Oct 2, 2016 | By Tess

There is no denying that 3D printing technologies and the proliferation of desktop 3D printers have been a boon to the cosplaying community. 3D technologies have allowed people to really take their costumes and role-playing accessories to a whole new level, making detailed, original, and very authentic looking pieces, such as Mellisa Ng’s stunning 3D printed women’s armor, and this crazy impressive 3D printed Embers of War cosplay, which took 1700 hours to print. Of course, having 1700 hours to print is not a requisite, as a number of equally cool but smaller scale projects can be made right in the comfort of your home. One such project is this awesome 3D Printed Glowing Mace Prop, designed by the Ruiz Brothers.

By combining 3D printing and some simple electronics, the Ruiz Brothers have wowed us yet again with their 3D printed mace (also known as a morning star). Fortunately for all of us, they have posted a tutorial for the project on their prolific Adafruit page. If you’re interested in making your very own glowing cosplay mace, not unlike the one DC Comics’ Hawkgirl wields, you’ll first need a few supplies including:

  • A 3D printer
  • Transparent PLA filament
  • Wood and Steel composite PLA filaments
  • Adafruit Trinket
  • 2200mAh batter
  • NeoPixel Jewel

(a full list of tools and electronic parts can be found here)

In total, the 3D printed glowing mace prop is made up of 28 individual 3D printed parts, such as the icosahedron shell (which prints in parts), the spikes, the rod, the handle, etc. For the full effect of the mace, the Ruiz Brother suggest printing the parts in a variety of materials, such as printing the handle out of a wooden PLA and printing the spikes and frame out of a steel PLA, which can be sanded down for an authentic (but still safe) effect. Importantly, if you are incorporating the NeoPixel Jewel, you’ll have to print the parts for the icosahedron shell out of a translucent PLA so that the colorful LEDs can glow through it.

The makers behind the project do offer a few tips for the 3D printing process, including making sure to reorient all the parts before printing so that they print flat on the bed. No supports should be necessary, but they do recommend adding some brims to certain parts, such as the rod, for better bed adhesion. Once printed, most of the parts can simply be screwed together, while some will need to be glued.

For a simplified version of the electronic assembly, you’ll need to attach the NeoPixel Jewel to a repurposed USB cable and secure it to its 3D printed holder. The cable can then be threaded through the mace’s rod, and the NeoPixel holder can be screwed into place at the top of the rod.   Subsequently, you’ll be able to solder the NeoPixel wires to the properly coded Adafruit Trinket, and attach the Trinket to the on/off button which will be secured in the mace’s pomel. Once these three parts are connected, check the circuits to make sure everything works and then you can finish assembling the 3D printed parts of the mace.

To recharge the battery for the light, you’ll simply have to unscrew the bottom of the handle to access the Adafruit Trinket, so it can be connected to either an Adafruit Micro Charger or Adafruit Micro Charger Jack.

According to the Ruiz Brothers, the project is meant not only to be replicated by interested makers, but to inspire them to remix the design and even make their own inspired 3D printed cosplay accessories. Additionally, as each of the parts was 3D modeled using Fusion 360 (a parametric modeling software), it should be easy for makers to customize or adjust the mace as they desire.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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