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Little Tux


At the 1000steine-Land 2004 J├╝rgen (legosternchen) and Manuela asked me to build a small version of the Big Tux. I worked five month on this idea. Since the Little Tux was to be very similar to his big brother (apart from the size), I used a 3D file again as a basis.

Since I wanted to create a sellable building instruction of this sculpture, I gathered the friendly permissions of Linus Torvalds (15.09.2005) and Larry Ewing (29.09.2005 ) to use the brand logo (Tux). Contrary to the popular belief, Tux and his descandants are not licensed under the GPL (GNU General Public License). The rights to use this logo belong alone to Larry Ewing, which was instructed by Linus Tovalds of Linux to create this logo.

Planning Stage

After a short while, I found a friendly architect through an Internet forum. He created cross-sections of the 3D model with the help of the software products Architectural Desktop (ADT) and Acad-Bau. He made a cross-section for each brick layer of Tux. Afterwards, a square grid was drawn over these pictures. With the help of this grid, I was able find the best angular approximation for the outer line (red lines in the photo). Since it is very helpful to see the outer line of the underlying brick level in each step, I have tried to copy it from the previous drawing (green line in the photo). Because normal paper with a weight of 80 g/m2 is too thick to show sketches on underlying paper, I built a small light table first. You can see this light table and how to build your own light table here: Tutorials: Light Table

Building Stage

Based on the drawing, I estimated the number of required bricks and purchased them in the USA. Since the package was sent by surface mail, I had to take a six-week break. As soon as the bricks arrived, continued with my work.

Computer based renderings are very helpful, but they do not show the color of the bricks. Additionally, they show unpleasant step-effects and other blunders. To avoid these, I often had to dismantle brick levels and rebuild them.

Exhibition Pictures

Building Instruction

I have often been asked for building instructions of my sculptures. To gather more information about this, I bought the book Virtual Lego and tested the relevant software tools. After a few test models I build the Tux as a digital version in MLCad. For that purpose, I built the Tux of Lego bricks for a second time and I transferred each brick layer to MLCad while building it. More information about creating building instructions and how to create own can be found here: Building Instruction: Little Tux and Tutorials: Building Instructions

CAD and Rendering

The building instruction was to have a rendered frontpage. I also wanted to create a large poster of the Tux. With the help of the software products L3PAO and L3P, I converted my MLCad file in a POVRay file. Since despite my previous computer graphics knowledge POVRay was a totally uncharted territory for me, I was glad to find a POVRay expert in one of my fellow students. After a few remedial courses, many tutorials and many more test runs, I could render the Tux in a very high quality. For this rendering, I had to borrow a special computer (P4, 1800Mhz, 500MB RAM), since due to the use of radiosity, the rendering took 6 days and 3 hours. Because the picture file is 561 MB big, only a small detail picture of the right foot of the penguin is shown here. Surprisingly, you cannot read "Lego" on the studs but "LDraw".

Tux built by other Lego fans

For me, it is the utmost praise, if other Lego fans send in photos showing them with their models built with the help of my building instruction. A few fans created excellent and imaginative variations! Thank you very much.

The Negative Tux

Oliver Graubohm had a very special idea. He built a version of the Tux in complementary colors. If a photo of this Tux is transferred to the negative pattern, it appears in the original colors.

The Xmas Tux

At the end of 2006, many people around me beautified their houses or apartments with Christmas decorations. In the back of my mind was an idea which had already taken shape the year before: A Christmas Tux, or more precisely, a Christmas hat for the Tux.

I designed a building instruction for this christmas hat, too. Every buyer of the normal building instruction gets it as a free digital version.

Last modified on 2009/11/29 - Copyright 2000-2021 - Tobias Reichling

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