Feb. 17, 2015 | By Alec

As 3D printing technology has proven to be perfect for creating unique toys, it shouldn’t be so surprising that cosplayers are also increasingly adopting it for their own hobby. Just take a look at this entirely 3D printed Batman suit. And now Adafruit, known for their inventive 3D printed creations full of electronic wizardry, are also going down that road by 3D printing a full-sized GunBlade.

Of course, Adafruit typically produce cosplay-esque creations that would be perfect for wearing to a convention; remember their 3D printed dystopian gasmask? But while most of their creations are as daunting to make as they are cool, especially due to all those LEDs, batteries and wiring, I can understand that not many people actually recreate those items. But for those of you who’ve been wanting to try and recreate an Adafruit creation for a while now, then maybe this latest project is more accessible; it’s just about 3D design, 3D printing and assembly, but not less cool because of it.

Of course, the GunBlade is the iconic weapon from the Final Fantasy 8 game (1999), a strange but awesome fusion of a revolver and a blade. Wielded by the character Squall Leonhart, it's the first item you need should you want to do a cosplay of her. Don’t you dare show up without it!

Adafruit have thrown together a series of handy designs to make a lightweight but full-sized version of the GunBlade, that is also relatively easy to complete. Aside from typical software and an FDM 3D printer, all you need is some basic 3D printing tools, a 3D printer and a length of chain.

Fortunately, most of the work has already been done for you; simply download the 3D printable files from Adafruit’s website here. However, the Ruiz Brothers who masterminded the GunBlade do recommend designing your own custom handle, as you have to walk around with it all day. They used Maya to do so, and if you happen to have that yourself, simply follow their extensive design tutorial.

The handle.

When it comes to actual 3D printing, the brothers have chosen to 3D print the grips in Ninjaflex filament to make it nice and flexible, but I suppose that’s a matter of taste. The rest of the GunBlade has been done in PLA, so you could opt for a less comfortable grip and just use that. 3D printing itself can best be done using an 8% Infill and a 0.2 Layer Height, and as  this is a huge object, it could take as long as three whole days to 3D print everything.

There are just three things to look out for when printing: firstly, you’ll need to split the design into three or even four parts, depending on the size of your printer bed. Keep an eye on Adafruit’s method for doing so, but it ultimately depends on your own 3D printer. Secondly, these parts need to be printed with supports; the Ruiz brother advise supports at a 60˚ with a resolution of 4mm.

And finally, 3D printing the tip of the blade can be problematic. "When printing small pointy objects, heat from the hot nozzle spreads throughout the object. This doesn’t allow layers to cool and the model ends up looking melted," they explain. To remedy this, try 3D printing the blade part twice on opposite sides of the bed. "This will give the layers enough time to cool by moving the nozzle away from the spot and giving it plenty of time to cool." Of course, you can just 3D print something else at the same time; the whole point is to give the blade section enough time to cool.

After that, it’s a simple matter of post-printing cleaning and assembly, making this a very fun and easy project to do. Have fun with it!



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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anon wrote at 2/22/2015 12:20:44 PM:

Squall is a guy tho.

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