3D printing itself is no longer simply a sci-fi fantasy — but that doesn’t mean it’s left that genre behind. As we’ve seen with other 3D modeling, video games provide plenty of great inspiration for small- and large-scale 3D printing projects. Grey Box‘s new real-time strategy (RTS) video game, Grey Goo, was a collaboration between Six Foot, Petroglyph, Weta Workshop, Axis Animation, and Powerhouse Animation, which all came together to bring the nanotech-inspired game to life. One of the most intriguing characters in the game is Singleton the robot, which was the brainchild of Weta Workshop’s Stephen Lambert.
Singleton is sworn to uphold its vow, “We fight so that others may live,” as it acts as Commander Lucy Tak’s companion and advisor on the far-off planet Ecosystem Nine. And now, Gentle Giant Studios has created models so that you can have your very own 1:4 scale 3D printed robot commander… as well as making a full-size one to show off their impressive modeling skills.
Grey Box provided Gentle Giant with the digital model for Singleton, ensuring that the statue would be the most accurate rendition possible. Once rendered into a 3D printable format, the large model totaled almost 70 unique pieces that ended up taking the team three months to print, craft, and assemble by hand. For both the 1:4 scale Singleton models and the full-size behemoth, the Gentle Giant team had to individually re-topologize the surfaces of each piece with sculptured detail, as well as figure out the specifics to get the pieces merged, separated, and engineered together.
Once the design files were all ready, off they went to their SLA 3D printers. The 1:4 scale models were printed using the 3D Systems ProJet 6000, while the pieces for the large statue were sent to the ProX 800 (previously the iPro 8000). While it wasn’t necessarily planned, the materials the Gentle Giant used for these prints was a gray that fit in perfectly with the Grey Goo game’s world — which includes actual “grey goo.” Be sure to check out the video at the bottom of this page to see just how much the print process can suggest the “grey goo” theme!
Once the pieces printed out, the Gentle Giant team set about the process of putting them together and turning them into a robot. As they describe it:
“For the assembly, our artists printed out a 1:1 graphic to chart the parts as they came off the printer. Once printed and mapped, we cleaned off any remaining supports and sanded the surfaces. Some of the Singleton parts had to be further engineered post-printing due to the physics of his skeleton-like structure. Our artists found skillful ways to ‘cheat’ the geometry and back-fill and stabilize areas that were otherwise fragile. The parts were then molded in fiberglass, reinforced with steel structure and hand-painted by our talented in-house painters.”
The full-size model of Singleton stands over seven feet tall, while the quarter-scale model is 22″ tall. Both versions of the robot showcase impressive adherence to the original design concept — and it seems there’s more to come. Gentle Giant is looking next toward Saruk, the alien commander from the “Greyverse.”
Check out the video, below, of the process of Singleton’s 3D printing process, as well as photos of the full-size and quarter-size sculptures. Are you a fan of Grey Goo? Let us know what you think about Singleton’s realization as a 3D printed sculpture over in the Singleton the Robot forum thread at 3DPB.com.