It’s been a great month for gamer children of the 1980s and ’90s. First Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition, sending many people I know racing to the nearest department store and down memory lane. Now, one talented and passionate fan has painstakingly recreated the entire overworld featured in The Legend of Zelda, 3D printing it in intricate detail from dungeon to graveyard – and his fellow fans are loving his work.
The 3D printed landscape emerged online after a fan named Willard McFarland bought it from an artist through the Facebook group Trade Sell Collect Retro & New Video Games & Toys. The seller, according to McFarland, had spent six months building the map in Minecraft, then converted it to an STL file, 3D printed it, and painted it. The result is stunning, a bird’s-eye view of the entire world of Hyrule. If you’re a Zelda fan, you’re probably well familiar with the forests, rivers, and, of course, the huge graveyard, but you’ve likely never seen them like this before.
The map’s artist appears to be Jeff Frazier, who recently started his own business called RetroDesign3D. Frazier, who launched his business on Facebook less than two weeks ago, is now selling reprints of his Hyrule map for $300, and he’s already amassed quite a waiting list of customers. If you’re interested in purchasing your own, you can do so here, and your name will be added to a queue. According to Frazier, lead time for each order will vary depending on how many requests are put in, so feel free to contact him through his Facebook page to get a better idea. Prepaid orders will be bumped to the front of the queue.
The 3D printed map’s dimensions are about 24″ by 8″ by 4″ without the Legend of Zelda nameplate attached, and 24″ x 8″ by 6″ with the nameplate. The whole thing is printed in three separate pieces and hand-painted, meaning that each piece is unique, and also meaning that Frazier has to be an extremely busy guy right now. As of now, the queue appears to stand at nine people, with others clamoring to be added. Frazier is also selling an unpainted version of the map for $120.
RetroDesign3D’s shop also contains a 3D printed Raspberry Pi case modeled on the classic Nintendo Entertainment System, and as proceeds roll in from that and the Hyrule map, Frazier plans to purchase additional 3D printers and begin creating more models of worlds from Zelda as well as other games such as Super Mario and Final Fantasy. He also posted an image of a teeny-tiny, detailed replica of a Zelda dungeon.
“How small can I make a Zelda Dungeon,” he comments. “Here is D1. you can not see from this angle but all doors are there, even cracks in the walls where you can place your bombs. First test. Now that I know I can make them pretty small. I will get some quality prints completed.”
Based in Springfield, Missouri, Frazier has the makings of a successful business – artistic talent, meticulous attention to quality and detail, and a clear passion for what he’s doing. He’s already gained several enthusiastic fans, the most vocal being McFarland and Mike Matei, who drew Internet-wide attention to the original Zelda map by sharing up-close, high-resolution photos that McFarland had taken on Twitter. Matei, of the popular web series production site Cinemassacre, has more than 71,000 Twitter followers, so once he began posting about Frazier’s creation, it spread like wildfire.
This is the type of story we love to see, of a dedicated maker growing a business out of what started as a labor of love. The 3D printing world is full of talented individuals who, thanks to the ever-widening social network that has formed around the technology and craft, are gaining well-deserved recognition and success from their work. We wish RetroDesign3D luck on future projects! Discuss in the Hyrule forum at 3DPB.com.RetroDesign3D via Facebook]