16-Bit Penny Arcade Figurines (Gabe and Tycho)




About: You can see my personal website at sneezingturtle.com.
I'm very excited about Penny Arcade's On The Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness Three, and when I offered to make Penny Arcade some 3D prints of anything they might want, they just happened to have 16-bit modeled versions of Gabe and Tycho ready.

I'm not sure what process Penny-Arcade used to create these characters, but I do know the process I would use.  The following is how I would create something similar to what Penny Arcade has already created.

In my imagination, it's very simple to create your very own 16-bit character.
  1. Open any 3D modeling software that you're comfortable with (or find a friend with the appropriate skills)
  2. Create a cube (this might be the easiest thing to create in any modelling software).
  3. Copy and paste that cube again and again, and slowly build up your 16-bit character.
    • For this step, ensure that your cubes overlap a little bit, or when the 3D printer prints your rendered file, it'll create a whole bunch of unconnected cubes, and if you want to build a model that way, you should just buy Lego's.
    • Also, if you want to easily identify the separation between the cubes in the final rendering, we'd recommend adding a small bevel to each of the edges on your cubes (if you're copying and pasting all your cubes, like a smart person, you'll only have to do this once).
  4. Save your model in a format compatible with whatever printer or printing company you're going to send it to.
  5. Wait for model to print or be sent to you.
  6. If it's not printed in color, paint it with the appropriate colors.
  7. Revel in your 3D printed characters!

See. Super easy!

I added some text to quite a few of the images that I thought might be helpful. Enjoy!

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    12 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I, unfortunately, do not have a 3D printer or the capabilities to get one. I will totally buy a set of these from you. Just tell me how much :)

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Sadly, I'm not authorized to sell them. These belong to Penny Arcade, and they have the only copies ever printed. Sorry!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    No worries, that's understandable. Really wicked Instructable though, mate :) I'm a little envious of you having these though, LOL!

    Much faster, and easier, than copying and pasting a few hundred cubes is to select one and create a 3D array of them. Which is what I did in creating some other art inspired by these.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    How do you tell the 3D printing software to make an object hollow? I don't need a solid cylinder...just a hollow shell...

    1 reply

    The software that came with our printer actually allows you to specify the thinkness of the object being printed. You can check this instructable for more info on how to do the 3D portion of things. He's much more competent in that aspect of the work then I am.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    These look great! My brother was working with a voxel program on his ipad that would work well for this type of art. I love the 8-bit art. It is great how it captures the essence of the figures even with little detail.

    Nice work, just wondering do all 3D printers require a pressure wash afterwards or just the one that you are using. I just won a print from instructables (my first ever print) and I'm suddenly worried my complicated models might be to fragile/small to be cleaned up that way.Thanks for any help

    3 replies

    It varies by machine type. Objet machines use a gel for the support material that is pressure washed. The wash comes with the machine and is easy even on fine details. A FDM machine like a Dimension uses chemicals to dissolve the support material. It is very gentle on the parts but you need to be sure to wash off the material.