Updated: May 4
The first of many 3D printed projects to go from computer to in my hands. Started back in late 2013, I finally learned enough about how to effectively fill and smooth the print to a state where I could assemble and paint it in early 2014.
While this wouldn't be the first animation model I've modified for print, it was definitely a key learning experience.. specifically about that, making keys in the models.
Modeling, Cleanup & Assembly
Due to the technological limitations leading to having the segments print vertically, as well as the height restriction of the printer, the length of the blade was segmented accordingly. While engineering this model, structural integrity was considered and a channel was booleaned down the length of the blade to allow a metal rod to run through it and rest into the handle. A two-part epoxy was used to secure the rod into place.
Most models for 3D printing do not come with textures, so working with a model that does means we can utilize those bitmaps to create detailed masks in order to sculpt and modify our surface to physically reflect the drawn texture. For the hilt of this rapier, the texture for the carving was used to boolean - or digitally carve away - the design out of the model.
Having the dust bullets designed to spin within the chamber meant considering the order of assembly, specifically when it came to paints. While the 3D printed parts received a thorough sanding, gap filling primer and more sanding, there was a mix of spray and hand painting to finish things off. Since I didn't want to spend money on an aerosol can for each bullet, I opted to use some cheap acrylic paints, and saved the better paint for the silver you see all over.
For the assembly itself, the hilt and blade are essentially two separate pieces that are sort of locked together. With how the bullets, the chamber, and the hilt "wings" sandwich together, securing the blade to its support rod uses the pressure to keep everything in one piece.
As this is a prop and not an actual weapon, during a mishandling the blade tip was broken. I have yet to repair it. A stand was also modeled and printed in order to display the prop.