Lego Solar System

February 24, 2016
projects

I made a solar system out of Lego! 


This post will be a little more detailed. You can see a nice summary album of the process on Imgur: http://imgur.com/a/KqjZK

The final results



I got my inspiration from a mosaic displayed at the European Space Agency in Germany (Pacman Solar System).  It was made by the artist Invader (Invader) .  I borrowed heavily from his design and made some changes along the way.


I liked the 8-bit look of the tiles and had been thinking about starting a project using Lego, so it made a lot of sense.  

Design

I started by making some mock-ups on paper of each planet. I originally thought I would use 4 Lego plates for each tile, but I quickly realized that would make it too large. I switched to using just one 1x1 plate per box.




Building & Learning


We tested our plans on one planet - Earth. I’m always on the lookout for things for my kids to do. It’s more important to be fun than a success. Fun means they might try it again.

I started out by getting a standard plate from L ego, which only came in 2 colors: tan and green.  I thought I would just cover everything outside of the planets in black pieces.  This idea was quickly dropped after I realized how much money I would have to spend on black background pieces.  After finishing the first planet (Earth), I found some black base plates on ebay.




Goodbye tan baseplate, hello black baseplate


After the first two were done, we got into a rhythm and pushed out the rest in quick order.  I wasn’t planning on making the sun, but I accidentally ordered too many baseplates and figured why not.

Keep an eye on Uranus’ rings

Assembly


I mounted the plates to a 14 inch piece of wood that is 6 feet long.  I painted it black and attached each plate using liquid nails adhesive.





Extra Credit


I decided to try to add some additional fun themes to my solar system. I played around with making some things using my extra pieces, but I couldn’t get them to look quite right.

I was trying to find a way to make a convincing Starship Enterprise when it occurred to me that my strategy suggested two-dimensional thinking. That’s when I found lots of instructions and small sets on ebay - a TARDIS, X-wing, TIE Fighter, etc.

My first attempt, any guesses as to what some of these are?






Final Result


After I had pretty much finished, a friend pointed out that Uranus’ rings we situated more North-to-South. One advantage of using Lego is that you can change things fairly easily.



This project cost me about $300:
I spent a lot of time on various Lego websites, but I almost always used ebay for my final purchases.  The people running little Lego shops on there are very organized and ship fast.  I made one order on Lego’s Pick-A-Brick website and I’m still waiting for those parts to arrive.



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