3D Printers Let You Turn Video Games Into Reality

Whether they realize it or not, 3D printing hobbyists and gamers are two peas in a pod: both intellectually curious, creative, and proponents of sharing ideas within a larger online community. It’s no surprise, then, that printing enthusiasts have found a way to fabricate their favorite on-screen video game gear into real-life objects. In fact, the gap between the 3D model and printable object isn’t even that wide, since programmers have already done much of the design work for you.

Last year, Maker’s Muse Angus demonstrated how anyone could pull an object from a video game using Umodel, and then adapt the code into a printable design file with Milkshape 3D. From there, the model can be tweaked on Mesh Mixer and finished with the Netfabb Cloud Service. The from-scratch process is initially a lot of moving and modifying files, but once those steps are complete, any home-scale device should enable you to 3D print an in-game object. Literally anything from a game can now be replicated in real life.

Kirby Downey, a South African-born 3D designer, has brought this screen-to-life translation to a whole new level. As a fan of the massively popular multiplayer game, World of Warcraft, he decided to create a grander-scale version of the franchise’s legendary sword, called the Frostmourne.. Spanning more than four feet in length, the Frostmourne is the Lich King’s sword, which grants him unimaginable power like Excalibur of the King Arthur stories. To craft such an intricate design, Kirby and his friend Elliot Viles worked together using Solidworks and zBrush, two different software applications.

Due to its tremendous size, this sword had to be printed in multiple pieces, so Kirby and Elliot decided to break it down into jointed sections that could be combined without glue (also known as a dove tail system). When the sword was assembled, Kirby and Elliot enlisted the help from Catherine Woods to give the sword a professional paint job that made it look like brushed metal. Even a multi-faceted project like this can be made at home with relative ease!

As 3D printing materials become more affordable and the technology gets faster, what’s to stop a hobbyist from recreating an entire video game world in physical form? If you were able to 3D print yourself a sword, shield, helmet, or other game accessory in a few hours, what would you make? What if you could pull elements from your dreams and make them real with 3D printing? The possibilities with 3D printing are endless, and the borders between imagination and reality are blurring more and more each day. That’s the reality we live in.

World of 3D printing infographic
Presented By Cubify

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