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Tracy is geeking out over today’s Design Inspiration Friday about 3D print cosplay, which does not happen a lot. We are talking about the Dorne Dagger from Game of Thrones. Evidently, it was 3D printed in its original form before it was painted and finished and all the other things they did to it to make it look like it was cast. Shapeways has reported that and we are both huge Game of Thrones fans, but Tracy is the one who read the books. It’s all because of Kas DeCarvalho, it’s all it fault that I became a Game of Thrones geek. Kas is our attorney and has been for something like 18 years and he’s like the oddest attorney you’ll ever meet but I consider him more as a friend than an attorney. He was also Tom’s kickboxing instructor when we lived in the same town which has been awhile. He’s actually met George R.R. Martin and went out to meet him once and turned Tracy on to the series way back when.
So we watch the show and of course the season premiere was two weeks ago, and just a precursor that there maybe be a ***SPOILER ALERT*** actually there will be based on the references we will make, so if you are a Game of Thrones fan and you haven’t caught up to it yet, pause, wait, and come back to this after you have seen the first two episodes of this season and then you will be safe. I’m sure someone else might have ruined it for you online anyway, but just in case it slips out we gave you the spoiler alert.
Listen to the podcast here:
3D Print Cosplay and an Update on Pinshape
I had a Melisandre 3d print cosplay necklace that Tom made me that you 3D printed for the Game of Thrones Mardi Gras float that we were on this year in San Diego. It was kind of fun and I just wanted to touch on this, that doing it for just personal cosplay, that kind of costume play for those of you that are not in the know since I did have to explain that to Tom (it’s not a new line of costume Costco stores by the way). I think it’s really such a great entry point for those into 3D printing, because there is so much fun you can have with this and so much opportunity for it. Going out there and trying to buy this stuff, stuff like this is not going to end up in the mass market. Or you will end up with the cheesy Halloween version of it and this is just so much more fun to be able to go out there and do it yourself.
There are a lot of starting points and online files that you can do this and you can then really trick it out and make it yours and do it your way and created your own 3D print cosplay piece. If you’ve got finishing skills like Tommy Dunne, the weapons master at HBO, who had something to do with the daggers, and when you have those kind of skills its amazing as to all that you can do.
We didn’t do any finishing on our necklace, and when you look at the raw 3D printed part of the dagger, clearly it was done in an SLA process that’s used in the frosty looking resin, but then there was an intense amount of finishing that went into this dagger. An intense amount of painting but it was this 3D printed piece with all the detail of the scales of snakeskin and stars. The adorned with some jewels, maybe fake ones most likely. I want to talk about the finishing for a minute, when we talk about using FFF to print things that come right off the build plate, and that’s great, we do that but not to this level of finishing. It’s interesting to see them using, what was I’m sure, a commercial 3D printer from a service bureau to make the body of this dagger, the handle, and the case – you still can’t finish it that way. It has to be hand worked.
We’ve done a lot of work in China and overseas over the years in furniture. Furniture is very similar to this where you have a lot of handles and knobs that are cast in metal and then they do this decorative finishing to them. It’s always amazed me how much they can take a raw cast pieces of zinc or something, with so much depth and color variation to it, it looked like it’s a hundred years old. Weathered due to age and everything, which of course it’s not – it’s all just decorative paint, layer upon layer with different shades and treatments.
It goes back to the episode in which we were talking about the dinosaur bones, they are being 3D printed and finished to look like they got dug up with dirt rubbed into them and all that. The finishing is really the critical part to making it look amazing but the reality is if you are just having some fun it’s not totally necessary. The necklace Tom made was fun, it had the message and was exciting and it gets you in the mood for how you are dressing up and what you want to do.
The idea of it being an entry level is an encouragement for those kids that want to do this and want to have fun. It gives them a tool to be able to do that and it’s not just sewing a costume and making stuff out of jewelry making equipment. You can actually 3D print this and make it as realistic as possible. If you are into superheroes you can make Wonder Woman’s bullet proof wristbands, that’d be a pretty good project our daughter would be into.
It’s one of those things though that if you incorporate 3D printing into something that excites your kids, your class, your family, yourself as 3D print cosplay to get you into it and really get learning. This is a great way to learn because you are going to find a lot of challenges to a project like that. That’s why we put this on an Inspiration Friday, it’s not just because on Sunday we will get the next episode, it’s also an inspiration to you that there are different challenges that happen when you are doing something like this. I love the fact that it’s being used in Game of Thrones, because it’s so high profile right now. It’s very much in pop culture and it’s getting some exposure to 3D printing and the things that it can do. Game of Thrones stuff is all over the place, there was even a thing last night believe it or not, a political satire role play thing on the Jimmy Fallon show between Barack Obama and Donald Trump where Trump spoiled the big reveal on Game of Thrones. It’s everywhere. This is great, the more that 3D printing is used in television and in movies the better it’s going to be for this whole industry.
That’s different than some of the shows just showing something being 3D printed like in a CSI episode to try and recreate something and they show you a 3D printer, it’s not like that. Here, you’d never know it’s 3D printed if somebody didn’t write about it. We are close enough to Hollywood and know some people in that industry, we know that 3D printing has been used there for a really long time and very well. They have their own printers and everything, but this is a case where they are stepping out and using a service bureau. We have been talking about that a lot in terms of ways in which designers and product development processing can happen. That you can really do what you want to do and get the design right. I’m very sure that here the designer got the design exactly right, got the model right, made sure it was the right scale and fit the arm of the actress.
That all that happened before it was sent to Shapeways to print. That gave them access to a bunch more options and new materials for it. There’s also an issue here that you might want a certain weight, you want it to feel a certain way, and it gives it a more realistic nature. I find it fascinating with so much CG that goes on with shows like Game of Thrones and things in other movies with flying dragons, clearly those dragons are computer generated. Acting and movie making is not all about putting actors in front of green screens and doing the scenes to be done in the computer. Here I like that in order to tell the story, it was important enough to have someone design this dagger and spent the time and money. That dagger, let’s face it, with all the people involved in making it – I bet it’s $5-6,000, maybe even $10,000. In our experience, it should be more like $10,000 considering the salaries of all those involved in making it, all the time they spent, and all the resources it took to make and paint it. That’s not just some Krylon paint getting thrown on there, this is some serious work for a period of time.
It’s really also a case of having such skilled experienced labor. It’s not like they tried to do this the first time either. Which is another thing you’ll find is that this project takes you an extreme amount of time as you are trying to get the finish right. Tommy Dunne is obviously very experienced in doing this, which is why he has the title of Weapons Master. That’s a cool title, I’d love to have that as my title. I am fascinated, as a textile designer, with the absolute beauty of the costumes and the artistry that goes into them and they have done a fantastic job of being extremely creative in their use of materials and the way they combine them this is the way that they are doing it also, they are combining the parts. It’s a lot of skilled labor, and when you have that kind of skill with the amount of experience, they can do it faster because it’s a lot of shortcuts and a lot of things that they have learned over time. But they want to get it right, so it does still take time.
This is also a high production show, this is a premium show on HBO – no question. The money that they are spending on all different aspects of it are necessary to produce that quality of show. The opening trailer of Game of Thrones, and this is for those of you that are learning and have done CAD work in order to 3D print things, and maybe you are too young to watch Game of Thrones because you are too young since it is an adult show but maybe you can convince your parents to let you see just the beginning trailer of it. If you watch that beginning sequence of with all the credits, all the cities that pop up, it’s an animation but all that is CAD created in a computer. Yes there is animation and motion and changes involved, which is something we don’t have to do in this industry, you make a static model so you don’t have to worry about the motion and animation. Still, just in terms of model creation you want to look at the pinnacle of achievement of quality and the making of that opening segment is probably tens of thousands of hours of work of a lot of people, if not more. That’s real quality CAD work.
The thing is that this is another thing to consider as you are trying to learn to do CAD for 3D printing. The creation of those models and having the skill set to be able to do those online rendering models, those beautiful and digital things. They are not real in terms of how they function and output. The translation from you can do a lot of things that can’t be done in real life, that’s why it’s imagined and a rendering. That’s why it’s faked in a sense, you can fake somethings and still have it look amazing, but it wouldn’t 3D print. Having the skill set that steps into both where you can create those beautiful renderings, and have it be able to output into something physical that can print well, that can function – I mean they had to stab that guy! So you have this issue of is this thing going to be able to hold up? Does it fit your hand? I mean there are a whole bunch of other issues that can be okay when you look at it on a screen but not okay in the real world.
That’s where on top of spending 10,000 hours when you try to then physically create something, you have to then spend many hours of iterations in getting it right in the printing process. Some of these like the one with the starburst section that’s really more of a decorative element, not the main dagger knife portion, but just decorative elements like a starburst. I can imagine the first time they made some of these and they wanted to have a certain look and a certain delicateness and thinness to them, but you’ve got to make sure this thing is thick enough. So that as it’s being taken out of the dagger and it catches on the sleeve of your clothing and the edge of a cloak as it’s being moved around, that it’s not just going to snap off these pieces.
You certainly don’t want to have to be dealing with things like that. Not in terms of pure function because clearly it was not used to actually stab someone, it doesn’t have to have that kind of strength, but it needs to have enough integrity that it’s going to last for at least one episode if not a couple. You don’t want it to break and need to be repairing it in the middle of a scene. You don’t want to have to break out the crazy glue just to get through the day’s shoot.
It’s inspiring to us to take a look at how all of these things work in terms of the nesting of parts and other things out there that you can do. You can learn a lot from studying somebody else’s design on something even if it’s not exactly what you want to do. They put a bunch up on the blog and I think some of them are really nice actually. They put up a bunch of inspiration Game of Thrones inspired designs in the marketplace, I suggest you check them out because some of them might be done in a couple of parts. Some of them might be done differently and you might be able to get a bunch of inspirational ideas on how to do that.
Definitely a lot to be learned if you are studying. There’s a dagger and sheath that it goes into. They did add fabric and lace to it. I really like 3D print projects when you are combining different materials and it’s not all 3D printed necessarily, but more of how are you combining the materials to achieve your end result. I think there’s a piece of leather here, and lace, and leather or fabric and they had to fasten them together and you have the actual sheath and dagger, and all the beautiful painting and decorative aspects to it. Somebody spent a lot of time, not only in designing and thinking about this, but executing it and it’s a prime example and fantastic work. Which I guess you would expect for a big show like Game of Thrones. The realistic way about which they go about doing this and creating that environment, it’s just awesome and such a great use of 3D printing. I hope that inspires everybody.
Before we move on, I want to touch on something about Pinshape. We’ve talked about it before the day the news broke out that it was closing, we changed our podcast schedule and everything to be timely. It was really shocking news that Pinshape was closing, Pinshape had said that they were done, they tried to save it but the investors were ready to go on, it was very definitive. We haven’t talked about it again but, in a matter of days after we aired it, we learned that the site didn’t shut down. They updated their blog saying that they think they have found a way to stay open and will issue news about it soon. Well the news came out this week that Formlabs out of Boston is acquiring them.
The deal is not done yet, but they made an announcement about it. It says that Pinshape is joining the Formlabs family. I think it’s an interesting choice, but it makes sense. We know from talking to the founders of Pinshape and interviewing them, and I can’t remember if it was on the air or not but it’s okay to say it now, but the founders of Pinshape built that company to be acquired by a big company. Ideally by a 3D printer manufacturer or some other big company in the industry. That’s what happened, and it certainly didn’t happen the way they wanted it to, and it is my understanding that the founders are actually out and not going to remain as part of the organization but the employees are going to remain (at least initially) and be a part of it. That’s not in the press release but is from different conversations that we’ve had so I don’t know how accurate that is, but all I’m saying is that we got a message about it and we’ve been told that.
I think it’s interesting because they are talking about it as that Formlabs shares the same passion in making sophisticated 3D print technology widely accessible and that they are impressed by Pinshape’s collaborative community and they have no plans to change anything in the platform in the near term. Which I would be surprised if anybody did anything quickly.
What’s unfortunate when you think about it as a business owner, is you build a business and you plan for it to be acquired someday, this is the worst way in the world to do it. You’ve reached the end of your rope financially, clearly you tried to build this company to the point where it would be a good acquisition property and either it just didn’t end up being that way , or whatever it is you are selling for (presumably too much) didn’t work and nobody bought it so you decided to close your doors. Now what’s unfortunate when you decide to close your doors, someone swoops in and sees it as a fire sale and can get the business for a deal now. As much as I would like to hope that Formlabs acquired Pinshape because it was a good platform, they want to see it continue, and they want to see the people that are working there not lose their jobs, the reality is they are a cooperation who saw an opportunity and an inexpensive was to get into it.
Here’s the thing, when we originally talked to Pinshape, they talked about coming out of this incubator and they had a whole different idea about how they wanted to do their business in the incubator. They said no you need to model what’s working in other industries and if you do that successfully then you can expand and move on into these other things that you have ideas for. So what they ended up with this idea that they would create a membership site and then they would sell the membership of it. That’s exactly all the value of what’s left in it. For a company like Formlabs, if you wanted to develop your own Thingiverse it’s easier to buy it than it is to build it.
It’ll be interesting to see if it’s maintained as revenue not being the most important thing. Does it become more about the community or does it become a little more commercial? It’ll be interesting to see what happens over time. Cautionary tale for other people starting businesses, any business whether it’s in the 3D printing industry or not, building a business on a zero revenue model may not work out so well in the long run.
Send us what inspires you or if you have made any CosPlay costume pieces – we would love to see them.
- Shapeways 3D printed the Dorne Dagger
- Shapeways Game of Thrones Marketplace
- Formlabs acquiring Pinshape
- Hazz Design Melisandre Game of Thrones necklace
- Thingiverse Game of Thrones files to download and make your own
- Jimmy Fallon – Trump spoils Game of Thrones for Obama
- 3D printing on tv show CSI
- Pinshape proclaims it’s demise
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