Sep 7, 2015 | By Alec

As any gamer will tell you, current video games are gold mines for 3D printing inspiration, as graphic designs have drastically grown in quality in recent years. It's hardly surprising that we've already seen a number of 3D printed fan tributes recently. And while we’ve seen a number of fascinating Fallout tributes in over the past few months, few have been as remarkable as this 3D printed replica of the iconic AER9 Laser Rife, designed by Dutch maker dragonator. Fortunately, with the help of an excellent tutorial, you can now 3D print your own.

As dragonator explains, he was looking for a challenging 3D printing project for a while now, and found that the AER9 has it all. ‘[It] is quite possibly the most recognizable object from the Fallout series. It embodies everything about the game, The "World of tomorrow today" feeling, the thought that everything is going to be possible in just a few years, a great war that applied these mentalities to weaponry,’ he says. While doubting its feasibility, he just went for it. ‘After one too many requests from people, I finally decided that I might as well do it, and here we are. A completely 3D printable version of the AER9 Laser Rifle from Fallout,’ he adds.

And its not just any rifle either, because dragonator completed the fun package with a ‘working’ reloading mechanism, a laser and some sound effects. What more could you want? Being 850 mm long and weighing about 1.5 kg, it is a fantastic and challenging project that took more than 70 hours to print and twice as much for all the assembly steps. While he invites all to recreate it, you can always leave out the reloading mechanism and the additional electric effects if you chose. Files with and without the mechanism can be found on the project’s Instructable here.

If you’re interested, you will need quite a few tools to complete this project. At least a kg of filament, an aluminium tube, 12-13mm OD, 185mm long; an aluminium strip, 2x10mm and 2x20mm, about 200mm each; plastic glue; silver (nickel), green, yellow, red and black paint; sandpaper; 2 small cross headed screws (1-2mm thread OD) for the back and lots and lots of nuts and bolts. The reloading mechanism will require a few more parts (see the full list on Instructable), while the sound and laser rely on an Arduino Uno, an Arduino Wave shield, some speakers and a 5V red laser module.

Really 3D printing is the most straightforward part, ad all necessary files can be downloaded here. All of the parts visible here were made on an UP! Plus, with one part (the body front) being completed on a Mendel V2 3D printer. All parts were 3D printed in PLA with a layer thickness of 0.3 mm. ‘To print these files you will need a printer of at least 140mm cubed (or an UP! plus) that is comfortable with support material. All parts are designed for 3D printing, which means they either need no support (45 degree overhang) or they have a 90 degree support. There are some small exceptions to this, most notably in the stock, where you will have the big round holes to support. Other than that, most parts only require relatively simple support,’ dragonator says.

One issue that might come back to haunt you is the slightly larger AER9 body front, for which dragonator used the Mendel V2 3D printer. But this can also be solved. ‘In the Z-axis, it is possible to scale it down by 1-2% to make it fit. It will not impact the shape too much. Please only scale it in the Z direction (scale the height) and not in X and Y (both sideways directions) or the "body front" will not fit the other pieces,’ he says.

The challenge really begins after 3D printing, as this is not your typical project. It starts with a pre-paint assembly of a number of selected parts, which need to be glued together. ‘I found glue for hard plastic to work best. It cures in under a minute and is fairly strong. The pieces that need to be glued together are: The front and middle body, the seesaw, the stock and the handle pieces,’ he says. Especially the stock can be bit difficult, but fortunately dragonator carefully describes all necessary steps.

Afterwards, the parts are all sandpapered with a coarse sheet, followed by a painting job. ‘When the parts were sanded, I used a filling primer to prime all the parts. Filler primer leaves a thicker layer of paint that can be sanded with 400 grit wet sand paper. With plenty of water the parts were sanded. This left a surface almost void of printing lines. Next a spray can of silver paint was used to paint all Rifle parts. I made hooks out of steel wire to hang the parts from,’ he says. ‘The remaining colors were painted with bottles and tubes of paint, with a paintbrush. The green body of the rifle is the biggest colored piece to be painted. Use more than one coat to properly cover the surface.’

But the fun really begins at the loading mechanism and the assembly, which, in dragonator’s own words, are too difficult to describe. He has therefore provided the two clips below to help you along the way:

If you’re still onboard after all of that, you can add the weathering effects and decals if you’d like. The tube on top can also be added if you’d like. ‘The tube requires a bit of creativity and depends on what is at hand. I used thick rigid coax cable to make this tube, but any rigid material should be fine. As long as the tube is between 6mm and 7mm thick (maybe 8 with some extra work), bendable and rigid,’ dragonator says. This can be followed up with the optional electronics to complete this laser rifle, but why stop once you’ve gotten this far? Check out the full details on the Instructable page.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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