back to article Man recreates ZX81... in Lego

You can pick up the real thing cheaply enough on eBay, but that hasn't stopped retro-computing fan and Lego nut from knocking up a version out of the plastic bricks. Hairy Dalek's Lego ZX81 Hairy Dalek's Lego ZX81 The result is larger than the real thing, but sports all the ports - including the parallel port round the …


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  1. Alan Bourke

    I want a BBC B one.

    To put my Raspberry Pi in.

  2. bitmap animal


    That is just superb, well done that man.

  3. Mondo the Magnificent

    One step beyond..

    Loving that!

    Oh, he should have shoved a pukka ZX81 logic board into it and integrated the keyboard within it too, sure the keyboard wouldn't be Lego, but... the ZX would function :¬)

    1. Alan Bourke
      Thumb Up

      If the keyboard *was* LEGO

      it would still be better than the real original keyboard.

      1. John G Imrie

        When the keyboard did go on our ZX Spectrum...

        My brother made a new one out of lego and tin foil.

    2. TheOtherHobbbes

      Building a working logic board out of Lego

      Now *that* would have been interesting.

  4. nemo20000

    I Am Not An AFOL but

    Needs some black cheese slopes to smooth out the peak at the back, and the raised keys are all wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fair enough but when you've designed and built yours you can have a pop at his, until then shush!

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        "Fair enough but when you've designed and built yours you can have a pop at his, until then shush!"

        FFS how often does this comment have to be posted on here?

        If what you say makes sense then we are no longer allowed to declare that we dislike a movie, a TV show, a book, a song, a car or anything else designed or made by humans. Complete tosh.

        At least the OP's criticism was constructive and suggested ways to improve the original rather than just saying "that's crap".

    2. Aaron Em

      If you're "not an AFOL"... come you know the acronym? Only place I've ever seen it is where AFoLs hang out.

      ('Adult Fan of Lego', for any who're wondering.)

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        ADULT Fan Of Lego

        I still have some Lego in a box from when I was young. When I go anywhere near it, I revert to being an annoying 10 year old moron... instead of, uh... an annoying 38 year old moron.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I'm on the wrong side of 50, and still have my lego. For my nephews to use when they visit, of course. I couldn't NOT help them could I?

    3. Aaron Em


      you know they're called "cheese slopes". Just give up and come out of the closet, mate -- there's really no call to be ashamed of yourself, it's not as though you had to admit you're a trainspotter or something.

  5. DrXym

    It was bad enough to see this story on Slashdot

    So someone manages to use Lego to very loosely approximate the appearance of a ZX81. So what?

    1. ScottAS2

      You must be new round here

      All you need to do is mention something tangentially related to certain 8-bit micros, and an entire generation go squee.

      1. Code Monkey
        Thumb Up



        1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

          I see your "squee" and raise you an 'oooh!'

          1. Simon Round

            @The Fuzzy Wotnot

            I see your "oooh" and raise you an 'aaah!'

            1. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)
              Thumb Up

              @Simon Round and The Fuzzy Whatnot

              "I'll have what she's having"

              1. Peter Stone

                Simon Round and The Fuzzy Whatnot.

                Hmm sounds like a good name for a pop group!

                1. Simon Round

                  It would never work. I can't carry a tune to save my life!

                2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  Simon Round and The Fuzzy Whatnot.

                  I was thinking more Roald Dahl than pop group...

                  1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

                    @Mr Young so you don't know what tangentially means then?

                  2. Simon Round
                    Paris Hilton

                    Simon Round and The Fuzzy Whatnot. #

                    Hmmm. Now there's an idea.

                    Should I aim the book at Kids or adults?

            2. Dixie Nourmous

              Do you know the difference between Oooh and Ahhh..... Its about 2 Inches...

      2. Mr Young


        You better watch out! "tangentially" sounds a bit curvy round the corners to me? Best take advice on that one I'd think

      3. FIA Silver badge


        You kids......

        You'll never know the unbridled awe at what is to become as you gaze in wonder at the majesty of the cover of 'ZX81 BASIC Programming'

        If there's ever been anything quite so evocative in the world of IT, well, then I'm just not 9 anymore.

        And if that's true.... oh.

        1. Darryl

          I ain't no kid

          And I didn't go Squee or Oooh or Aaah

          Maybe it was because I had a TI-99 instead, but more likely because it's a similar looking block of Lego bricks that the guy probably slapped together in a half an hour or so (after looking all over for the last green one and finally finding it under the armchair.)

          Not that impressive

  6. Shonko Kid

    ZX81 boards...

    weren't green, they were usually a 'zombie' grey color.

    Where's the gigantic nerd icon?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. To keep the costs down Sinclair only used solder mask (the green 'ink') on the solder side of the PCB. What you see on the component side is just bare fibreglass laminate.

  7. Doug Glass

    He keeps it right next to his Lego penis and Lego girlfriend and protects them both with his Lego Glock.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Aaron Em

      Somebody's got some Lego issues

      and it's not the guy who built the model ZX81.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Doug's just pissed 'cos he hasn't got a girlfriend, Lego or otherwise.

        Or a penis.

  8. Frank Bitterlich

    Chances are...

    ... that the Lego version has more RAM that the original one.

    Wake me again when he makes the thing *work* (shouldn't be too difficult with half of the Lego parts available being electronic components these days.)

    Can I get a Playmobil reenactment of the building process, please?

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge


    will it run Crysis?

    I'll get my coat

  10. Stoneshop


    After reading the title I was expecting something not unlike Babbage's Difference Engine done in Meccano.

    1. Aaron Em

      Try the Antikythera Mechanism

      There's a working Lego model of it, which Google should suffice to find.

  11. Wize

    But the lego connections are stronger than the parallel port.

    So you won't be able to recreate the ram pack wobble.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mr Young

      OK - you've blown it again!

      Thats me secret oot - the sharks are ok with a ZX81 but the laser battery thermal stuff tends to annoy them a little?

    3. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      What parallel port?

  12. R.Moore

    How is this news?

    If it had a pcb in it and the ports/keys all worked then you (might) have had a story worth reading.

  13. Not That Andrew

    This looks OK, and I'm a former Speccy owner myself, but I couldn't see anyone who hadn't owned a ZX Spectrum buying one.

    There are other projects on Cuusoo that are IMHO more original, more interesting, and with likely more likely of commercial success if LEGO there to put them out. They are the ones that need your votes.

    Here's two which I found while browsing there which IMHO are far niftier than the ZX Spectrums

    Space Marines (NOT 40K):

    Traditional Japanese Buildings:

    So instead of blindly voting for MineCraft blocks and ZX Spectrums, browse through Cuusoo (while cursing the site design that makes it difficult to), find a couple of projects which YOU think deserve it and vote for them.

  14. David Kelly 2

    I like

    Honestly, I think I'd rather have a Lego ZX-81 than the real thing!

  15. Lennart Sorensen

    How dull.

    I looked expecting someone had built an 8bit CPU and such out of Lego, and that would have been something. Making a chunk of Lego look like a ZX81 is really a "Who cares". Not even particularly well done at that.

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Building a CPU out of lego would not "have been something" it would have been a bone fide, 24 carat miracle. Lego is plastic for a start.

  16. earl grey

    AFOL, no CFOL, yes

    CFOL - Childlike Fan Of Lego

  17. Gazman

    Parallel port?

    This phrase indicates a degree of sophistication which Sinclair would never pay for - "edge connector" is a better description...

  18. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up

    Lego and Sinclair Micros

    Responsible for eating all my spare time from the ages of five-to-<ahem>.

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