It is a very safe bet that most modern gamers would happily put The Legend of Zelda on their list of favorite video games. The series of adventure and puzzle games follows the travels of Link as he sets out to rescue, or occasionally get rescued by, a magical princess named Zelda. Since the first game debuted in 1986 there have been 17 various follow up games featuring Link and Zelda on multiple video game consoles. The series is probably only eclipsed by Super Mario Bros. in its popularity and ubiquity and has been a fan favorite for multiple generations of video game fans.
3D printing hobbyist Scott Fisher and his wife are two of those lifelong fans so when the pair decided to try cosplay, Legend of Zelda was an obvious choice for costumes. Fisher noted that as Link, the primary action hero of the series, he would be able to carry the iconic sword and shield. And in order to make sure that his wife’s Zelda costume had its own 3D printed prop he decided to design and 3D print her bow from one of the series’ more popular games, Twilight Princess. And because he was making a full-sized prop, Fisher was able to add light effects to make the bow a real show stopper.
Here is a brief video of the bow lighting up in the dark so you can get a good look at the lighting effects:
Just 3D printing the parts of the bow on his Rostock Max v2 took Fisher more than two full days. All of the 3D modelling, wiring of the lights, programming the Arduino and the final paint job took him considerably longer.
Fisher started his project by tracing a side image of the bow in Inkscape and then after importing that into 123D Design he spent an additional 20 hours creating the detailed 3D model for the bow. He printed the bow in four individual parts and additionally a hollow handle that would hold the bow controls. After post processing and painting all of the parts of the bow, he installed the electronics that allow the bow to light up in multiple colors, and even has a ‘fire’ mode that will briefly cause the bow to increase in brightness.
“An Arduino Gemma controls the lights and accepts input from the buttons on the handle. There are 56 Neopixels placed strategically behind the clear sections and those are all attached to trays that sit in the middle of the interior cavity, attached by magnets to the left side. From the handle, power can be switched on, the color can be toggled between the 5 colors, and the fire effect can be triggered which makes the lights go to 100% brightness for a couple of seconds before dimming back down,” Fisher explained.
Here is a video of Fisher showing off the controls and explaining how they work:
When Fisher went looking for other 3D printed Zelda bows for inspiration he noticed that the only options that he could find used reflective tape or painting effects to look like they were lighting up. So he really wanted to do something that hadn’t been done previously and he decided that by adding 56 strips of Neopixel lights he would most certainly make it stand out from the crowd.
He was also thinking ahead when he made the bow modular. Rather than superglue all of the parts together, Fisher used the magnets to hold everything together, so any broken parts could easily be replaced or damaged electronics repaired. Luckily for us, or anyone who wants to make their own bow, he documented his build process on a new Instructable.
But a light up bow is not enough for a such powerful princess, so Fisher is also 3D modelling and planning to 3D print Zelda’s ornate crown and shoulder armor pieces. Zelda also needs to have a suitable paramour on her arm, so he is 3D printing Link’s Master Sword, the detailed scabbard, and the iconic Hylian Shield for himself. Now they just need to choose a convention to visit. Let us know what you think of Fisher’s Instructable over on our 3D Print Zelda’s Bow from Twilight Princess forum thread at 3DPB.com.