Building Circles Out of Squares

A few years ago, I was obsessed with building circles. I experimented with various techniques hoping to find a “silver bullet” that works in all situations. But I’ve realized that different situation calls for different technique. So for the next few posts, I’ll talk about the different circular building techniques that I keep in my toolbox.

Pixelated Circles

The most straight forward way to build circles out of squares is to pixelate the circle. When you are building a large circle, this is quite effective. The best place to look for guide on how to do this are Minecraft sites. After browsing through some Minecraft forums, I found this site that generates pixelated circles. And here is a very useful guide that I found on Google (click on the image for original size).

pixel circle

SNOT Circles

The pixelated circles might be good on a large scale, but they are too coarse for small builds. The next logical step then is a SNOT circle. There are two semi-systematic way to do this. One is to take a square core and add jumper and plates until it looks round. See examples below.


The other is to use Bram’s generator to generate a sphere and take its cross section. Below are some examples.


Both methods involve building a rectangular core. Depends on how you want to connect this circle to the rest of your moc, it changes the way how you would build the core. If your circle is 2 studs thick and you don’t need a studless surface, then this task is trivial.

circles snot

If you want a 1-stud-thick circle with studless surface, then it gets a bit more complicated. As we talked about in the previous SNOT posts, 2 studs x 2 studs squares are fairly easy to build. There are usually more than one way to do it. See examples below.

circles snot2

However if one side has odd number of studs, then it gets really hard. For example, I don’t have a good way to build 3×3 stud square. The best that I can come up with is this. Let me know if you have a better technique.

circles snot3

Something else to keep in mind is whether the circles needs to be concentric. Concentric cores could be quite tricky too. Another concern is whether you want the circular edge to be stud, studless, or a mixture. Sometimes studs on the edge might look too protruded. It’s better to change them to tiles. All in all, there isn’t a completely systematic way to build SNOT circles. You need to figure out the puzzle depending on the situation.

SNOT Circles with Curves

We can make smoother circles by using curve slopes. The core is the same as normal SNOT cases.


Before we end this post, one very nice feature of all of the techniques above is that you can easily turn most of them into half circles or quarter circles.

Download the LDD file for all of these circles here.

Circles Snot (42.5 KiB)

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