Released just about a month ago now, Fallout 4 is the fifth installment of Bethesda Softworks hit series of post apocalyptic, open world adventure video games. The game takes place in the year 2287, over 200 years after World War Three turned the planet into a radioactive wasteland. The player’s character is the sole survivor of Vault 111 where they were kept in stasis for 200 years. The game follows them as they emerge from the Vault and wander through their strange new world in search of their kidnapped child. Like all of the Fallout games the world is a mix of futuristic technology mixed with a retro, ’60s vibe that gives the objects and characters in the game a unique aesthetic.
From the octopus armed, British-accented butler robot to cool weapons and gadgets to a myriad of strange mutant creatures that are roaming the wasteland looking to eat the player-character’s face off, Fallout 4 is full of all sorts of visually exciting creatures, characters and weapons. It is only natural of course that someone with a 3D printer would want to turn some of their favorite things from the game into 3D printable files that they could paint or use as cosplay props. Sadly, most video game companies don’t just let people 3D print anything that they want to 3D print from their games. So people far more clever than I am typically need to come up with some workarounds.
Here comes 3D printing and tech vlogger Angus from Maker’s Muse to the rescue. Angus recently posted two videos where he shows his viewers how to use the Bethesda Archive Extractor to pull the files for the Deathclaw directly from the game and turn it into a 3D printable, collectable statue. The BAE is similar to other websites that allow users to pull 3D files out of the game files, however unlike the Destiny STL generator, the Fallout files are not in a format that can be 3D printed. But don’t worry, Angus walks you through the process of converting the .NIF files into 3D printable .OBJ files.
Of course because they weren’t designed to be 3D printed, the resulting .OBJ files are going to need a bit of work before sending them to a printer. Angus imports them into Meshmixer where he tweaks the models as best as he can by cleaning up some of the rough spots and fixing holes. Then he sends the file over to Netfabb so the 3D file can be repaired and made manifold. In his first video, Angus walks his viewers through making the file 3D printable and splitting it up into several parts so the giant Deathclaw monster is easier to print out.
Here is the first Maker’s Muse video:
In his second video Angus shows off the Deathclaw parts that were freshly 3D printed in ABS on his UP! Mini 3D printer and how he removed the support material. After giving each of the parts a nice sanding job at the joints and to smooth out some of the striation, he welded them together using acetone. This method of joining models is essentially chemically melting the ABS together so the two parts can seamlessly be bound together. Once Angus assembled all of the parts, and after dealing with a few missteps on his part, he painted the assembled Deathclaw with XTC-3D, a special coating that reduces the striation of 3D printed objects and gives them a solid, smooth finish.
Here is part two:
While Angus had a bit of a bumpy road on the way to making his 3D printed Deathclaw, and making several mistakes that this veteran miniature painter winced at, as a proof of concept he did a great job. Not only are the models that he extracted from Fallout 4 really quite detailed, but the parts looked great when he pulled them off of his printer bed and the XTC-3D worked really well. Although again, because he admits that painting is outside of his skill set, Angus made a few process errors that anyone who has more experience with modelling and painting should be able to easily avoid and achieve much better results. I’m eager to see what his followers come up with now they he’s posted a reliable method of extracting the files. Discuss this story in the Fallout 4 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.