table while in its packed up position.
- Install 4x rubber feet under the base of the main box.
Step 9: Handle Construction
I went with a 25mm PVC conduit construction for the handle as it has a Lego-esk look in my opinion.
Refer to the Handle Mounting Detail drawing.
- Use a 25mm diameter holesaw to cut a plywood plug to fit into the PVC 90 degree connection. Drill out the center of the plug to suit the threaded insert.
- Tap the plug in using a small mallet to just below flush and fix with 2x small countersunk screws as shown.
- Wind threaded insert into plug.
- Drill 2x 6mm holes in the back of the main box to suit the handle mounting bolts.
- Mount the handle as shown.
Step 10: Axle and Wheel Assembly
- Using a 75mm holesaw fabricate a bracket out of 3mm aluminum to the dimensions shown on the Axle Bracket Detail drawing.
- Grind a small chamfer on the end of the 12mm axle and drill and countersink a 3mm diameter hole near the end of the axle for the split pin.
- Temporarily install a split pin, slip on a washer, the wheel, another washer followed by the mounting bracket.
- On a flat surface mockup the axle assembly and mark where the brackets will sit with a pencil. Disassemble and fix brackets in position using the pencil marks, refer to detail drawing for fixing details.
- Now that the brackets are in position, mockup the assembly once again and use a fine tip marker to scribe a line on the axle against the outer washer, this will be the inner edge of the 3mm split pin hole.
- Drill and countersink a 3mm diameter split pin hole.
- Allow a few millimeters past the pin hole and cut off the axle and tidy up with a chamfer similar to the other end.
- Assemble and install split pins.
Step 11: Main Box Assembly
- Assemble the main hinge as shown on the Main Hinge Assembly Detail drawing.
- Be sure not to over tighten pivot bolts, these need to be tight but still allow movement without applying too much pressure.
Step 12: Table Retaining Pin
I'm not 100% happy with this design, it is a bit of a work in progress as it is a little industrial looking for this project in my opinion. I would have preferred something small and out of the way hidden under the table.
- Refer to Fold Away Table Retaining Pin Detail drawing.
- Use a 30mm diameter holesaw to cut a 3mm thick aluminum washer.
- Add a small flat to one side and braze the washer to a piece of 12mm diameter aluminum round bar.
- Drill a 12.5mm diameter hole in the table edge.
- Drill and countersink 8mm diameter hole in the lower middle shelf.
- Temporarily install pin and use a fine tip marker to scribe a line on the pin (similar to what we did on the axle construction) to mark where the edge of the "R" clip hole will be.
- Drill & countersink each side a 3mm hole for the "R" clip.
- Allow a few millimeters and cut off pin, tidy end of pin with a small chamfer which will also help locate pin into it's hole.
Step 13: Placemat
- I printed a Lego logo I got from Google images using a large format printer and had it laminated at my local office supply store.
- Cut the print down to suit the table top.
Step 14: Completion!
- I sorted the Lego by type rather than color as this suits the way we create, but it is up to you.
- To make the labels I used Lego Digital Designer which has the command "take a screenshot" then paste it into a graphics program (even Windows Paint will do). Print them out, laminate and cut each label 90x25mm.
Overall I am happy with the outcome and I feel I covered my criteria well. Most importantly, my son loves it.
Thanks for taking the time :)