Thingiverse user Krest created STLs for five slightly different scales, which can be printed up and linked together to create awesome scale armor for cosplay or pure nerdiness. [via MakerBot]

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


  • http://mopwho.wordpress.com/ mopwho

    What you’re making is technically “Lamellar” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamellar_armour), which is plates laced together and hung from itself, as opposed to “scale” which is usually plates attached directly to a leather or cloth coat. Do yourself a favor and look up how they are laced together using a continuous cord instead of tying off, knotting, and cutting the cord for each plate. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and material.

    • Abe

      And Nerd of the year goes to…

  • caitlinsdad

    thought comes to mind, has anyone started 3d printing of chain maille fabric?

  • http://www.knightrealms.com/ Geoffrey Schaller

    I’m curious as to the cost effectiveness of printing your own, versus bulk ordering metal scales from http://theringlord.com/cart/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=84&cat=Scalemail+Supplies – the scales there are approx 1″ x 0.5″, $4 for 100 count. Being new to 3D printing, I’m not sure how to calculate the material cost for one “unit” that’s printed – can anyone advise?

    (Of course, the 3D printing is much cooler in that they’re more varied, lighter, can be custom colored, etc. – cost is just a concern for someone getting into the hobby of armor making.)

  • Poet

    Mopwho is right. Though the same general idea with some moding could become a two part cloak closure, buttons, belt buckle you name it. Seems a whole custome costume business could become with a little forthought and the right design information.

  • rocketguy1701

    I’m actually more interested in actual armor design using 3D printed parts for something that’s actually functional. i.e. Motorcycle armor, articulated spine protectors, hard gloves, neck protection etc.

    • rocketguy1701

      Not that this isn’t cool, sparks all kinds of ideas for me.

    • http://www.knightrealms.com/ Geoffrey Schaller

      I’d forsee the challenge with that is that each wearer is a different shape / size. For something like the spine protector, a set “vertebrae” that are connected / threaded might make sense, that you can scale if you have a … big spine? Having done some armor myself for LARP, I can tell you that the size & shape of the wearer is tricky.

      Depending on the material used, a mouth guard for boxing and or / martial arts might be useful, too.

      • rocketguy1701

        Agreed, but if I had a parametric cad model to start with, then I could put in measurements of the wearer as a starting point, and maybe have to do an iteration or two to fine-tune.

    • http://randomfort.blogspot.com Jerry Carter

      Re: motorcycle armor: Your first concerns are going to be finding a sufficiently flexible and durable material to make armor components from. The shapes also need to posses a lot of internal structure which will have an effect on both of those desirable characteristics. Beyond making or finding the right shapes and objects, you need to understand a lot about forces and material science to make usable motorcycle armor that would be safe enough to use and not wind up embedded in your spine the first time you fall off the back of a bike.

      For this reason, a lot of body armor is made out of composite and laminate materials rather than just extruded or injection molding alone. Kevlar is tear resistant and can be laminated but still needs other materials for stiffness. Some of the research in this space is looking to materials that contain bubbles filled with liquid so that cracks are filled when they occur, extending the life of the material or absorbing otherwise destructive shock.

      Rep rapping is a nice way to make your prototypes, but you’re going to need some specialized materials and assembly methods to have safe and reliable end results.

      Not to say you can’t DIY it, but you’re in for a lot more than printing and finishing.

      • rocketguy1701

        I understand that printable components would be only part of the equation. In some cases, I’d be using it as a form positive to mold another more appropriate material. But given the time it would take in development, might just go buy some armor instead.

  • http://jbablermake.wordpress.com jbablermake

    Vermithrax Pejorative!

    Finally, I can complete my DragonSlayer cosplay outfit. And yes, Dragonslayer is the best dragon movie of all time, especially since it was A) made in 1980, and Tippet’s Go Motion made the dragon a believable beast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/simone.sacchi.75 Simone Sacchi

    Next on Make: 3d printing your mom!

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