Mar 17, 2016 | By Kira
A few weeks ago, 3D printing marketplace Gambody released the design files for a 1:34 scale 3D printable Millennium Falcon, one of the most detailed, intricate, and large-scale Star Wars 3D prints we’ve ever seen. Merely 3D printing and assembling this 717 x 1000 x 244 m behemoth requires at least 3 filament spools and 3-4 months of intensive work, however for the 3D designers who came up with it, an additional 800 hours were required to research, sketch, and create the impeccable 3D models.
Recognizing that this is no ordinary feat, Gambody recently sat down with in-house 3D designers Sergiu Malic and Alex Vorojbit to discuss their inspiration, 3D design process, and how their commitment both to the Star Wars franchise and to its fans motivated them to stop at nothing to create the most epic 3D printed Millennium Falcon ever.
Gambody is a relatively new 3D printing marketplace created by gamers, for gamers. It therefore comes as no surprise that Malic and Vorojbit are adamant video game players, and have spent countless hours playing the Star Wars video game in particular. At the same time, both are passionate about 3D printing’s ability to transform our every day lives into something extraordinary. These combined passions sparked the idea of 3D printing the Millennium Falcon:
“We’ve seen all the [Star Wars] movies and played the video games a billion times,” explained Malic. “The Millennium Falcon spaceship is probably the whole grail of every 3D designer. It was a challenging project we accepted with the open heart and anticipation because of the model’s complexity. It is an epic spaceship, with fascinating exterior and interior design.”
The very first steps in the 3D model creation were to capture the Falcon from as many angles as possible. For the exterior, Malic and Vorojbit relied on screenshots from the video game, while the interior was modeled on screenshots from the film. They then turned to the Internet, compiling Star Wars Wiki sketches and engineering projects until they had a complete understanding of the iconic ship’s layout.
Cross-section of the Millennium Falcon via Star Wars Wikia
Gambody's 3D model replica
At this point, it became obvious that the only way to do justice to the majestic Millennium was to go big or go home. “While sketching it, we understood that this 3D model would have to be a large scale one,” explained Malic. “That was when we decided to incorporate interior (secret compartments, cockpit access tube and cockpit itself, lounge seat and etc.) and exterior (guns, landing gear, functional boarding ramp) elements, as the project’s size allowed us to design even the tiniest of details.”
“I mean, 1m+ scale Millennium Falcon, available for 3D printing, with a highly detailed interior layout and upgraded version of the exterior hulls – what more could a true Star Wars fan want?” added Vorojbit.
Throughout the 3D modeling process, which took place across several professional software programs including Autodesk MAYA, 3DS Max, ZBrush, Cinema 4D and Keyshot, Malic and Vorojbit had two key objectives to fulfill: to stay as true as possible to the hugely popular and admired Star Wars icon; and to ensure that the STL files would be fully optimized for desktop 3D printing.
“We couldn’t afford to disappoint the Star Wars fans, so we spent a lot of time modeling and remodeling until everything fit perfectly,” said Malic.
“I must say that the hardest job was to design the top and bottom hulls of the model,” added Vorojbit. “We needed to take all printing factors into account, to make the model filament-friendly [i.e. enabling users to save on filament]. Another difficulty we faced was to make the ship’s hulls resistance, to hold the weight of all interior and exterior elements to be assembled.”
In the end, Malic and Vorojbit successfully accomplished both goals. The 3D printable, filament-friendly parts were designed to fit onto a relatively small 18 x 19 cm heated 3D printer bed, meaning a standard desktop 3D printer will do just fine. Of course, by reducing the size of the parts, it was necessary to increase their number, which amounted to 236 parts in total. “That’s one hell of a puzzle,” admits Malic. However, they did try to make the assembly procedure as effortless, easy, and fun as possible. Each part is clearly numbered, and they’ve created a step-by-step video showing how it is assembled.
The files were also designed so they could be sent straight to the 3D printer in the exact position they were zipped, with zero re-scaling required (in fact, the designers strongly recommend against it, since each part was meticulously measured relative to every other.) “I can guarantee that the assembled structure is strong enough to hold all interior and exterior parts,” said Malic. “There is no reason for the user to worry that this Millennium Falcon model will collapse.”
This one-of-a-kind 3D printable Star Wars Millennium Falcon is currently available to purchase from Gambody. Because of the extreme level of detail, and in order to give users options in terms of just how much 3D printing they want to do, Gambody has separated the entire Falcon into several individual kits. The base exterior shell is available for $74.99 and stands on its own as an ornament or PC body frame. For those wanting the full Millennium 3D printing experience, however, there are four additional kits for the exterior and four for the interior, costing $34.99 each.
As for Malic and Vorojbit, the countless hours poured into this project proved to be entirely worth it—so much so, that they are already planning their next 3D printable Star Wars-inspired vehicle or droid. “2.5 months of coming to work and going home with one though in my head: designing a model that will exceed all expectations,” said Vorojbit. “We hope our work will be appreciated. In fact, we have already received a bunch of messages and positive feedback from 3D printing enthusiasts and Star Wars fans, which proves that our efforts are valued.”
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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David Sloan wrote at 3/18/2016 12:42:12 AM:
If you go to this length and use so much plastuc, you might at least try to get it accurate. The panels on the aft sections aren't recessed, the 6 vents on the top aft section are just all wrong, the hull plates don't extrude over the edge, and many more areas are wrong.