3D printing armour 101?

Chooka

New Member
Hey gang! So I have recently got myself a 3D printer, and it has reinvigorated my suit dream. I started messing around splitting a helm into printable pieces, but i can’t seem to split/orient the piece so that there isn’t an obscene amount of supports.

Is there a trick to printing rounded pieces without cutting it into a thousand pieces?
 

Alpha

Active Member
Oh man. Can of worms here :). First off, welcome to the party! Many of us have taken upon 3D printing as a primary method of armor making (me included). The biggest limitation you will have is your print area. Im a firm believer in maximizing that in order to reduce assembly work. That being said you have to smart about it. As you have experienced some orientations require a lot of supports. Sometimes this is unavoidable. But here are some things you can do to minimize the number of supports.

1. Always put the flatest part of the print on the bottom. If you are slicing a part up this should always leave you with a flat piece. Make sure that is the bottom.
2. Dont be restricted to 90 degree cuts. Cut in such a way that the 'build' will be vertical. For example if a part curves at 45 degrees, make the cut a 45 degree cut to match.
3. Cut smaller to minimize overhangs.

We are here to help with any questions you have. Good luck!
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Welcome to the topic that I can probably talk about for days on end if you let me. I've recently finished up a printed Mark VI CQB variant and am in the final stages of painting with CplYapFlip on her Mark V variant. I covered a bunch of different aspects of building and designing a printed suit in my build thread which is linked below if you want to read about how to harden and help preserve a suit.
Halo Legends: Spartan Daisy-023

For print orientation specifically Bucs37DK knocked it out of the park. Orient your parts with as much flat surface to the printbed as possible while reducing overhangs which eat up support material. Sometimes you'll be forced into printing with a bunch of support but that's just the way the cookie crumbles unfortunately for some pieces unless you want to split each section up so much that it becomes a jigsaw puzzle and your post processing time increases substantially.

For rounded pieces specifically, I'm not quite sure what you mean, is there an example part you're having issues with?
 

Chooka

New Member
This is great info! Thanks!
I’ll have to look into your build and see what you did :)

As to the round question. I’m in the process of printing an EVA helm for an Emile build. I split it in 4 (minus the lens), and the ‘jaw’ pieces are relatively quick (13h) but the back of the head pieces have wicked overhang...so one took 30h with a boat load of support :/ so short of a mini jigsaw for the helm...I think this is my fate lol. The rest of the suit, I can see a bit how to split it to not have a ton of support....I think.
 

SI3RRA 117

Well-Known Member
Turbo and Buc are steering you in the right direction. Sometimes you can even get away without support if the overhang is gradual enough. Even a little drooping on the inside faces doesn’t concern me too much on my builds. But you’ll get it. You’ll have successful prints and you’ll have failed prints it’s just the nature of the game. I’d be tempted to try a round 1/4 of a helmet with no support unless there’s some outright 90 degree pieces. You can also play with the support blocker too. Only putting supports where you think you’ll really need them.
 
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Chooka

New Member
Awesome. Thanks guys. I will keep at er! Likely start my own thread :)

Now for sizing. Anyone have a good pic of how a head should fit in an EVA helm? I have some of it printed, and of course it’s ridged so it’s pointy in some spots, but I’m worried it’s too small, but barely. Do many people convert the...entrance(?) to rubber or foam, so it doesn’t slice your neck up?
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Awesome. Thanks guys. I will keep at er! Likely start my own thread :)

Now for sizing. Anyone have a good pic of how a head should fit in an EVA helm? I have some of it printed, and of course it’s ridged so it’s pointy in some spots, but I’m worried it’s too small, but barely. Do many people convert the...entrance(?) to rubber or foam, so it doesn’t slice your neck up?
I highly recommend checking out Vanity, it's a great tool for seeing how different armour components attach to your SPARTAN Operative.
 

Callianis

New Member
I stick to 3D printing for props, helmets and accessories whereas the armour itself I'll turn to foamsmithing :)

I cut an ODST helmet up into about 15 pieces just because I wanted to minimise external supports, especially in all those grooves. Unless you want to have to align and glue together heaps of pieces, you'll have a time trying to manage the amount of supports :) Just aim to orient the piece so that there's more supports on the inside than outside. Sometimes I aim for external quality even if it means more supports on the inside.

To help give me an idea on if the helmet was the right size, I've 2 methods;
1. I cut and print 1 or more cross sections of the helmet. Such as the opening, and at chin or eye level. Below is a sample where I went a bit further than that and printed a few cross sections. The blue scrap foam was to simulate the internal padding (but I think as a result I made it too big). The aim is to get the sizing right before committing to the time and filament for a whole helmet.
2. I bit the bullet and bought the Armor Smith software where I can attach PDO and 3D files to a mannequin roughly my size, scale the parts and then export them.
270567
 
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