The world of Warhammer 40,000 is a pretty brutal place. It is a galaxy full of alien races, genetically programmed humans and horrors from other dimensions that have been locked in perpetual war with each other for thousands of years, with no end in sight. Warhammer 40,000 has been turned into successful video games, novels and role playing games, but despite that diversification, the bread and butter of Games Workshop will probably always be with the tabletop miniature game. Even as 3D scanners and 3D printers position themselves as a potential threat that could steal away the company’s profits, so far that hasn’t really come to pass and Games Workshop remains the most popular paintable miniature game in the world.
So far the industry has yet to produce affordable 3D printers that can produce a Warhammer army cheaper than one that can be purchased, but that doesn’t mean that 3D printing can’t be used to make some pretty amazing creations based on the world of Warhammer 40,000. For instance, this amazing, full-sized chainsword cosplay prop was designed and assembled entirely from 3D printed parts. Even better, the chainsword really works. Well, it may not be able to split a heretic in half since it’s made of plastic, but it certainly looks the part.
The chainsword was created by the manager at the Games Workshop store Phillip Bennett, located in Parramatta, Australia. Games Workshop has stores dotted all over the world selling their game books, miniatures and hobby supplies, but they usually don’t come with full-sized weapons. Maybe they do things a little differently in Australia. The sword is completely to scale, and despite the fact that it still needs a bit of painting and finishing it’s still probably every Games Workshop nerd’s secret fantasy to own one of these bad boys.
The whole project cost Bennett about $50 in printing materials and electronics. All of the parts were 3D printed from standard PLA filament, and he and his staff used about four full spools to print everything. In order to motorize the sword’s chain without turning it into an actual deadly weapon, they used the motor from a cordless drill and some electronic components to control the movements, which slowed the chain down enough to prevent anyone from losing a limb. According to Bennett, the chainsword took about sixty hours of CAD design and another three hundred hours just to 3D print everything out.
Bennett said on the Games Workshop Parramatta Facebook page that he still has some work to do on the sword, including painting, finishing and detail work. He also doesn’t like the noise that the chain makes when it spins around so he wants to come up with a way to give it an authentic chainsaw sound. Someone in the comments suggested that he install a small, cheap mp3 player and load it just with real chainsaw noises, which sounds like a pretty perfect solution to me. You can check out a short video of the chainsword in action, which is just like the gif above, but you can hear the sounds that it makes.
Currently there are no plans to sell replicas of the chainsword or release the original obj files, although that probably has less to do with a stingy 3D designer and more to do with Games Workshop’s famously litigious behavior. The chainsword was originally posted on Games Workshop Parramatta’s Facebook page last summer, but it seems to have been making the rounds again this week. Sadly, there has not been any updates to the project from Bennett, so I’ve chosen to believe that he has been lost to Chaos. Discuss in the 3D Printed Warhammer forum over at 3DPB.com.