We got an interesting tip from one of our readers this week that showcased a very impressive 3D printed video game prop build.

This replica of the M3 Pistol from the Mass Effect franchise is stunning, mainly due to the mechanical action that is built into it.

Pick it up, hit the button, and it unfolds. Another click of the button and it promptly recompresses back into its initial form just like in the games.

David, who goes by Optimistic Geometry online, shared a bunch of the construction process with us. As you can see, he had to create his own geared system for that nice slow unfolding motion.

I asked what the most difficult part of the build was for him, and he had this to say:

The most important lesson I learned was how to fail. Overcoming that fear has improved my life outside of making as well. There are lots of challenges to making, from learning the tolerances of a 3D printer to making a mechanism slide smoothly. However, the greatest challenge [for this build] was [the process of] miniaturisation and fitting a mechanism, battery, and circuit inside an object that collapses into itself.

There are actually two versions of the replica he created. There is the motorized one and a somewhat simpler spring loaded version.

If you want to make one of your own, you can purchase and download the file from his Etsy shop.

You can follow David’s future projects on his Facebook page.