Dec 17, 2014 | By Alec

Every gamer will confirm that current video games are absolute gold mines where 3D printing inspiration is concerned. This could have something to do with the level of graphic design that has been reached in recent years, though I wouldn't not be at all surprised if the simple truth is that 3D printing enthusiasts are just avid gamers too. Whatever the reason, it's hardly surprising that we've already seen a number of 3D printed fan tributes recently. Remember this cool tutorial for extracting 3D models from your favourite games?

But South-African born 3D designer Kirby Downey has taken things to an entirely different level with his giant 3D printed replica of the Frostmourne blade from the Warcraft franchise. For the uninitiated, Frostmourne was the runeblade of the Lich King Ner'zhul. Corrupting Arthas Menethil, the prince discovers the giant blade on the continent of Northrend, and uses its power to become the next Lich King himself.

This giant 3D printed tribute to the Warcraft franchise is a massive 1.3 meters tall, and weighs in at a very respectable 600 grams. Kirby developed the actual body of the sword, along with its many joins (its a multi-piece creation), while his friend Elliot Viles was responsible for the very impressive skull feature on the handle of the blade. During the design process, Kirby largely relied on Solidworks, while Elliot used zBrush software. While two types of software might seem a little irresponsible, Kirby combined the two designs using Mesh Mixer, and as the results suggest that did little to diminish the quality of the final print.

But most importantly, you can actually recreate this very cool creation at home, on just about any FDM printer! Simply head over to Kirby's profile page on My Mini Factory here, and download the necessary files for free. Now, before you start complaining about the small size of your print bed (the ram's head on the hilt alone is 217mm x 206mm x 120mm in size), the sword actually consists of multiple pieces that have been individually assembled. The blade in the photos was printed on a regular Ultimaker 2 3D printer, with a layer thickness of 0.2 mm, a 10% infill and obviously support structures.

As Kirby added, the design process for this sword was quite complicated; 'the challenge for this sword was to create a sword that is assembled glue free as well as mixing both solid body modeling from Solidworks and organic modeling in Zbrush.' They finally settled on a joint system that hold the model together without the need for a single drop of glue: a dove tail system with a small clip. The handle, instead, has been assembled with a male to female slot mechanism. While some of the parts didn't fit in easily, they soon complied after some attention from the rubber mallet.

After printing, the giant blade was underwent a whole post-printing process led by Catherine Woods, a member of's talented post processing team, who completed its awe-inspiring appearance. Obviously you might need to resort to spray-painting the sword yourself if you choose to recreate it.

It's thus a relatively straight-forward and very fun 3D printing project. While it will doubtlessly consume rolls upon rolls of filament, it's bound to be a cheaper alternative to a metal recreation of the Frostmourne blade. And at least this one can be taken along to cons!

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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