Lego Router (WRT54GL)

Lego router

So, I got the urge to build something again. As I looked around my room, I noticed the five Linksys WRT54GL routers I had bought from Amazon.com when they were on sale. Of course I immediately thought, “I wonder if that would fit nicely in a Lego case?”. So I opened one up and measured the circuit board. It looked like it would be a good fit, so I decided to go ahead and design a case for it. This is the result.

Lego routerMy goal was to recreate, as much as possible, the stackable design of the original WRT54GL case while maintaining full functionality of the router (buttons, LEDs, ports). I also wanted to keep some air flowing through the case to avoid overheating the board.

Perspective renderThe first step was to take detailed measurements of the WRT54GL PCB. It turns out that the board is exactly 160mm x 144mm, which means that it fits perfectly within the dimensions of Lego bricks (which are multiples of 8mm).

Over the course of the next two days, I drew the design using MLCAD. I kept with the style of my previous Lego computer: a sleek exterior, smooth top, and subtle air vents.

Lego router back viewThe design I finally decided on has two air vents (one on each side), a row of clear bricks for the LEDs to shine though, a hole for the front button, and an opening for the ports in the back. The PCB is secure in the case, so there is no trouble with it moving around when you connect/disconnect cables.

After I was happy with the design, I exported it to BrickLink to find a seller who had all the parts I needed. My order came to about $50, but I added some extra “just-in-case” parts which bumped the total to $60. (Twenty dollars more than I paid for the router itself!)

Lego router inside viewThe PCB for the WRT54GL is an “L” shape, which presented an interesting challenge. The small side of the “L” is just shy of 61mm, which is 3mm short of being a multiple of 8mm. Initially, I thought I would have to leave a big gap, or just design a square inset.

However, Lego plates are 3.2mm tall. I took advantage of this by using hinge pieces to rotate the orientation of the bricks by 90 degrees, and using a flat tile as a spacer. This brought the width of the inset to be exactly the size of the PCB by filling in that extra 3mm.

I also learned from my previous mistake, and lined the top of the case primarily with flat tiles. The top is secured by only four small plates, one in each corner, which makes it much easier to remove without having to dismantle the whole thing.

Lego router topAside from assuring the board fit snugly in the case, I also took into account ventilation. The back and two sides of the case are open, allowing air to flow through. Additionally, the top to the case is thin to reduce the potential insulating effects of the Lego bricks.

Lego bricks are actually manufactured to be slightly smaller than 8mm to allow them to sit nicely against each other when connected. I took advantage of this fact by making a large section of the top only one tile thick, which leaves gaps through which hot air can escape from the case.

Lego router with WRT54GL faceplate on topThe lid also makes the case stackable with itself, although, unfortunately not with the original WRT54GL. Left to right, and width-wise, the feet of the original case fit great, but they are not spaced a multiple of 8mm from front to back, so they could not line up with my design. I can pretend though :)

Lego router in front of WRT54GL boxOnly two problems came up as I was constructing the case, and both were relatively minor.

First, the top pieces were not high enough to go over the antenna connectors. Somehow I measured wrong and omitted one layer of plates. Luckily, I bought enough extras to fix the mistake.

After I resolved that, the antennas wouldn’t screw on because they were too big to reach the connectors. As it turns out, the wide plastic piece at the base of the stock antennas is removable! Popping it off exposes the TNC connector (in the same style as the high-gain HGA7T antennas) and allows the antennas to attach without issue.

Ultimately, I am very pleased with how this project turned out and I hope you enjoyed reading about it. If you’d like to try making a case for your own WRT54GL, I’ve packaged all of the design documents and images and released them under the by-nc-sa Creative Commons license. You can choose the small download (155 KB), which contains only the documents and part lists, or the full download (5.5 MB), which contains all of the assembly images as well. Check out the included README.html for details.

Oh, and here is the obligatory time lapse video…

Thanks for reading!

Lego router

~ by Luke on January 8, 2010.

104 Responses to “Lego Router (WRT54GL)”

  1. [...] 1 votes vote <b>Lego</b> Router (WRT54GL) « Luke's Weblog Of course I immediately thought, “I wonder if that would fit nicely in a Lego case?”. [...]

  2. Awesome! Thanks for sharing

  3. i like your design better than theirs

  4. [...] at [Luke's] LEGO router case; STARE AT IT! The router is nothing special, a WRT54GL that is fun to hack. We’ve seen it [...]

  5. very very cool :D

    but this will not get you laid :(

  6. Incredible. And the MLCad software seems really nice to make instruction manuals, I’ll have to take a look at that.

  7. Hi! Do you know about lego-like brick kits aimed at gadget case building? I can see your router case has some really thin bricks, but I don’t see any bricks with blunt, rounded edges (I like that bricky case, but I’d like to make a case with a more ‘organic’ looking shape)

  8. Ok, sorry the extra post: I’ll do some research on Brickstore and MCAD: I had no idea how sophisticated this lego thing has gone, it’s all so uber geekish!

  9. very very cool man :D

  10. [...] que o “artista” Luke fez foi montar um roteador WRT54GL da Linksys em uma estrutura totalmente feita com LEGO. Veja a [...]

  11. That is just COOLER than COOLER! You rock!

  12. [...] met een videootje over hoe je zo’n ding in elkaar dient te zetten. En als je nu eenmaal een Router van Lego hebt, hoort daar natuurlijk ook een PC bij… Zou er ook een printer te vinden zijn ? Een monitor [...]

  13. [...] les routeurs Linksys WRT54GL et pour une configuration Mini-ITX. Les plans pour le PC et pour le Routeur. Lego, Linksys, Luke, Mini-ITX, Via [...]

  14. [...] router can be found here to buy on Amazon and the instructions here. More details can be found on Luke’s site that go over the build in more [...]

  15. [...] a redesign?) Linksys router and giving it a shiny new coat of Lego paint seems like a great idea. Some guy named Luke did it, and the results are pretty [...]

  16. [...] Link [via] [...]

  17. [...] Luke Anderson took apart his Linksys WRT54G router, and fitted the parts into his lego casing, and everything fits so perfectly! He even documented the steps he took for his cool DIY project on his blog. [...]

  18. [...] mid-afternoon drink. Well now you can be proud of your creation thanks to Luke Anderson and his Lego Router. Handling that manufactured router can be a pain, so why not build one made from perfectly measure [...]

  19. [...] que o “artista” Luke fez foi montar um roteador WRT54GL da Linksys em uma estrutura totalmente feita com LEGO. Veja a [...]

  20. [...] technology just became a lot more geeky with Luke Anderson’s rather cool DIY Lego router. His router design is based upon the Linksys WRT54GL router and when [...]

  21. [...] que o “artista” Luke fez foi montar um roteador WRT54GL da Linksys em uma estrutura totalmente feita com LEGO. Veja a [...]

  22. [...] gevolgd door drie foto's van het eindresultaat. Voor meer afbeeldingen en informatie, bezoek de weblog van [...]

  23. Excellent high tech look! I hadn’t thought much about ventilation and your design gets some nice airflow. Thanks for the detailed plans.

  24. [...] WRT54GL's PCB in an entirely Lego-built enclosure. He was also kind enough to provide downloadable instructions on his blog. Anyone out there been using Lego for their DIY electronics projects? [via Byphenyl's Twitter [...]

  25. [...] Luke Anderson se ha currado este router Linksys WRT54GL tuneado a base de LEGOs. En su web explica todos los pasos (igual te inspira algún trabajito parecido: el router de Linksys es de los más hackeables), y el [...]

  26. Incredible, very very good

  27. [...] pibe Luke Anderson en su web explica como realizar esta espectacular carcasa para el router Linksys [...]

  28. [...] still a great job, and one that’ll look real good in your living room. The best part is, instructions have been provided for you, so if you think you want to do this over the weekend, give it a [...]

  29. [...] still a great job, and one that’ll look real good in your living room. The best part is, instructions have been provided for you, so whether you think you want to do that by the weekend, give it a [...]

  30. [...] still a great job, and one that’ll look real good in your living room. The best part is, instructions have been provided for you, so if you think you want to do this over the weekend, give it a [...]

  31. Thumbs up!

  32. nice!

  33. wow, that was really cool!

  34. very nice, good job.. I wish I had that many black pieces! :D ;)
    however, LEGO is NOT designed in metric units (mm) the brick units are all made using IMPERIAL (inches) divisions. Once you realise that, the ratios between brick/plate widths and heights falls into place much better. Everything is measured in 16ths. 1 brick “unit” = 5x5x6 16ths, stud height = 1 16th. therefore plate height is exactly 2 16ths. it becomes so much easier to calculate real sizes using this rather than mm. Good luck!

  35. Amazing job.

  36. [...] você ficou tenso e quer fazer igual, é só seguir as dicas do Luke. Videos Legais | diy, lego, nerd, nerd como a gente, roteador, [...]

  37. [...] que o “artista” Luke fez foi montar um roteador WRT54GL da Linksys em uma estrutura totalmente feita com LEGO. Veja a [...]

  38. [...] Router (via Slippery Brick), Router Blog Post, Mike’s LEGO CAD, LEGO Digital [...]

  39. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email this | Comments Go to [...]

  40. [...] 18 Jan 2010 14:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Make  |  Luke's Router  | Email this | Comments Filed under: Engadget Leave a comment Comments [...]

  41. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email this | Comments Rate this topic: (No Ratings Yet) Popularity: 0 [...]

  42. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email [...]

  43. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email this | Comments ArrayArrayArrayArrayArrayArray Link To This Post1. [...]

  44. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email this | Comments Filed under Engadget Tags: 3d scanner, anything, [...]

  45. Awesome! Really cool.

  46. [...] 18 Jan 2010 14:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Make  |  Luke's Router  | Email this | Comments Tags: diy, lego, lego router, LegoRouter, linksys, [...]

  47. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email [...]

  48. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email [...]

  49. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email [...]

  50. [...] PCB in an entirely Lego-built enclosure. He was also kind enough to provide downloadable instructions on his blog. Anyone out there been using Lego for their DIY electronics projects? [via Byphenyl's Twitter [...]

  51. [...]  |  Luke’s Router  | Email [...]

  52. That is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen in my entire life … I can see some Lego projects in my future …

  53. [...] lego diy router brought to you by Luke, not Skywalker but a cool person! check it out: Luke’s blog [...]

  54. [...] how Luke Anderson converted his Linksys wireless router into a Lego router. If you would like to build one yourself, [...]

  55. [...] fbShare = {url: 'http://guydoyen.fr/2010/01/21/un-routeur-en-lego/&#39;, title: 'Un routeur en LEGO'} Luke Anderson a créé un routeur tout en LEGO à partir de son routeur Linksys. Si vous voulez en construire un, [...]

  56. [...] your favorite toy! Ready to dive in? We thought so… hit the source link to get started. Source: Luke's Router [...]

  57. [...] [Via] Von Tim Steiner | 22.01.10 | Computer, Software & Büro, Discovery |  Permalink   Trackback Adresse für diesen Eintrag: http://www.smartshoppingblog.de/8518_lego-alles-kann-lanrouter/trackback/   [...]

  58. [...]  Web Oficial: Luke Anderson [...]

  59. [...] “Lego router” (via Sean) – A guy built a case for Linksys router out of Lego.  He also built a computer case in a similar way.  It all is probably useless, but really cool. [...]

  60. [...]  |  Luke’s R&#111uter &&#110&#98sp;|&&#110&#98sp;&#69mail [...]

  61. [...] still a great job, and one that’ll look real good in your living room. The best part is, instructions have been provided for you, so if you think you want to do this over the weekend, give it a [...]

  62. I’ve been working on this and it is perfect!
    I had to make some addition as I think some was not so perfect.
    As with the tiles on the top, it is not very strong, especially when you have cats walking around on services.
    I had to order some 12×2 black flat bricks to put underneath the weak points.
    Now it is perfect!!!

    • Glad to hear you were successful! Would love to see pictures.

      Indeed, the top surface was not designed to be strong. It was a compromise to help dissipate heat by keeping only the thinnest layer of plastic on top, but is admittedly very weak.

      Thanks for visiting!

      Luke

  63. [...] Lego Router (WRT54GL) [...]

  64. [...] enclosure for it out of legos. He has a guide on his blog on how to build this beefy man machine. (link) Check out the clear legos to maintain functionality of the LED indicator lights. [...]

  65. I love that one!!!

  66. [...] Lego Router (WRT54GL) « Luke's Weblog [...]

  67. [...] related items.  First a Linksys wireless router that was re-housed in a box made from LEGO® by Luke.  The result is very [...]

  68. [...] http://tfvlrue.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/lego-router-wrt54gl/ [...]

  69. [...] this clip as Luke Anderson converted his Linksys router into a [...]

  70. The PCB for the WRT54GL is an “L” shape, which presented an interesting challenge. The small side of the ”L” is just shy of 61mm, which is 3mm short of being a multiple of 8mm. Initially, I thought I would have to leave a big gap, or just design a square inset.

  71. cool!i would like to put on my website!!!!!it would make good news!!!!!!!

  72. The lego comp case inspired me to make my own based on a mac g5 case complete with curved handles top and bottom using some creative SNOT. Designed in MLCAD just waiting on shipments of bricks. Now you go ahead and spring the router on me! well looks like ill have to encase my keyboard…Keep up the good work.

  73. [...] (image credits: tfvlrue) [...]

  74. [...] Luke put his geeky creativity to work again and came up with a fully functioning Lego router. It has two air vents, a row of clear bricks for the LEDs to shine though, and an opening for ports in the back. It also matches the Lego computer that he built. A boring Linksys WRT54GL router turned into a Lego router, that’s geeky greatness right there. [Link] [...]

  75. [...] qui lui permettent de fonctionner parfaitement. Luke Anderson, son créateur, propose même un mode d’emploi très détaillé pour qui voudrait réaliser un objet similaire. N’empêche, quelle patience [...]

  76. [...] qui lui permettent de fonctionner parfaitement. Luke Anderson, son créateur, propose même un mode d’emploi très détaillé pour qui voudrait réaliser un objet similaire. N’empêche, quelle patience [...]

  77. This is awsome concept and Idea. Can’t wait to give it try. Really i would have never thought to use legos to house a router or computer. guess it worked out better than my friend “aquaium case”

  78. Ciao that text is cool are you a professional author ? Maybe i can pay you to post for my blog?

  79. Son, you need to get out more.

  80. This is really amazing! Building a computer case out of Leggos? Who would have thunk it..LOL. Brilliant, I love it! http://www.thermaltakearmor.com Thanks for sharing.

  81. Hello!
    I like this blog. It is very nice to read.
    I am curious why I didn’t know about this blog before.
    Sharing is a virtue, and more people need to see this blogpost.
    I will surely spread the word. Many of my friends will love it.

    Cheers and keep it up!
    =)

  82. awesome stuff friend! To integrate real tech and build a case with lego. Going to start a project myself. Where do you buy your Lego, I’m from Holland an buy Lego here

  83. You should read the manual.
    Everything you need is in there, also where to buy Lego

  84. I think it looks much nicer than the original housing.

  85. [...] you wish to build a Lego router like that, Luke has also provided the blueprint for download on his weblog for your [...]

  86. [...] e Quo le info del progetto dal realizzatore dei video. Creatività, Hardware case (7), [...]

  87. [...] Le blog de luke Share and Enjoy: [...]

  88. [...] Also check out my new Lego router!http://tfvlrue.wordpress.com/2010/01/&#8230; [...]

  89. [...] how Luke Anderson converted his Linksys wireless router into a Lego router. If you would like to build one yourself, [...]

  90. Leominster@gmail.com

  91. Fantastic, I have this exact lynksis at home (awesome router) but I wouldn’t mind the Lego one as well … although I probably wouldn’t know how to build it. :-)

  92. Very nice, good job!

  93. This is amazing and instructive for all off as, thanks and good sharing….

  94. [...] Lego is always fun for all the family regardless of age and if you have a bit of free time on your hands maybe you could try making your very own Lego working router. Check the link here. [...]

  95. Thanks for the helpful post, I hope the market depending on the power supply that the electronic requires so while you dont get upset if I take some of the information for my website. Thanks!

  96. Awesome router, where could I order it?

  97. Where can I order this router?

  98. This looks amazing! Can I buy this somewhere?

  99. this looks very cool…

  100. Wow. looks great!

  101. […] is a product that people did some amazing stuff with – like building a LEGO version or even a […]

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