The Lowell Sphere is a SNOT (Studs Not On Top) LEGO sphere design that consists of six identical curved panels built onto a cubic frame. The original sphere uses a 4x4x4 stud core with an outside diameter of 6.8 studs. The idea of the Lowell Sphere can be expanded to any core and outside diameter size imaginable.
The story of the Lowell Sphere started in 2002. I designed the hemispherical engine nacelles of a Star Wars starfighter MOC (My Own Creation) using a rough precursor of what was to become the sphere design. The next year I attended my first LEGO convention. I noticed in a large pile of play bricks that there were multiples of the different elements I had used to create the nacelle. I played around with the design and was able to create a full sphere. The reaction at the convention was overwhelmingly positive; the LEGO community had not to date really seen a SNOT sphere, especially one so detailed and small. A few months later I posted it onto my original website as a “6.8 Stud Diameter Sphere” and it was received with the same positive reaction from the online LEGO community worldwide.
In the years following I didn’t really incorporate the sphere into many MOCs, although I had a lot of ideas. In that time it had been used by builders around the world, by LEGO and in LEGOLAND parks, a program was built based off the idea (Bram Lambrecht’s Sphere Generator), and it had taken on the “Lowell Sphere” name. In 2010, I decided to revisit the sphere but not just as a sphere; I wanted to expand upon the original idea and create shaping using the 6.8 stud diameter.
To start, I extended the largest diameter of the sphere (6.8 studs) into a cylinder and added a soft curve to it by elevating “slices” of the cylinder. An example of both the cylinder and soft curve can be seen in my Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Next, I designed a T-intersection and a 90° curve, both of which are visible in my Cactus. I then used four 90° curves to make a torus (donut) shape, which naturally led itself to become a confectionery Donut! I’ve continued to build other MOCs using the original sphere as well as the shapes based off of it. Below is a sampling of my works.
Some of my MOCs based off the Lowell Sphere
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