Have you recently gotten a 3D printer? Many people who start with 3D printing have always had an interest in 3D printed action figures. I mean, why wouldn’t they, if you can 3D print your action figures yourself, wouldn’t that be so cool?
Whenever you want, you can get your favorite action figure printed on your 3D printer. And they turn out to be quite amazing most of the time as well. So, keeping up with that here, I will go through all you need to know about 3D printing action figures.
If you are new to the 3D printing world, then this article will help you find all the answers regarding 3D printing and action figures. Without wasting any more time, let’s get started with it right away.
How do you 3D print an action figure?
There are several steps that you need to follow to print your action figures. The first one is pretty obvious that you will need a 3D printer. Now, you have to go through two options, whether you want a resin printer or a filament printer. Usually, a filament printer works the best for action figures.
Once you are over that, you can move on to the other core steps that are related to the action figure 3D printing. Here, I will go through those factors that play a crucial role in 3D printing an action figure. Let’s get through them one by one.
The kind of action figure you want
The first thing to go through is what kind of action figure do you want to print with your 3D printer. There are typically two types of action figures that you can try out for your purposes. One is a static action figure, and one is a posable or articulated action figure.
Static action figures are those that don’t usually move. They are printed in a single pose and stable. You can adjust your action figure’s arms, legs, or body. They are more like showpieces that you can use as a display. You can use a resin printer or a filament printer for printing static action figures.
The other types of action figures are the articulated ones. These are the ones that you can use in various poses and styles of the same character. These are a bit more advanced in the printing process and require a lot of complexity as well. However, they are also quite popular because you can change how they appear in the character’s posing.
So, before starting the process, you will need to decide whether you want a static action figure or a possible one. Even though there aren’t many differences in the printing process, there are some things you will need to do additionally for the articulated action figures.
Also, if you have a resin printer, then don’t try out articulated action figures on them because the results won’t be that good. Usually, the figures you make turn out to be static anyway.
Getting the files
Once you decide on the type of action figure, you can move on to the files. You can get design files for your desired action figures in several ways.
The easiest and quickest method is to download files from the existing 3D printable file websites out there. Websites like Thingiverse.com or Pinshape.com are quite popular for 3D printable action figure files. You can find a lot of different action figures from these websites. Download the files that meet your requirements.
However, if you don’t find the appropriate file or design that satisfies you, then you can move on to another method. Here, you will be creating your files by yourself. The only problem here is that you will need to have some design and sculpting skills on the digital software.
You can use software like Brush, Maya, MakeHuman, or Autodesk Mudbox to create your design files. These are some popular choices for creating any action figure you want to have.
The last method you can try out is using a scanner. There are scanners that you can use for creating 3D printable files. This method works great when you have to copy an existing design properly. It also works when you want to create an action figure of yourself. Or you can use websites like shapify.me or myfaceonafigure.com to print action figures that represent yourself.
These three are the ways to get your desired 3D printable action figure files. You are not restricted to the websites I discussed here; you can roam around and find a lot of different choices out there.
Choosing the material
If you are using a resin printer, there are not many things to discuss there. But if you are using a filament printer, you will have to consider which material you are choosing. Typically, there are two popular choices that you have to go through. It’s either ABS or PLA.
With ABS filament, you can end up with action figures with good strength and last for quite a long time. They can withstand tough conditions pretty easily as well. These materials are great for printing articulated or posable action figures because they go through more physical movement than static action figures.
Now, the issue with ABS filament is that you will need to work with them carefully. They are harder to handle. Also, they can go through issues like warping very easily if there is not enough adhesion on the bed.
On the other hand, PLA is a very easy material to use. It’s much more forgiving. Even if you have some settings here and there with PLA, you can expect to get a decent print from them every time.
When it comes to choosing one, I would highly recommend going with PLA as a beginner. But if you have prior experience of using ABS, then you can go with it. Also, if you consider the strength of the action figure, ABS will serve that purpose better than PLA.
- 3d printed Keycaps
- 3D Printed Slug
- 3d Printed Legos
- 3D Printed Catan
- 3D Printed Fishing Lures
- 3D Printed PC Case
- 3D Printed Elephant
- 3d Printed Anime Figures
- 3D Printed RC plane
- 3D Printed RC Car
- 3d Printed Action Figure
- 3D Printed Gears
- 3D Printed Iron Man Suit
- 3D Printed Cast
- 3D Printed Helmet
- 3D Printed Bongs
- 3D Printed Wallet
- 3D printed Fidget toy
- 3D Printed Pokemon
- 3D Printed Keychain
- 3D Printed Skull
- 3D Printed Engine
- 3D Printed Sword
The printing procedure
Now that you have your designs ready and know which material to use, you can proceed to the printing process. Here’s how you do it –
- Start with printing every STL file for all the different pieces. Usually, it’s better to print the parts separately and glue them together later.
- After printing the parts of a figure, you have to remove all kinds of ridges. This is important when you use the filament printing method. With a resin printer, you may not need any sanding whatsoever.
- Then, you have to move on to painting your printed parts. It’s better to print the parts separately before assembling them. You can paint however you want, but using primer paint to spray at the beginning is a good practice to follow.
- After the painting is done, you will need to assemble the pieces one by one. Here, you will see a difference between static figures and articular figures. With static figures, you just need to glue the parts together.
With articular figures, the process is a bit complicated. You will need to use the snap-fit ball and socket connection that come with the printable files for assembly. Here, you have to be very careful when you are assembling the figure because the balls on them can easily snap off.
- When you are done with the assembly, you can move on to the next step, which is adding details to the figure. What you do here is entirely dependent on the design and models you are printing. Also, this step can be a bit tricky for beginners as it’s a pretty delicate process to add the details.
That’s pretty much it for the printing process of your favorite action figures. As you can see, it’s very simple and straightforward. Now, sometimes, you can also get designs that come already assembled. In that case, you won’t have to go through the assembly process on them.
As for the articulated action figures, printers and printable files allow you to get those socket and ball connections already inside the designs.
Popular sites for action figure STL files
Well, the obvious site for finding a quality 3D printable file is thingiverse.com. Here, you can get 3D printable files for free. Along with that, there are some other options, such as –
You can also find plenty of sites out there that provide you with downloadable files for 3D printing your action figures.
To sum up, getting a 3D printed action figure just becomes too easy and affordable when you have a 3D printer. As you know by now, it’s not that difficult to print your action figures all by yourself. Whether you want these figures for yourself or you want to start up a business out of this, you can do it all.