Oct 3, 2015 | By Benedict

A game-loving maker named ‘Yueshi’ has developed a method for 3D printing scale replicas of ships from the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Eve Online. The game, developed and published by CCP Games, is set in an alternative science fiction universe. Characters pilot customizable ships through a galaxy of 7,800 star systems, most of which are connected other star systems by stargates. Eve Online is one of a few games displayed in a permanent collection of video games in the Museum of Modern Art, having been added to the collection in June 2013.

Yueshi’s clever method of 3D printing the scale models involves three main steps. The first involves extracting data for the model from the game itself, the second consists of the preparation and 3D printing of the model, and the third and final step involves painting the 3D printed model and assembling its stand. According to Yueshi, his finished 3D-printed model is just as realistic as the official scaled model included in the collector's edition of the game. More importantly, you can make it at home!

Step 1: extracting the model from the game

To extract the ship model from Eve Online, Yueshi recommends using the TriExporter program to locate the model file from the game. To do this, set the folder to Program/CCP/EVE/res then open res subfolder. After selecting the desired ship, pick the high detail files. Export them to an obj file, to be used in Meshmixer in Step 2. If these files cannot be accessed, many ships can be downloaded from Thingiverse.

Step 2: preparing and 3D printing the 3D model

The first stage of 3D preparation requires importing the model into Meshmixer. Once imported, adjust the model’s orientation and use the edit function to make the model solid. Ensure that the resolution of the model is at its highest so that all details are preserved. Save the project as an STL file, then send it to the 3D printer to print. Yueshi used ABS for its durability, not wanting the models to crack or chip. After printing, clean the models with alcohol so they are ready to be painted. The files for Yueshi’s frigate and battleship are available to download.

Step 3: painting the printed model

Images from Instructables

Once the model has dried, apply Krylon metal shimmer spray. To effectively mimic the patina of aged metal, use an old paint brush, permanent marker and kitchen towel. Yueshi uses yellow ochre and burnt sienna watercolours, and carbon black, silver, and iridescent grey fluid acrylics.

First, apply a watery layer of yellow ochre and burnt sienna all over the model. After a few minutes, use a paper towel to dab if off. Apply a minuscule amount of black and grey acrylic paint with the tip of the old brush, focusing on the nooks and crannies. Apply another coating of yellow ochre and brunt sienna with the tip of brush, using less water this time, applying unevenly for a natural weathered look. Use a marker with 0.1 tip to paint the edges of the ship, adding depth to the model and imitating panels and doors. Use a toothpick with silver paint and apply roughly to the outward-facing edges.

An optional fourth step is the addition of a base. Yueshi’s STL file for the base can be found here. Once complete, you’ll have yourself an Eve Online scale model ship, and the satisfaction of having made it yourself (with Yueshi’s help)! The Instructables page for the project can be found here.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications





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