Although the full potential of 3D printing has yet to be uncovered, this rapidly emerging technology has already made it possible to recreate our favorite superheroes, whether it be in the form of a miniature or wearable component. In fact, both children and adults have found immense pleasure in these 3D printed comic book character replicas. For instance, in Dubai, the 3D printing company Generation 3D recently brightened up the days of special needs children by printing superhero miniatures with each of the students’ faces on them.
The superhero aesthetic has even been used when designing 3D printed prosthetics and other types of assistive devices. When it comes to creating a powerful prosthetic device, one hero that seems to be quite popular is Iron Man. In the recent past, the non-profit prosthetics organization e-NABLE created an Iron Man-themed assistive device for a three-year-old boy. In another case prior to that, renowned designer Jacky Wan created a steampunk version of Tony Stark’s high-powered hand, combining two styles into one breathtaking prosthetic.
While these superhero-themed prosthetic devices are extremely helpful and aesthetically awesome, they’re not quite as ambitious as the recently completed 3D printing project undertaken by military veteran Tim O’Sullivan. After getting wounded in combat, O’Sullivan needed a therapeutic task to help escape from the pangs of military service. So he decided to purchase the 3D files for a full-body Iron Man suit from Do3D.com and 3D print them with his newly acquired Robo3D R1+, a desktop 3D printer equipped with a heated bed and auto-leveling, as well as a build size of 10″ x 9″ x 8″.
This was O’Sullivan’s first time truly experimenting with 3D printing technology, and the project took him approximately eight months to complete. After the 3D printed components were produced, they were finished using a variety of automotive body techniques, including glazing putty and Bondo auto body filler. Robo3D’s high-end 3D printer was ideal for a project of this kind, as the San Diego-based 3D printing company is known for constructing and supporting 3D printable model kits.
As someone who was completely unfamiliar with 3D printing technology less than a year ago, O’Sullivan has truly found success in this extremely ambitious project – which, as he told 3DPrint.com, will most likely not be his last. The 3D printed costume is indistinguishable from the one worn by Tony Stark in the Marvel Universe, and even has the powerful glowing eyes and chest found in the comic books and movies. But even more importantly, the 3D printing project was therapeutic for the wounded veteran, helping him forget about the pains of his past and reimagine himself as the superhero he truly is. Discuss this project further in the 3D Printed Ironman forum over at 3DPB.com.