Jan 15, 2015 | By Simon

While 3D printing has blessed humankind with manufacturing and technological advancements ranging from open source prosthetic arms to tissue engineering and sustainable architecture to custom headphone designs, it has also produced some rather odd creations that would probably never exist if it wasn’t for the ease of producing physical objects with a 3D printer.  

Last time we heard from Jim Rodda of the hobbyist 3D printing community Zheng3, he had created an ingenious solution for converting ‘Malibu Barbie’ into a sort of ‘Game of Thrones Barbie’ by developing an open source, 3D printable medieval costume set for his young niece.  

“Barbie has had many occupations over her long and storied career. Astronaut, veterinarian, pinup, and princess more times than I can count,” Jim said.   “She has not, to my knowledge, cosplayed as Brienne of Tarth until now.”

Soon after, the hobbyist and presumed much-loved uncle launched a Faire Play Kickstarter campaign that was successfully funded in April of 2014 to the tune of $6,000.

“The field plate armor depicted in the photos and video above is a nice-enough prototype, good enough for patrolling the battlements at Stonemist Castle,” Rodda added.

“But wearing it to a meeting of the Kingsguard? To the Council of Elrond? To prom? Honestly. A fully funded Kickstarter will enable me to design and produce the next iteration of the prototype armor, a favolosa e bellissima ensemble that befits a lady of Barbie's high station.”

Thanks to the support that he received from the Faire Play campaign, Rodda is back for Kickstarter project number 2 in the form of another Barbie-inspired 3D printed toy... however this one brings the family cat in on the fun, too:  

“The success of my first 3d printing Kickstarter was a convincing argument that yes, maybe I could make a go of running a small 3D print shop. I've got plenty of ideas and I've got a 3D printer, but lack the infrastructure necessary for churning out designs at anything approaching craft-batch quantities. That's where your backing comes into the picture.”

The Faire Play 2, which is a 3D printed Barbie-compatible Roman Chariot designed to be pulled by a cat wearing a harness, was developed with help Coco the Cat:

“Coco just happened to arrive at Casa de Zheng right around the time I was looking for a project hook,” said Jim.  “A fusion of kittens, toys, and 3D printing became inevitable. Design work began immediately.”  

Starting with a cardboard mockup to get a feel for scale and feasibility, Rodda jumped straight into a proof-of-concept prototype 3D print to see if his printer would be able to print a chariot large enough to hold a Barbie.  Additionally, printing the thin parts necessary to create an axle posed a small design challenge, which were assessed at this stage.  

“A #2 pencil makes a surprisingly good axle at this scale,” said Rodda. “With that design problem addressed, the next iteration explored a more fluid shape for the chariot's basket.”

Once the basket’s overall form design was complete, Rodda finished the design by adding decorative elements using Autodesk Maya 3D modeling software, followed by a final 3D print.

If all goes well for his Faire Play 2 Kickstarter campaign and Rodda raises the $15,000 he’s requesting, he’ll be using the money to advance his 3D printing studio and develop even more wacky toy designs.

“I need your help to take my operation from "some dude in a basement" to a garage-scale production facility … If the Kickstarter's successful I'll be able to deliver new and fun 3D printed toys and tchotchkes (and their 3D-printable blueprints) to the world for the foreseeable future.”

You can purchase one of the 3D printed chariots over at Kickstarter for $75. 



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


Maybe you also like:


julia wrote at 1/18/2015 3:37:24 AM:

There are no chariots in Game of Thrones.

jc wrote at 1/16/2015 6:56:00 AM:

Great design. But don't force the cat to be yr 4 year old playmate. Leave him/her be.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive