Cowabunga! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Have Been 3D Printed

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tmnt-2Being a 32 year old male, I have fond memories of waking up on Saturday mornings in the late 80’s and early 90’s in order to watch my favorite cartoon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I probaby had just about every action figure their was, and even had a radical backpack with the Turtles logo on it. Here we are over 20 years later, and the four mutants are still incredibly popular.

The hottest ticket at the box office currently is none other than ”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, grossing well over $100 million in the two weeks since its release. With all the buzz currently directed towards the brand, what better a time to reveal some pretty incredible 3D printed figuriness depicting each of the turtles?

This is just what a man named Jacob Sonk has done. Sonk, a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Computer Animation, currently is a teacher. The first turtle which was modeled was Leonardo, and as Sonk explained to us, it was originally created to help him teach a class.

“I modeled the first Ninja Turtle as a tutorial for a class I taught, to show high school students how to use free user friendly programs like Sculptris and MeshMixer (the programs I modeled these in) for 3D printing.”tmnt-1

Sonk decided to print the design, but didn’t have a printer himself so he went over to a local makerspace called danger!awesome, located in Cambridge, MA. There,he was able to print out the first turtle on a Form1+ 3D printer at a 50 micron layer height resolution. Because of the high resolution, it came out fairly smooth, making it ideal for painting. Without having experience in painting 3D printed objects before, Sonk contacted FormLabs, the manufacturing of the SLA printer he had used, who kindly suggested he use basic acrylic paint, after smoothing the turtle out a bit more.

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“To prep the surface I used a metal file to remove any large pieces of left over support and then fine grain sand paper to smooth them out,” Sonk explained to 3DPrint.com. I then applied a base coat of light and dark green paint, added texture and detail using a dry brush technique, and then added a final wash of a light color to blend everything together. Once dry, the paint did not require a sealant to stick to the plastic, although I may add a finish to help protect them long term.”

Leonardo turned out so well, that Sonk decided to also print the three other turtles, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael. Since completing these prints, the feedback has been tremendous, leading Sonk to consider modeling and printing out additional characters. The most requested thus far have been Master Splinter, the mutant rat who learned Ninjutsu from a book he had found in the sewer, and Shredder, the archenemy of Splinter, and the antagonist of the series.

Sonk also is considering possibly breaking the models into pieces, allowing him to print them in sections in order to make molds for producing multiple copies at a quicker rate. Let’s hear your thoughts on these radical 3D prints, in the 3D printed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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