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dirks LEGO globe
Here I will introduce you to my LEGO project. A long time ago I came up with the idea to set up a globe in my apartment. To have a little earth in the living room is a beautiful sight. To build the whole thing from LEGO appeared to me as a challenge and made it even more interesting for me!
About this creation
You can also read this article on my blog in english english or german german!


Here the result in images:


dirks LEGO globe – 01


dirks LEGO globe – 02
america


dirks LEGO globe – 03
africa and europe


dirks LEGO globe – 04
asia and australia


dirks LEGO globe – 05
the big blue


dirks LEGO globe – gif

the LEGO globe gif


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 01 north america
look at the five great lakes and these nice rocky mountains;)


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 02 south america


a closeup of south america. and yes, I wanted to have the galapagos islands to be on my globe;)


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 03 africa
here is a closer view of africa


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 04 europe
europe - I live on that little dark green brick next to that medium blue one;)


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 05 asia
it was difficult to get all of asia in one photo;)


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 06 australia
australia and those lovely islands..


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 07 himalaya
the highest mountains on earth..


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 08 japan
just 7 bricks for japan;)


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 09 southpole
and the forgotten continent..


dirks LEGO globe - deco 01
johnny thunder seems to explore something above there;)


dirks LEGO globe - deco 02
where is that banana from?


dirks LEGO globe - deco 03
dr. kilroy and pippin reed


dirks LEGO globe - deco 04
look at all the treasures they collected so far;)


dirks LEGO globe - deco 05
say hello to dr. killroy!


dirks LEGO globe - deco 06
planning the next exploration;)


Here are some facts:


  • The globe including stand consists of 3857 bricks. There are 40 white, 187 dark orange, 343 green, 367 dark green, 379 reddish brown, 788 black and 1753 medium blue ones.

  • The diameter is 48 studs or 38,4 cm. The globe is assembled from 40 layers of LEGO (38,4 cm high).

  • Overall, the globe with stand is 50 cm high.

  • It has a weight of 7,3 kg (thereof 6,2 kg for the sphere).

  • The planning took me countless evenings/nights - the building took another 4 evenings ;).

  • To get all the bricks required, I posted 23 individual orders on Bricklink. I won’t tell you about the total costs – my wife could read this ;).


And now some background information:


Before I started to build my own LEGO globe, I wanted to know, what already existed in this section. I found a lot of LEGO globe projects and interesting facts around the internet. After a little googling I found Nathan Sawaja's globe. This was already very pretty, but unfortunately not very accurate regarding the height indication colors and the demarcation of land and water. For example Middle America or the northern parts of Canada and Russia are not very exact in comparison to the land surface or the height indication of the “real” earth.. So I began to build my own globe with LEGO Digital Designer ;).


The toughest part during the planning of the globe was to depict the land areas as precisely as possible. I wanted to use only "standard" LEGO bricks, so no plates, slopes or similar bricks were used. They would have increased the accuracy just a little bit, but not significantly. Furthermore shows a model, which is only made from standard LEGO bricks, the modelmaking character of LEGO and its fascination better than one with extra bricks in my eyes.


After I took a look at the LEGO color palette, I decided to choose 4 colors for the different land contour lines (dark green, green, dark orange and reddish brown), white for permafrost areas and medium blue for water. The normal LEGO blue would have distinguished too little from the dark green of the land areas and the contrast between land and water would have been too unclear. Here is an example with normal blue for the water. Therefore the choice fell to medium blue for the water. For the stand I decided to pick a nice wood tone I also would have chosen for a real globe.


After the color choice was fixed, I had to think about setting the boundaries of land and water. After several attempts with satellite images of the earth and long deliberation I took the great open-source program marble to help me out with this purpose. I adjusted the colouring of the contour lines in marble exactly as they would appear on my digital LEGO globe to make them as comparable as possible – thanks to open source software you have all the freedom to do whatever you want to a piece of software ;).
Then I began to adapt the outside of the globe in LEGO Digital Designer brick by brick to the marble version. The whole process lasted weeks, because I only worked on it in the evenings/nights.


Here are some example photos to compare my globe with the "real" earth in the customized color version in marble:


dirks LEGO globe - compare to marble


I really wanted it to be as precise as possible!


After I had finally decided on each "pixel" of the exterior of the globe, I started to combine identically colored bricks into larger ones. The problem here was that certain bricks from LEGO Digital Designer aren’t available for sale or exist only in very small numbers on BrickLink. These are for example "dark green 2x2 corner", "medium blue 1x3, 1x6 and 2x6" or "reddish brown 2x8". I noticed that not till I started to buy LEGO on BrickLink.. ;) So I had to replan the globe once again.


At the same time I wanted to build an inner structure for stability. After several considerations I decided to build the globe at least 4 tiles wide because many other globe projects online were facing stability problems. The bricks that were not to be seen from the outside should be black. In this way the construction was easier and I spared my budget - black stones are very cheap at BrickLink ;). To increase the stability I decided to build a cross in the middle of the globe. Afterwards this came out as a very good idea – without the middle cross I could squeeze the globe more than one centimeter.


Here are some photos during construction:


dirks LEGO globe - building up 01 dirks LEGO globe - building up 02


dirks LEGO globe - building up 03 dirks LEGO globe - building up 04


dirks LEGO globe - building up 05 dirks LEGO globe - building up 06


dirks LEGO globe - building up 07
look what my wife wanted me to build right in the middle of the globe;)


dirks LEGO globe - building up 08 dirks LEGO globe - building up 09


dirks LEGO globe - building up 10 dirks LEGO globe - building up 11


The first and the last six layers made some trouble during construction. Although I planned my globe to be steady, I had to add two more layers of bigger black bricks to make it “perfectly steady”. Two new orders from Bricklink solved the issue and I ended up with eight “fully filled” layers per spherical half.


dirks LEGO globe - building up 12 dirks LEGO globe - building up 13


However, most difficult while building was the “wedding” of the spherical halves. The two halves had to get connected at the end of the construction, because I couldn’t build the globe from down to top (the upper big brickplates couldn’t lock into lower ones, because there was only the cross for support). A simple “press-together-technique” didn’t serve the purpose. It ended up with bending globe-halves and bricks falling of the globe. After some tries I found a nice solution – I built some handles to press the outer bricks together in their middle. I applied this technique carefully around the globe and ended up with a well-fitted globe. I think the picture describes it best;) :


dirks LEGO globe - building up 14


Now the only thing missing was a worthy stand, the mini-earth can rotate in. I chose a flat stand. The axial tilt of the globe should have been exactly the axial tilt of the earth and match precisely 23.4°. I achieved this with some simple LEGO technic bricks (within the ring and on the stand – connected with two pins) with the exactness of a tenth of a degree – at least in theory..
I realized very early, that I had to glue the retaining ring together with superglue to one part. Otherwise the globe would have simply fallen off the stand because of its own weight. This is the only use of glue in this project. You can find a very nice guide with tips and tricks for gluing LEGO here.
After gluing the stand I wanted to fit everything together. The only problem was that the globe fell off the ring every time I wanted to assemble it. The globe was just too heavy to remain within the stand.. The only solution would have been to glue the globe to the stand, but I didn’t want the earth to be glued too, so I finally decided to place it upright in the stand.


The globe can be rotated by two round white 4x4 LEGO turntables.


In addition, I wanted to perpetuate my name on the globe. This is why I left a signature under the stand;)


dirks LEGO globe - closeup 10 signature


At the end of my project I decided to decorate the globe with a few LEGO elements. Therefore I took 3 minifigures from the adventurers series (Dr. Kilroy, Johnny Thunder and Pippin Reed), various maps, a mini globe;) and minifigure accessories. This is to remind of the numerous explorers and cartographers who explored our earth.


dirks LEGO globe - playing 01
this globe is perfect for playing around!


dirks LEGO globe - playing 02
what does that giraffe do in northern asia?;)


I hope you enjoyed – thanks for stopping by!


I would love to hear your comments, questions, criticism or suggestions! ;)




Comments

 I made it 
  July 14, 2014
Quoting Garrett Gajewski Where can I get the instructions for the build? Whenever I click on the ldd button It brings me to the building program which I already have. Not the instructions like I want. Thanks.
The instruction is no longer available. Sorry.
 I like it 
  July 10, 2014
Where can I get the instructions for the build? Whenever I click on the ldd button It brings me to the building program which I already have. Not the instructions like I want. Thanks.
 I made it 
  March 27, 2014
Quoting Shannon Colgan I have never seen a globe done so well. My son (soon to be 11) LOVES this and would love to build it. I tried to download your instructions but unfortunately I have a Mac and it won't open in any programs. Is there any other way to do it?
Hello and thanks for the interest! On a Mac you can download the official version of Lego Digital Designer (LDD) directly from the website: http://ldd.lego.com/de-de/download It is the same software I used to create the digital model - just on a PC ;) I hope, this helps you out. Have fun while building the globe together with your son! ;)
 I like it 
  March 24, 2014
I have never seen a globe done so well. My son (soon to be 11) LOVES this and would love to build it. I tried to download your instructions but unfortunately I have a Mac and it won't open in any programs. Is there any other way to do it?
 I made it 
  February 26, 2014
Quoting Jane eagar HI there Dirk I found the pic of your LEGO globe on Pinterest. Love it! We are doing an innovation series for a magazine we publish for a banking client here in South Africa and doing a feature on LEGO in April. If we wanted to publish a hi-res pic of your globe in the magazine , would that be A) possible and B) would you be able to supply the pic in hi-res (300 dpi) suitable for printing purposes? We would of course give you full credit. thanks Jane
Hi Jane, it would be nice to see my Globe in a magazine. Unfortunately I cannot contact you via Mocpages, so it would be nice, if you can contact me on my blog via "dirks-blog.tumblr.com/kontakt" or just follow the links to my blog in the description and click on "kontakt" on the right side ;) Thanks in advance ;)
 I like it 
  February 24, 2014
HI there Dirk I found the pic of your LEGO globe on Pinterest. Love it! We are doing an innovation series for a magazine we publish for a banking client here in South Africa and doing a feature on LEGO in April. If we wanted to publish a hi-res pic of your globe in the magazine , would that be A) possible and B) would you be able to supply the pic in hi-res (300 dpi) suitable for printing purposes? We would of course give you full credit. thanks Jane
 I made it 
  February 18, 2014
Quoting Dakota Uht Great design. I have found many designs and this is by far the most stable. I have been looking to build one, do you have a parts list for this model?
Hello and thanks for the interest! Right above this comment you can find a link to download the building instructions (LDD). You can easily generate a parts list out of that with this little programm: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=41993 You can also simply generate a bricklink-wanted-list with this programm. This is, how I kept track of which parts I had to order. I hope, this helps you. If you have further questions, feel free to ask ;)
 I like it 
  February 15, 2014
Great design. I have found many designs and this is by far the most stable. I have been looking to build one, do you have a parts list for this model?
 I like it 
  November 24, 2013
great build notes here, this is so much better than those MOCs which are technically challenging and they don't give you a clue how they did it. Thanks for pulling back the veil of mystery with this one! I can really appreciate the amount of work and research that went into making this as geographically accurate as possible. Wow! This is one of those MOCs that is going to get a bookmark, and there aren't too many of those for me.
  September 19, 2013
Wow! Fantastic! Really fantastic!
 I like it 
  March 14, 2013
Freaking awesome!
 I made it 
  February 13, 2013
Quoting Frank R. A true work of art. Congratulations! Just a little note: I would add a green brick to represent Southern Italy... Yes, of course, Home sweet Home...
Thank you;) In fact I thought a while about adding a brick for southern Italy. The problem was, that it would have showed the size of Italy way too big. If I would have added another green brick, viewing Europe from different sides would have looked unnatural. Also the Mediterranean Sea would have looked strange in comparison to the real one because Italy is thinner than a brick. As for every pixel the transformation of a sphere into a pixelated brick-construct is accompanied by trade-offs.. If I would live in Italy, I maybe would have placed that green brick anyway;)
 I like it 
  February 12, 2013
A true work of art. Congratulations! Just a little note: I would add a green brick to represent Southern Italy... Yes, of course, Home sweet Home...
 I like it 
  February 9, 2013
Best LEGO globe I've seen. Very realistic and accurate! -LB Senior
dirk b
 I like it 
Emerald Knight
  February 8, 2013
That is so clever ! It must have been a Logistical mindful putting this model together, incredible ! And good luck to Dr Kilroy on his next expedition !>.....well done
 I like it 
  February 8, 2013
I agree with Paul, the fact that it is accurate in every sense, down to small islands, is amazing. Your son looks like he enjoys it too!
 I like it 
  February 8, 2013
The accuracy of this globe is what really makes it so special. Incredible work! Not only is it functional, but it's a fantastic conversation piece!
 I made it 
  February 8, 2013
Quoting Robbie Trengove Really excellent work. I'd love to be able to download the files for this.
As I said, I can make my LDD-file available. The sphere is now available for download direct via mocpages. Just look at the end of my description right above the comments! ;)
 I made it 
  February 8, 2013
thank you all for your compliments - that's music to my ears;)
 I like it 
  February 7, 2013
An amazing and beautiful project. Bravo!
dirk b
 I like it 
Robbie Trengove
  February 6, 2013
Really excellent work. I'd love to be able to download the files for this.
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Sweet! Nice job. Best I've seen. Really. :)
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Great globe!
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Nice! Must have cost you a lot of time too ;-)
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Absolutely brilliant! You obviously put a lot of time and effort (and money) into this, and it definitely shows. The color choices are excellent, and the entire design is very accurate. Congratulations on completing such a daunting project, and I hope your wife lets you live to make another creation. ;)
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Stunningly beautiful! (But... who is going to dust... hee, hee!) :)
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
I totally agree with Max about the color scheme! You've also done a mind-blowing job of shaping all the countries (especially taking into account that this is a sphere). A masterpiece, well done!
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Excellent work - and perfectly presented.
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
First Lego globe I've seen with such a glorious color scheme!
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Very nice work and very accurate! I enjoyed reading your description of how you built it! Now do the moon or even one of the planets ;-)
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Awsome!!!!
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Wow, great work. This earns a great reputation!
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
Stunning work!
 I like it 
  February 6, 2013
This is fantastic. I love the tie in to The Adventurers. You said the size, and I thought, "Well that's not too big," and then you showed it next to your kid, and well, you know, your globe could eat him! This is astounding and totally worth every brick.
 
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