Design of the Week: Iron Man Statue

By on October 14th, 2019 in Design

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 Detail of the head of STPL3D’s Iron Man 3D print [Source: STPL3D] Detail of the head of STPL3D’s Iron Man 3D print [Source: STPL3D]

This week’s selection is the life-size Iron Man statue by STPL3D.

STPL3D is a 3D print service bureau based in Surat on the west coast of India, providing a variety of related services including rapid prototyping, tooling, mold making, reverse engineering, end-use parts, mockups, functional testing and even low-volume production.

It seems that one of the popular applications of their services is to produce large-scale 3D printed statutes, of which this Iron Man is one. Apparently this particular item was produced for one of their clients located in Bangalore.

 STPL3D’s Iron Man 3D print [Source: STPL3D] STPL3D’s Iron Man 3D print [Source: STPL3D]

The sculpture is more-or-less life size, having dimensions of around 180 x 90 x 90 cm. It’s not clear for what purpose this statue is being used.

STPL3D explains that they developed the 3D model of the statue in-house by one of their own design engineers. The design engineer was able to create the full life size 3D model by simply using images of the famous Marvel character. That’s pretty impressive itself, let alone the production of the statue.

The production of the statue was done with standard filament-based 3D printers. Five 3D printers were put to the task of producing the eleven parts of the 3D model, which come to think of it must have been rather large.

 STPL3D’s Iron Man 3D print [Source: STPL3D] STPL3D’s Iron Man 3D print [Source: STPL3D]

The 3D printing process took 96 hours, or four full days. If we do some arithmetic, this means that the average print time per piece was approximately 43 hours. That’s a pretty long print for any 3D printer.

After 3D printing the pieces were joined together and finished by one of STPL3D’s artists.

What I find curious about this project, and the countless others that similarly produce replicas of Marvel characters (and those of other owners), is whether the owner of the intellectual property has concerns about the usage.

I’m not pointing out STPL3D’s client here, as there are many cases of this usage — just look through any public 3D model repository and you’ll soon find plenty of examples of movie character 3D models for public download. If these are 3D printed and used, especially if sold, it seems to me that the owner might object.

However, Marvel’s characters have been used in this way for so many years it may be that they simply don’t care, or perhaps view the usage as another way to promote awareness of their products.

Regardless of the usage, this 3D print is still quite impressive.


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!