The Frame

One of the coolest aspects of Legos is that they are entirely modular: every brick is part of the “Lego System,” which means they all use the same spacing and dimensions. A Lego brick from fifty years ago is completely compatible with a Lego brick today. This modularity also means that a Lego set might be described as a firetruck, but the same pieces can be rebuilt into a spaceship, a castle, or practically anything else.

To channel this sort of modularity in our Lego sorter, we did not build a single fixed frame that contained all the components. Instead, the components all attach to a pegboard, with a grid of hole spaced one inch apart. This lets us move any of the parts around, so that the Lego sorter has some of the same versatility as actual Legos do. The pegboard, a surface four feet tall and two feet wide, is attached to a wooden frame that holds it at a 15⁰ angle. This angle almost vertical, so that kids can look at the sorter head-on, but the slight tilt means that parents (or anyone else taller than four feet) can still see what’s happening without having to bend down. The tilt also helps the Lego bricks stay on the slides as they bounce down the machine.

We constructed the frame out of three 2”x4” pieces of wood cut and screwed together. We also used small pieces of sheet metal to fix the pieces together from the outside. Together this creates a durable structure that holds up our pegboard at a consistent and optimal angle.