LEGO jukebox choses from different CDs


Music used to be delivered on round plastic sheets called Compact Discs. [Ralph] still has some of them lying around which he used in his latest project. It’s a CD changer built out of LEGO pieces. It reminds us of the mid-century jukeboxes that changed out 45s on a record player.

You can’t tell from this image, but the entire disc changer build is shaped to sit atop a computer case. The system is built in two parts. There is a transport arm which moves left and right along the rack of CDs. It uses that black and white strip as an encoder to track its movement. It can reach in, grab a disc, and take it all the way down to the right where it drops it off in a staging area. The second part of the build now takes over, grabbing the disc from the staging holder and rotating it down into the CD tray of the PC. All of this is demonstrated after the jump.

If you’re like us you prefer digital delivery for your music. We haven’t crossed that watershed with video games yet and that’s why we still love this Xbox 360 disc changer hack.


  1. RussWill says:

    Yeah, I remember the old days of CD’s and 100 disc stacks… Wow, seams like a million years ago.

  2. Matt says:

    Very nice! I suggest having the disc placer park at it’s home position while the disc tray is closing, that way you wouldn’t need to wait for it to return home before it picks it back up again. Otherwise, it’s fun to watch.

  3. kay says: I had to do a similar thing for a class… not pure lego though!

  4. vonskippy says:

    I don’t get it. In every way, a MP3 player with all of those CD’s ripped and stored is so so so so so so so so much better. So why go to all the trouble building a CD changer when you could have spent a fraction of that time ripping the CD’s and then building a custom MP3 player. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

    • ChalkBored says:

      If only he had a way to automatically feed them into his computer so he could rip them to MP3s.

    • my2c says:

      What fun would that be to build, or watch?

    • Ralph says:

      Hi, as my2c says, manually putting CDs (and DVDs, BluRays) into the PC is unexciting and the opposite of the Hackaday ethos. This thing is great for parties too where geeks and non-geeks alike can be united in their intrigue.

    • AnarKIT says:

      The destination isn’t the point, its the journey that you experience. It’s visually interesting, the maker probably learned a lot in building and programming it, and it serves to keep their skills honed and constantly developed.

      Not all projects need be practical to be of benefit to the person who built them.

    • garym53 says:

      yaaah mp3 players have tiny little buttons only little kids can handle, and they don’t play audio in the right order unless you very carefully name them – and then the batteries run out – I have 3 of them and they just sit in my drawer – 2 of them have broken buttons.

  5. LordNothing says:

    i like how the thing is powered by the old skool rcx and not the nxt. i was looking at mine other day considering salvaging it for parts. but the thing is such a solid and sexy piece of electronics i just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    • kay says:

      You can get a RCX for $10 on bricklink – it can run some flavor of processing, and if you want a self contained micro with fault-tolerant inputs and outputs, it’s great.

      • Ralph says:

        Indeed, I recommend running the custom BrickOS firmware on the RCX. 3 inputs, 3 PWM-capable (256 levels) outputs, threading. The RCX uc runs at 16MHz and is 16 bit with 64k of memory which should be enough for anyone. :-)

  6. Jonathan Wilson says:

    I still have an RCX. Cant figure out how to get it working properly on Windows 7 though.
    Wish I could make use of it (since a NXT is unaffordable, let alone the new one) but I cant :(

  7. “If you’re like us you prefer digital delivery for your music.”
    Err… I get what you mean (streaming, MP3), but CD is very much a digital delivery of music!
    I still have a lot of them, and like them better than MP3’s just because of the booklets, and because I like to browse through physical objects better than through a list on a screen.

    • mark g says:

      I think “digital delivery” is meant to imply that the music gets to you digitally. Not that the music is digital. You can’t really call a CD on truck digital.

  8. Ross says:

    This would be a nice addition to my Lego computer case

  9. Polymath says:

    LEGO punk!… Dammit now I have to burn all my music back to CDs so I can build one of these.

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