While the debate about the ethics and legality of 3D printed guns continues to rage, I’m thankful that I have yet to hear about 3D printed nuclear bombs, although, given enough time, some crazed dictator will probably find a way to make one. (Please, please no one tell Donald Trump about 3D printing.) At the moment, it seems we’re well removed from 3D printed nuclear annihilation, but for safe and wholesome fun, you can still make 3D printed mini-nukes! Jacky Wan, guest blogger for Ultimaker, is happy to explain how.
Scarcely five months have gone by since the eagerly anticipated Fallout 4 was released, but we’ve already seen a plethora of 3D printed tributes to the game. Wan’s attention, however, was drawn less by the game itself and more by a special edition Fallout anthology pack that was released around the same time. More specifically, he was drawn to the packaging. The five games in the series came packaged in a convenient miniature nuclear bomb case, which Wan immediately decided he had to have. However, he couldn’t justify buying the entire pricey anthology just for the case, so instead he designed and 3D printed his own personal mini-nuke. This proved to be a more complicated process than he had originally expected.
“I had a very specific shape, feel and size I wanted for the mini-nuke, and none of the official versions felt totally ‘right’ to me. I knew I wanted something mostly based on the Fallout 4 Nuke, but it had to include some of the essence of the anthology nuke that inspired me in the first place,” says Wan. “There were little details that bugged me about each nuke. I felt the anthology nuke had fins that were disproportionately short, the Fallout 4 nuke had too many screws, lights and segments, and the Fallout 3 nuke looked like they were stretched spheres. I was looking to make something that was carefully balanced and proportioned, and less concerned about matching any particular one.”
He drew the outline of the shell several times before he was satisfied, then created an interior profile to make the nuke hollow. The fins, screws and details were added using traditional mesh modeling techniques. He then printed the model in several parts on his Ultimaker 2 and began putting it together, but as he was doing so, he found himself wondering what the internal structure of such a bomb might look like. After a thorough and “questionable” Internet search, he found several cool cross-section images of nuclear bombs that he decided to reproduce to complement his original nuke. He took his original computer model, cut it in 2/3, and started working on a very different interior.
“This was a vastly different process since I had no references of any kind besides some really old technical drawings of real nukes. It was much more of a creative exercise,” Wan explains. “I didn’t just make random objects and throw them in there however. Each piece needed to look and feel like it serves an important role in the function of the device. And, like all my other stuff, I made it so that everything was able to snap together. With 3D printing, you’re truly free to design what you like.”
Wan, of the 3D printing site Redicubricks, has caught our attention before with his incredible 3D designs, which include an intricate bike model and a beautifully detailed steampunk Iron Man prosthetic hand.
His completed mini-bombs are just as impressive as his other work, particularly for someone with admittedly no real knowledge about the interior structures of nuclear bombs. Both the hollow nuke and the cross section were printed in Ultimaker Metallic Silver PLA, and then painted with Liquid Mask, a rubbery, peelable substance that allows for the creation of a weathered, chipped-paint look. The finished products look like very real, rusty, weatherbeaten metal.
The files for the enclosed nuke design – which can also be used as a planter! – can be downloaded from Youmagine, while the cross-section design with internal components can be purchased in kit form for you to assemble and paint yourself – just in time to set them around your house like deadly little Easter eggs for the upcoming holiday. Discuss in the 3D Printed Mini Nuclear Bombs forum over at 3DPB.com.