2014 was a year in which we saw a lot of movie props and cosplay costumes fabricated on 3D printers. If this is a signal of anything to come, 2015 should be quite a year for 3D printing when it comes to creating elaborate props. With the continual evolution of the technology, which is bringing to market more affordable, higher quality 3D printers, it should be very interesting to see how far this all goes.
For one prop maker, named Olivia Lam, 3D printing has become quite the tool in allowing her to fabricate the creations that pop into her head. Originally from Chicago, Lam discovered 3D printing as a means for creating props because she found it almost impossible to use more conventional methods from her small condo. Her one-bedroom condo that she was living in, in Miami, simply was not conducive for running jigsaws and power sanders on a daily basis.
“I remembered a friend’s passing mention of using 3D-printing to make props from 3D models, so I looked into it,” Lam tells 3DPrint.com “Needless to say, it was an enormously successful endeavor and I haven’t made a prop using traditional means ever since.”
Lam has taken a liking to creating masks, a prop-making niche that she fell into after finishing her Amon Mask from Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra. For fun, she decided to create a replica of Majora’s Mask from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which is an action-adventure Nintendo game available on Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, and Wii’s Virtual Console service.
Being a huge fan of the game, and really enjoying the look of Majora’s Mask, it was a no-brainer for her to attempt and replicate it. To start out, she modeled it in Blender.
“I started by modeling a heart as a base,” Lam tells us. “The eyes are simply UV spheres with some boolean modifiers to shape them to the mask. The raised details were achieved by tracing the designs from the original artwork, getting them on the model using the shrinkwrap modifier, and extruding them out. The spikes are made from cylinders with tapered ends.”
Once the mask was completely modeled, it was on to 3D printing the different parts. The large center portion of the mask, consisting of the heart, was 3D printed by Shapeways, using their Strong White and Flexible material. As for the ten separate spikes that appear around the outside edge of the mask, they were printing in PLA on Lam’s RostockMAX 3D Printer, from SeeMeCNC.
Lam was only getting started, however. Once the 3D printed pieces were complete, she had to take many steps to get the mask to where she wanted it to be, as far as appearance goes. First she had to clean it, then she applied a filler primer before sanding it down, applying more filler, and sanding again. Once this was complete, a third coating of filler primer was added before painting it, sanding it again, and painting it again. After this layer of paint was dry, a clear-coat was applied, it was sanded yet again, and then another coating of clear-coat was put on.
“The paints were applied via spray can or airbrush, so I had to carefully mask-off the finished sections every time I applied a new color,” explains Lam. “I almost went through an entire roll of blue painter’s tape making this mask, but it was completely worth it. All in all, it took me three months to finish the post-processing of this mask.”
As you can tell by the photos provided, the three months of post processing reaped its rewards in that Lam was left with an astonishingly beautiful mask. Now that she has finished it, she will begin setting her sights on her next 3D printed prop projects that she has in mind, which include: Scarborough Fair, Love is Blue, and All 4 One from the Bayonetta series, the Master Sword and Hylian Shield from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and the Oathkeeper and Oblivion keyblades from the Kingdom Hearts series.
What do you think of this amazing mask? Discuss in the 3D Printed The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask forum thread on 3DPB.com.