Toy designer Hauke Scheer had been creating his own line of custom designed action figures and toys the traditional way for years until he discovered 3D printing in 2013. Since then he has been making and selling all of his figures using his 3D printer. Because he got so good at designing them he was often asked to create figures for other people’s properties. Eventually he simply started to design his own line of 3D printed toys and sell them via his website. We wrote about his cool action figures last year, and his skill at creating toys using a 3D printer has only gotten better since.
All of Scheer’s figures are designed using The Foundry’s Modo Software, which is unconventional for 3D printable objects, but because he has a long background in animation and games he simply found it easier to design with a program that he already knew how to use. It certainly hasn’t held him back any, as his 3D printed, fully articulated action figures are some of the best that I’ve ever seen. All of the parts are 3D printed using his Stratasys Mojo 3D printer, and Scheer chose to print them using ABS so the small parts are nice and durable. The figures snap together and assemble using no glue of any kind, and are then hand painted using standard acrylic paints.
Scheer was looking to find a creative way to show off how posable and sturdy his new figures were, so he decided to film a stop motion animated movie. The video features an updated version of his Caveman action figure, and a whole bunch of his 3D printed robot figures are getting in on the action too. The new Caveman is his first figure that uses only ball joints to move the limbs and parts, and he found his design to work exactly as he wanted it to.
Because Scheer doesn’t use glue, rubber bands or pins to hold his figures together, all of the parts are easily snapped together and parts can easily be swapped or replaced. And that turned out to be a very helpful feature while filming his stop motion video. Not only did it make swapping out heads and limbs easier, but it made the Caveman’s gestures and movements look more natural and dynamic. All of the figures used in the video are the exact figures that he sells on his website–however, he did have some issues while filming.
“I did have to do quite a bit of touching up in Photoshop but this was due to my lack of photo shooting skills/ insufficient camera equipment. Basically the camera would move ever so slightly with every picture I took making the background extremely wobbly. So in order to not get viewers seasick I had to remove the backgrounds from all the pictures of the figures and reinsert them into a steady, empty background picture I shot before starting the animation,” explained Scheer.
In order to keep the figures still during filming Scheer did have to use some Blu-Tack to hold the figures in place while he was adjusting poses or changing limbs. However he says that the figures would have been able to achieve almost 90% of the poses in the video without any additional support. He also touched up a few poses digitally because it was easier than re-filming the scene, however none of the changes were due to a lack of sturdiness or articulation on the part of the figure. What you see in the video is what the figures are capable of doing in real life.
“The figures appear rougher in the animation then they are when you hold them in your hand. Taking close ups of 5.5 inch figures makes every surface scratch really stand out. However I think it works for the animation giving the figures more of a handmade clay-like look,” says Scheer.
You can learn more about Scheer’s 3D printed action figures over on his website, and even commission your own figures. Take a look at all of his cool figures over on his Deviantart page, if you like what you see you can purchase some of his original 3D printed figures here. And make sure that you check out his animated series about whales wearing giant exosuits called Mechawhales. He is even selling Mechawhale action figures, which are, frankly, kind of amazing.
Discuss this film in the 3D Printed Battling Action Figure Forum thread on 3DPB.com.