We’ve been great fans of the amazing Overwatch game from Blizzard and even have been at the launch event in Singapore and gotten a Reaper’s Mask printed and autographed (but that’s another story). Thinking larger, we decided to do another iconic and some what polarizing piece from the game – Torbjorn’s Turret. This will be a quick recap of our journey in taking this through the process of 3d modelling through 3d printing and the post-processing and finishing for the turret.
The first step required sourcing for reference images for this model, which allows all-round views of the piece so we can re-create it without too much hassle. Thankfully a google image search trawled up a massive library of in-game screenshots and some nice fanart which gives a good based to start off on. Now, there are always going to be some subtle difference from source to source and also some of our own stylistic or engineering additions to the final piece so we typically aren’t too worried about keeping things 100% screen accurate in this case.
A massive drool-worthy collection of reference images. We did lose some time at this stage as we kept jumping back into the game and mucking around in it too much. But after getting fragged a sufficient number of times, we ploughed onwards …
So after dropping a good reference image into Rhino, the long process of getting the various pieces modelled up gets started. It’s typically a good idea to take a look at the model from all angles from time to time to get a sense that things are going to plan and all the proportions look right before you get too far along. Thanfully, the symmetry of this piece also helped.
Through the modelling process, as we were modelling for 3d printing, it was also important to visualize how to seperate the pieces for printing and how to insert internal scaffolding for stability and easy assembling/dis-assembling for moving it around. More on that below.
After countless caffeine-addled hours, we finally got the model done up. At this point, the scale is not firmed up though we are thinking of something large enough to be striking and can be used for posing by cosplayers and such.
For creating the structural scaffolding for Torbjorn’s turret, the choice was to go with inexpensive and readily available PVC piping. As a bonus, this is also a material which can be easily trimmed down to length as needed. Putting a representative pipe in the model and creating numerous duplicates (with the necessary tolerances dialed in) let us hollow out the part where we wanted to use the PVC pipe to join the pipes. As mentioned, this is an inexpensive way of allowing for a break apart model and also gives a lot of strength to the entire structure.
From there, it was then on to the drudgery of separating all the individual parts for 3d printing. To be fair, it was also tedious to keep track of all the parts we were generating but as we went along, it just ended up that the parts got named by the convention of “PART_Position” so we have files like “TurretInner_Left_MidBack” that got shortformed to something like “TurretInner_L_MB” for ease of working with.
And thusly, the long process of slicing things up like a prodigious butcher of 3d models began. In the interest of time, we had actually sent the first few pieces for printing as we continued to slice things up. This turned out to be a fortuitous decision because as we went along, we discovered some really silly mistakes and miscalculations for the earlier pieces which we then fixed for the later parts.
And so, this was part 1 of our journey through 3d modelling and 3d printing Tobjorn’s turret. Roughly it was around 10-15 hours on just this stage of the 3d modelling and separating for 3d print.
The journey continues in Part 2 where we takes the parts to 3d printing through assembly, post-processing and finally begin able to pose/play with it! Stay tuned! =)