What is it with 3D printing and Batman? It seems as though we have covered several very interesting stories over the past year involving 3D printed Batman figurines and full-body suits, among many more. Perhaps there is something about the superhero that appeals to the innovative and inventive minds of those who utilize 3D printers, or perhaps it’s just a coincidence. Regardless, we have seen a tremendous amount of creativity from the 3D printing community in the design and fabrication of the Dark Knight, and I expect we will continue to do so.
For one man, named Oscar Torres, 3D printing is nothing new. Torres, who has been a 3D modeler for over 8 years now, has been 3D printing from before sites like Shapeways were around, and prior to the existence of affordable desktop 3D printers.
“The only desktop 3D printer that was available [when I begin designing] was the Mojo which cost $10k,” Torres tells 3DPrint.com. “I waited years working on my figures only printing small runs occasionally. Eventually, Shapeways came to be and I would use their services heavily. I stumbled upon PP3D’s smaller printer, the UP Mini, which is more consumer ready since it could sit on your desk.”
This is the printer that he uses for all of his projects, which include the creation of various toy and model designs. Being a fan of Batman, Torres recently set out to model and 3D print both a Batmobile and a Batcycle (Winged Knight) on his UP Mini 3D printer, and his results were quite phenomenal. To model the Batmobile, Torres used several software packages, including Rhino, T-Splines, and SpaceClaim. Throughout his years as a designer he has come up with some very efficient workflows that enable him to get the most potential out of all of his software options.
“T-Splines is an amazing piece of software that allows you to create organic shapes efficiently and quickly without the headache of nurbs patch modeling,” Torres tells us. “Another plus is that it is also manufacturable once created. SpaceClaim was used for engineering objects that are supposed to interact in real life, like hinges and plastic parts. I also used KeyShot to render out the look of the object before any object was 3D printed.”
After the Batmobile was designed, it was sliced into 80 separate pieces in order for him to print the entire thing on his small 4.75 inch wide build platform and avoid issues with warping. He printed all 80 pieces at the highest settings available, in order to capture the most detail possible. In all, it took approximately 150-200 hours of print time to complete, but it was worth every second of it.
The final assembled Batmobile measures a staggering 22 inches long and 9 inches wide, and thus far Torres has not done any post processing to the vehicle other than assembling it.
“As of yet no post processing has been done on the vehicle,” says Torres. “I am not sure if I will do any sanding or finishes. At the moment I am learning simple electronics to wire led lights.”
As for the Batcycle, which Torres refers to as the ‘Winged Knight,’ it was modeled using a very similar process as the Batmobile. Most of its work, though, was done using SpaceClaim. Torres tells us that he drew up the concept and then worked the finer interconnecting details to simulate LEGO bricks. On top of this, he also created a prototype package design for the vehicle which he intends to integrate an augmented reality experience into, in which users will be able to download a free app for from GooglePlay.
“All in all, both projects, like many of my projects, were learning experiences,” Torres tells us. “From designing, to simple electronics, and creating package designs with augmented reality experiences, I continue to stretch my boundaries and explore other fields to create a final product I can be proud of. Keep an eye out for my future projects.”
It should be interesting to follow Torres in the coming months to see how much more advanced some of his designs become. Will he stick with the Batman theme, or venture elsewhere, into terrain which he has yet to experience? Only time will tell.
What do you think of Torres’ creations? Would you have designed either of these vehicles any differently? Discuss in the 3D Printed Batmobile and Batcycle forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out some more photos below.
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