Feb. 16, 2015 | By Simon

Less than ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been very common for a Fantasy Football fanatic (who also happens to be a mechanical engineer) to share their process of creating a Fantasy Football trophy in SolidWorks that would ultimately be 3D printed...but of course - with this being 2015 - that is exactly what mechanical engineer and self-described “statistics fan” Andrew Cross has done.  On his personal website, the Cross has outlined in-detail a step-by-step process for creating a 3D printed trophy that he created for the players in his own Fantasy Football league.  

For those outside of the United States, Fantasy Football is a statistics-based game that revolves around Professional American Football (NFL).  To play the game, a user chooses their own teams based on player statistics and depending on how those players perform, their own chosen ‘fantasy’ team scores or loses against other players in their own private league.  '

As the acting commissioner of his own Fantasy Football league, Cross took it upon himself to find trophies for the winners...however what he found online in both finished as well as 3D models on 3D file sharing sites such as Thingiverse weren’t as great as he’d imagined. Ultimately, he decided that the best route would be to create two trophies himself: one would be larger and awarded to the highest-winning League Champion while the other would be awarded to a runner-up who had accrued the most “side games” based on individual statistics.

While SolidWorks isn’t necessarily known to be a modeler for creating organic shapes, Cross was able to use some advanced tricks to duplicate a Vince Lombardi trophy for the league champion award.


According to Cross, the smaller runner-up trophy was able to print with little-fuss.  Since it didn’t feature any overhangs or need for supports, he quickly modeled it in SolidWorks and used MakerBot’s Desktop app to complete the slicing and code generation.  The final design was printed in ABS at a layer height of .2mm with 16% infill.  Although Cross admits that there could have been an improvement made to the seam line due to the gcode starting and stopping each layer at the same location, the print has a whole was completed flawlessly in roughly four hours of print time.     

On the contrary, the larger “Champions” trophy created much more of a headache.

Using the same settings as the previous trophy, Cross ran into some problems including the embossed text and build plate contact.  After ten hours, he was determined that the design would have to go through a second iteration.   

The second iteration of the Champions trophy - even with updates to the design based on the previous iteration’s flaws - also proved to be disastrous after Cross reoriented the base.

“I was lucky enough to be watching the printer when it began the first layer of the outer shell on the base,” said Cross.

“I observed the extruder speed up as it whipped back and forth trying to cover the infill. It moved so quickly that it shook the printer ever so slightly. I don’t know if it managed to hit a critical frequency or what, as I watched in horror, I saw the rafting at the trophy’s base begin to lose its adhesion. Not 15 seconds later the trophy completely shook off of the build plate. Catastrophe.”

Despite the printing failures, Cross decided to continue with his original first iteration of the design due to a pressing finishing time.

Finally, the next step was to finish the final 3D prints using sandpaper and an X-Acto knife before a finishing coat of paint.  Using a combination of Krylon ColorMaster primer, metallic silver and triple-thick crystal clear glaze, Cross sprayed the 3D prints with multiple coats before adding black felt to the bases for a finishing touch.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out,” added Cross.   

“The only thing I would have done differently is that I should have used acrylic and a brush to get some grey coloring between the base “blades” on the smaller trophy. If you look intently enough, you can still see exposed green plastic.”

While the project proved to be a learning experience for Cross, we’re more than certain that the lucky winners are proud to say that only did they win the Fantasy Football league, they were also the proud recipients of 3D printed trophies.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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