3D Printed Chainmail: Best Models For DIY Armor Sets
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3D printing costumes and costume additions is a great way to add your own personal twist to your fantasy wardrobe, and sometimes it’s hard to argue against a classic. 3D printed chainmail is another way to achieve a classic look for any number of historical eras or high fantasy settings, and the timeless appeal will prove itself useful time and time again.
- Can You 3D Print Chainmail?
- Why 3D Print Chainmail Armor?
- 3D Printing Chainmail Armor: Hints and Tips
- Cool 3D Printed Chainmail
- Classic Chainmail
- Bonus: Chainmail Necktie
3D printing chainmail costumes is a worthwhile endeavor for a variety of reasons, many of them fun, and here we’ll discuss why and how to make your own armor, as well as some of the coolest 3D printed chainmail files on the internet today.
Can You 3D Print Chainmail?
While it’s unlikely that you have a 3D printer capable of replicating metal chainmail, the fact is you can 3D print chainmail that looks quite close to the real deal.
Because chainmail is effectively a bunch of tightly interlocked chains, it can be an intricate and complex project, though still well within the grasp of anyone who’s willing to put in the time.
Why 3D Print Chainmail Armor?
Even fake metal chainmail is very heavy and somewhat cumbersome to wear. In fact, it’s so burdensome that most of the armor in famed surreal comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail is actually just yarn that’s been spraypainted gray.
Whether you’re after a Halloween disguise, are an avid LARPer, or need a specific kind of armor set for your next cosplay outing, 3D printing chainmail costumes is a cheaper and lighter alternative to buying or commissioning metal replicas.
If done well, 3D printed chainmail armor can be practically indistinguishable from the real thing, at least in aesthetics, so there’s no reason not to give it a try regardless of your reasons. Just don’t expect 3D printed chainmail to be of much use in an actual battlefield, though if you find yourself in that situation then I’m afraid you’ve got much bigger problems than the price of fake armor.
Just follow our helpful hints and tips below and you’ll be ready for (imaginary) battle in no time.
3D Printing Chainmail Armor: Hints and Tips
As I’ve said, 3D printing any chainmail design will be a more complex project that your standard 3D printed cosplay additions. But fear not, there are just a few simple things to keep in mind before you get printing.
Here are some hints and tips to help you get printing with confidence.
Decide Your Style Ahead of Time
While many of us already have an idea of what a traditional chainmail pattern looks like, there are actually a lot of different kinds.
Whether you’re designing to print in different colors to boast a particular symbol or logo, or are looking to put a modern spin on the old style, it’s important to have a look well laid out in your head before you get to printing.
This includes shape, color, size, and which filament is best depending on how you want to use it.
Don’t Shy Away from Larger Rings
The many rings that link up chainmail are usually seen as very small, with thousands of them making up a complete piece of armor. While this is useful for the battlefield, it can be incredibly time- and resource-consuming when 3D printing chainmail armor.
Larger rings will be easier to manage and print, and shouldn’t detract from your overall aesthetic. Remember, you’re not making armor to be used the way it was originally designed, so little changes like this will help make the process a little bit easier.
If, however, you’d rather a more traditional look and are already confident in your 3D printing skills, then don’t be afraid to go for smaller rings if you’re happy enough to do so.
Print at an Angle
The chains of 3D printed chainmail are supposed to link together seamlessly, which your printer will struggle to do if the design is laid flat. While most of the 3D printed chainmail files we’ll look at today already compensate for this, it’s an important tip to remember if you happen be designing your chainmail file from scratch.
Haste Makes Waste
As is the case with all 3D printer projects, keeping your print speed settings on the lower end of the scale will help you get more accurate results and reduce the chances of a failed print. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and chainmail is no different.
So while you may be itching to get your 3D printed chainmail armor up and ready to be donned, having a little more patience with your print time can be crucial to getting the best results. I promise it will be worth the wait.
Make Sure Your Print Bed is Level
Checking to make sure your printing bed is level is an important part of 3D printing, but is made even more crucial when 3D printing chainmail. Because the rings need to be uniform to properly link together, the chainmail will warp and become mishappen if printed at too much of an angle.
If your 3D printer doesn’t have automatic bed leveling, then you can easily check for this before printing by using a ruler or a piece of paper on each corner of the build plate to make sure everything is on the straight and narrow before you get started.
Cool 3D Printed Chainmail
Now that you’ve got a good idea of how to 3D print chainmail armor, let’s take a look at some of the coolest files across the internet. From the historically accurate to the fantastical, old-school to creative twists, here are some of the best chainmail design ideas you can try out and try on today.
- Download: Propsmaker
- Price: $39.99
When we think of a chainmail pattern, quite often we think of the classic look of knitted metal that we can see in the classic design here.
While the files may seem a bit costly, remember that they account for a full adult-sized, wearable 3D chainmail armor set that belongs on any cosplay from a Templar knight to a Fellowship member looking to return the one ring from whence it came.
The chainmail files themselves come in four different prints to account for all four sides of the shirt instead of printing the whole thing as a large sheet.
There’s also a file for individual rings in case you need to lengthen or repair the armor. Also included is a pre-designed test print to ensure your settings are ideal for maximizing print success.
Speaking of reducing the chance of failure, the files also give you a PDF detailing the recommended print settings, so using these along with the test print should have you 3D printing your chainmail armor with confidence.
This 3D printed chainmail is deceptively quick, not accounting for print time. All the little details and nuisances have been worked out and accounted for by the designer, making it ideal for beginners as well as seasoned 3D printing enthusiasts.
- Download: flowalistik
- Price: Free
If you’re planning on printing your chainmail to include different colors or even sport a logo or symbol, then this modular design should be perfect for you. It’s made up of many individual pieces that connect together, meaning they can be printed in different colored batches to create any kind of visual design you like.
This is perfect for those of you who want a polychrome armor set but only have access to a single extruder printer, so as long as you have the design and colors planned out ahead of time, you can make this armor unique to you in countless ways.
- Download: Burcotech
- Price: Free
While it’s often debated as to whether the strongest shape known to man is the hexagon or triangle, almost no one will deny that the former pattern is the most mathematically efficient. Mathematicians know it, engineers know it, bees know it, and now you do too.
Because of this, hexagonal chainmail is often seen in more modern or sci-fi settings as efficient, strong armor that looks a lot more futuristic than you standard knight get-up.
The hexagon prints are attached the a base of simple 3D printed chainmail for the desired effect. It’s a simple print that can be manipulated however you like to be anything from simple shoulder padding to a fully wearable 3D printed armor set.
Parametric Chainmail Gauntlet
- Download: BeAMaker
- Price: Free
This parametric chainmail pattern is easily manipulatable to suit whatever kind of armor you need. Perfect for beginners, the design itself is simple and the link above even includes a very handy tutorial for those of you who are still a little unsure.
While ideally made with a Fusion360, you can 3D print this chainmail with any printer so long as you follow the designer’s advice. So if you’re a newcomer to 3D printing or are still just a little unsure, this is an excellent starting point for anyone looking to 3D print their own chainmail armor simply and easily.
Bonus: Chainmail Necktie
- Download: tjwatson
- Price: Free
If you’re LARPing or cosplaying, then you’re likely already having fun with your 3D printed chainmail, but what about having a little touch for equally fun occasions that may not necessarily require a suit of armor?
Here we have the new and improved 3D printed chainmail necktie, modified from a less efficient version, it’s a fun and easy 3D print that stands out as a piece of formalwear for fun occasions like holiday dinners or birthday outings.
If you love your 3D printed chainmail and want an excuse to wear it in more settings, then look no further than this.