With 3D Printing, We Can Make Our Own Action Figures

Those official action figures... And hell, even those unofficial ones, always cost more than they should. But we're entering a brand new day — one in which we can make our own action figures. Kotaku AU fan Siegey was left to look after his work's 3D printer, and... Well. He made a Mario.

I can't wait to get my hands on one of these. No matter how hard I search for merch for some games, I can't seem to find it. My money is begging to be spent. But someday not too far off, I'll be able to make my own.

Here are a couple of shots, though you can find more, along with some captions on the crafting process, here.

I hope we're not getting him into trouble - thanks, Siegey!


    This is both cool and crappy at the same time. Cool because the potential is amazing, crappy because the quality really doesn't look that great.
    Are we going to have to spend thousands of dollars on buying a really good 3D printer that won't look so bad close up?

      Look at it this way. At the moment we're at the 'Dot Matrix' point of printing 3D figures. In 10 years, or shorter, we'll be at the Laserjet level of doing it in the home office. It's impressive we can even do this at all realistically.

        Actually the printers are good enough already. Im currently working on models in zbrush for some action figures. This link isn't my work but it will show you what can be done. http://www.zbrushcentral.com/showthread.php?173664-From-a-ZBrush-model-to-a-wood-sculpture&p=987009&viewfull=1#post987009

          Awesome. In all honesty I was expecting something like this but the original pictures surprised me at how bad they looked.

          Well, no, that's milling. Starting with a solid and carving it out. 3d printing is an additive process.

            Actually if you check the whole thing, the 3d print is shown after the sculpts, then it is milled in a big order.

              I know because i have done this exact same thing for freelance work. Here is perhaps a better example, http://www.shapeways.com/model/789866/cowgirl.html?li=productBox-search

              Last edited 25/01/13 4:55 pm

    I suddenly want a 3D printer. Anyone willing to loan me some money?

    A while back i was reading a story about a guy who have made some figures similar to 40k Warhammer using 3d printing, then placed the plans for printing the models online. He received a notice to remove the plan by Games Workshop.
    The reason I bring this up is that within Games Workshop they have always supported you in creating custom models. I.e. the model doesn't exist or your making them more flamboyant then the original model they created. So it seems that this is acceptable as long as your not doing it in a way that can be mass produced?

    Additionally: RoBo 3D Printer

    Last edited 25/01/13 10:51 am

      The thing is GW is pretty big on protecting its IP too. In some people's opinions they are extreme enough that it's detrimental to the fan base. Anyway while they're supportive in people creating their own custom models that's more in a sense of people still buying their stuff then modifying it with various parts. If I'm remembering correctly the 3D models that were put online were designed to look the same, or very similar, to actual GW models, so they had a big problem with that cause they want you to spend your moola on their products, not on plastic for your 3D printer.

      RoBo 3D does look awesome!

    The real problem at this point is that the bulk of the consumer-level printers use fused deposition systems, which is where you melt strands of thin ABS plastic and build the model up in layers. The resolution is getting much better with newer ones now but you still get everything in 0.5mm or so layers and that's what results in that bumpy appearance. Additionally most of them cannot do any overhangs or complicated parts, because the hot plastic needs to cool before it becomes rigid again, so any overhanging parts will sag. There's work toward making support materials but nothing that works really well yet as far as I know. So the net result is that you basically have to break your model down into parts and then assemble them.

    Commercial-level 3D printers for rapid prototyping etc cost an order of magnitude more and are much larger because they use a different approach, which involves shooting lasers into a bed of plastic powder. Very smooth prints but they have a kind of smoky appearance.

    Either way, you're going to probably end up with a single-color model and still need to be able to paint it to look decent. Still, 3D printer stuff is pretty awesome and I'd love to own one for playing around with.


    needed to sand it down a bit before painting it, if thats even possible. still... the printers done most of the work.

      Yeah needed a thick coat of primer with some fine sandpaper. Would have looked really nice

        Yup, person was just lazy in finishing it off.

    You had access to a 3D printer... And you made... a ... Mario???!!?? Some people I just want to smother the life out of.

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