Twice a year in Minneapolis, Minnesota the Games Done Quick gaming marathon brings together gamers of all kinds to play through their favorite video games at incredible speeds. All of the events are streamed live online continuously, and the event collects funds for charity. People often donate artwork, prizes and other goods, and donors can bid on events and specific gamers throughout the event, with all of the funds going directly to the chosen charity. This year’s summer event is benefiting Doctors Without Borders, and is running from July 3rd until July 10th. Players will be speed playing through dozens of classic and modern video games including among them Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Fallout 3, Bioshock, Castlevania and Tetris.
Artist and 3D designer Mike Copley has been watching and supporting the Games Done Quick events for three years, happily purchasing the original partner t-shirt designs created exclusively for the event. But this year he found himself in a position that he could offer more than some donations and a t-shirt purchase. He originally wanted to travel to the event and volunteer, but since he wasn’t quite able to make that happen he decided to make a donation prize in the form of a 3D printed sculptural version of a popular Super Mario Bros t-shirt design from the last Winter event.
“That particular design, ‘Our Weird Maker‘ by Drew Wise, was my favorite t-shirt design from the last charity event in January (AGDQ). At some point I thought ‘Hey, it’s just sprites, I could make a 3D version of that’ and that’s really it. Just ‘Yeah I could make that’. For the most part it’s pretty easy since the blocks have the same dimensions, with some exceptions. There’s just a lot of blocks to place for the full model. It’s around 300 individual blocks,” Copley told me.
Copley designed his version of the ‘Our Weird Maker’ design in Autodesk Inventor, which he uses for all of his 3D designs. His original idea was to design each individual block to be printed separately and then assembled into a large piece, but that idea was quickly scrapped due to the time involved. Instead he broke up the design into several different groups of blocks that would be 3D printed all at the same time. Not only would this save him time printing, but it would save him time assembling the final model. All of the blocks were 3D printed in standard PLA filament on his Printrbot Metal Plus.
The process of designing, printing, assembling and finishing the wall sculpture took Copley about two months to complete. The CAD work alone took him about a month or so, while the 3D printing ended up taking him another two weeks. Each of the block groups took 7 to 10 hours to 3D print, and then it took a few days to mount and assemble the blocks. He then created a silicon mold of the assembled sculpture because he wanted to send a copy to the original t-shirt art designer and using a mold was easier than 3D printing an entire second piece. Once he had created the duplicate using his mold the finishing and painting took him an additional week. All of Copley’s work on the project was done on the evenings and weekends when he wasn’t working at his day job.
The 2016 Summer Games Done Quick event is still going on for the rest of this week, so it isn’t too late to catch the live streams of events (see below) or check out the event live at the Hilton Minneapolis Downtown Hotel. The entire event runs through July 10th and prizes are awarded after each event segment completes. The Super Mario artwork is due to be awarded after the Super Mario Maker segment on July 8th. You can read more about the Games Done Quick events here. And you can see how Copley printed, assembled and painted his Mario Bros artwork over on Imgur or on his blog here. Discuss this unusual artwork further over in the 3D Printed Super Mario Bros. forum at 3DPB.com.
Here is the Twitch livestream of the event: