3D Printing Movie Props At Home

By on March 22nd, 2012 in learning, models, Software


We just finished reviewing a rather interesting Instructable detailing the steps you’d take to produce a complete, wearable Iron Man mask with your 3D printer (with some red and gold paint, of course). 
Maker samohtep takes you through the process of developing the model, printing the pieces, painting, finishing and assembly. The result is terrific, particularly the electrically lit eyes. 
We found his method of producing the 3D model for the Iron Man mask even more interesting. After all, you’d have quite a challenge doodling up such a model from scratch in your favorite 3D modeling software. How did he do it so easily? 
He kinda cheated – but in a very interesting way. He went to The Replica Prop Forum, a very interesting repository of models for all kinds of movie props, including the Iron Man mask. According to their Statement Of Purpose: 
The RPF is the core of the replica prop and costume community and is the central hub where collectors of original and replica props, costumers, modelers, sculptors, and artists intersect.
The site includes lots of discussion of movie props, of course, as well as tutorials on how to make props and costumes. But some of their tutorials include Pepakura models. This is a format designed for 2D paper prints that can be cut and folded into 3D shapes. That’s what samohtep used – a Pepakura model that he converted into a 3D model. 
Of course the 2D paper model was obviously quite thin, so he bulked up the wall thickness and smoothed the interior to protect his face. From there, it was a straightforward matter of slicing the mask into parts and 3D printing them. And painting. 
We think this could be a rich source of interesting 3D models for 3D printer owners who seek something unique and challenging to print. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!