Nov.16, 2014 | By Alec

Desktop 3D printers are inspiring and multifunctional machines bursting with creative potential, and it's hardly surprising that more and more people are purchasing their personal 3D printer. While most users use their respective desktop 3D printers for fun little printing projects, some of us take things to an entirely different level. People like the England-based James Bruton.

For James is a bigger 3D printing expert and enthusiast than most of us, producing dozens of self-designed parts and constructing whole 3D printed cosplay suits. As he explained in one video, 'Some people produce music, comics or art. I produce videos about applied technical creativity, mostly building sci-fi props and cosplays using techniques such as 3D printing and electronics, as well as traditional techniques such as sculpting, molding and casting.'

As can be seen above, his latest project focuses on 3D printing an entire, highly-detailed, gorgeous and intimidating Xenomorph (the alien from the synonymous movie franchise 'Alien') cosplay suit. While James hasn't revealed why he chose this particular project, the Alien concept itself does lend it particularly well for 3D printing. After all, the appearance of the original creature was intended to reflect a biomechanical life form.

As can be imagined, it features hundreds of individually designed and 3D printed parts, consuming hundreds of hours of time and kilos and kilos of filament. Aside from a 3D printer, it's obvious that James is a keen designer as well. Altogether, this Xenomorph suit (with extendible tongue) is starting to look like one of the most impressive and extensive Desktop 3D printing projects we've come across.

In the latest YouTube clip detailing his impressive and inspiring activities (below), James explains the intricacies involved in making such a complex construction wearable over his head. Involving quite a lot of weight, dozens of components and various rigid and flexible portions, this isn't easy. Even if you're not trying to reconstruct an Alien suit for yourself, its an educational clip for anyone working with multiple components.


James Bruton and the his latest update on the Xenomorph suit.

As he explained on his website, James's Xenomorph Alien cosplay suit has been almost entirely 3D printed. And no, he hasn't got a whole factory full of 3D printers to do so, instead relying only on a single Lulzbot TAZ 3D printer.

James's particular model does feature one special perk; a dual extruder, featuring both Greg's Wade Extruder, also has Lulzbot's Flexystruder.

While this might sound unimportant, it is actually the key to James's awesome productions. For it allows him to produce multi-material 3D prints in two different filaments: ABS and NinjaFlex. While the first is particularly suitable for solid pieces, a whole suit will unavoidably feature flexible pieces as well.


Hybrid prints of ABS encapsulated in Ninjaflex.

And with this particular setup, the two filaments can even be printed simultaneously, which is particularly suitable for parts that feature solid and more flexible areas. To do so, James simply modelled everything in Autodesk 123D – as he does for all of his parts – before exporting his creations as STL files to Slic3r. That useful piece of software has a handy function called 'combine multi-material STL', capable of generating G-Code for dual extruder setups.

But this useful dual-filament approach does little to diminish the size and scope of this gargantuan project. Just imagine the dozens and dozens of individual parts necessary to construct a full suit. The mechanism of the extendible, biting tongue is a whole project alone. All this makes us very curious to see this beautiful and yet intimidating 3D printed suit once it is completed. Even if it will probably give us nightmares.

While this particular project is way out of our 3D printing league, and likely out of those of many of the readers as well, it's just another project for James Bruton. For those of you who've never heard of him, James has been running a 3D printing website called xrobots.co.uk, where he details intricate science fiction and cosplaying creations.

Previous projects have included various Iron Man suits and other robotic tributes to pillars of science fiction like Star Wars and Dr. Who. These have spawned more than a hundred and thirty detailed YouTube clips, so anyone looking for a bit of 3D printing inspiration should definitely check these out as well.

Do you like what you're seeing, and think you could try to reproduce James's inspiring projects? Well you can, as numerous of his home-made STL files have been made available on his website for a small fee.

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

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