If you’ve ever played any of the modern Fallout games, then you probably remember how excited you were when, after hours of endless roaming and fighting off mutant cannibals, giant rats and radscorpions, you finally found an AER9 Laser Rifle of your very own. While there are certainly more exotic and flashy weapons to be found in the massive world of Fallout, none was as useful while wandering the Wasteland as the highly dependable laser rifle. Because of its large ammunition capacity and because it’s a highly accurate weapon, players could easily take out all manner of enemies safely from a distance, often before they even had a chance to get a shot off.
Other than the Pip Boy, the laser rifle is probably one of the most popular props for Fallout cosplayers. Not only does it just look cool when made well, but the relatively simple shape makes it a little easier to build from scratch than most of the other guns in the game. Unless of course you’re Yvo de Haas, a 23-year-old Dutch maker who builds 3D printers, props, robots and RC aircraft in his spare time, because when he makes a cosplay prop he tends to go all out. He’s already created a laser pistol prop from Fallout, so tackling the more powerful laser rifle was probably inevitable.
“It’s been over two years since I made the Laser Pistol. The project was initially considered a mild flop, because it had very little exposure and stuff, but people kept downloading and printing it over time. Some have also been requesting me to also do a Laser Rifle, and I had never given it much thought other than a: ‘Nice, but it would take forever’. More and more people kept asking, and since it was ages since I did a prop, I finally started on it. The result is here. Not much blood and tears went into it, but plenty of sweat, and a lot of time,” said de Haas over on his website ytec3d.
When he was finally convinced to tackle the AER9 Laser Rifle he included all sorts of great bells and whistles. Not only does it include a working reloading mechanism that allows you to change the batteries, but he also built in an actual laser (sadly, non-lethal) that shoots when the trigger is pulled. Not to mention the real in-game sound effects that are played through a pair of built-in speakers when the rifle is fired. Just like all of de Haas’ projects, he has detailed build instructions, including a building guide on Instructables, and his 3D printable files so anyone else can try to make their own.
Here is some video of the AER9 Laser Rifle in action that de Haas posted to his YouTube channel:
He does warn however that while on the surface it may not look especially difficult, the project does take a lot of time to complete. So much time that even with the impending November release of Fallout 4 it would probably be too late for those looking to cosplay at release events to have their own completed in time. Of course that’s all depending on how complicated of a project they’re willing to take on as de Haas was kind enough to provide two versions of the laser rifle. The first is a stripped down and simplified prop that doesn’t have any working parts and the second version includes the complicated reloading mechanism and room for all of the internal electronics.
“This is done for a very good reason. While the reloading mechanism looks very cool, it takes quite a few materials and more than a bit of skill to put together. There is a variety of bearing, linear guide rod, grub screws and rubber bands needed to make the whole thing work. Assembling it is a job that takes hours, even with the right tools. Take the reloading mechanism out, and it is basically a 3D printed kit of the AER9 Laser Rifle, just a really big one,” explained de Haas.
In total de Haas estimates that he put 200-250 hours of work into creating his laser rifle prop. That includes about 50 hours to design the 3D models and more than 70 hours just to 3D print the parts. And the printer that he used was an UP! Plus, which is kind of known for being a pretty fast machine. Depending on what model of 3D printer they have, anyone looking to make their own rifle could potentially be looking at almost double that in printing time, and the project requires more than a full kilogram of PLA filament to complete. He further estimates that the cleaning, assembly and painting process probably took him well over a hundred hours of hard work to finish. Of course the pretty spectacular final product is evidence that it was well worth the investment of time and elbow grease.
The 3D printable parts were all designed and oriented to reduce the amount of supports and rafting that would be needed, but an object this complex will always require some supports. Thankfully de Haas managed to include only a few parts with complicated geometries and only a handful of them have 90 degree overhangs. All of the individual components are oriented in exactly the same layout that he used when he printed them, so provided they are a printed on a machine with an envelope larger than 140 x 140 x 140 mm then they shouldn’t need to be rearranged.
You can read more about the Fallout AER9 Laser Rifle project and all of the projects that de Haas is working on over on his website. He has also posted a complete tool and parts list over on Instructables, which includes full assembly instructions, including the working reloading mechanism and the installation of the electronics. And make sure that you let us know what you think of the project over on our 3D Printed Fallout AER9 Laser Rifle forum at 3DPB.com.