3D Printing – Borderlands Sniper Rifle – Part 2

When last we met, I’d just started printing a test print of the rifle handle to see whether it was the right size for my hand.  As the rest of the rifle can be scaled universally, getting this piece the right size would impact the size of the rest of the model.  Below are the results of that test print:

Even though the handle was pretty close, I feel it could be a tiny bit larger, so I’ve increased the size of the model by 3%.  Doing a little measuring within Fusion 360, it turns out that when this entire thing is built it will be over 1.5 metres long!  One thing I was impressed by was how smoothly the model printed – this was my first time using the Simplify3D slicer and it is very good indeed.  I’ve also decided to print the trigger as a separate part for a few different reasons, the main one being that I want to be able to move it, and a secondary one being that the support tower wobbled while it was printing which led to a wobbly print.

After a couple of other tweaks to the model, I decided to start cutting things apart ready for printing.  When something is 3D printed, the software adds support structures so the hot end doesn’t have to end up printing in thin air.  While these supports are generally very good, they can leave little blips or marks on the model where they attach.  With that in mind, I wanted to ensure that I could print as much of the rifle as possible without having to rely on supports.   The part I started with was the calibration dials on the scope – this was a relatively straightforward object, but due to the orientation of some parts of it, I needed to break it apart to print it in a total of 8 separate pieces.

My aim was to have the dial parts the caps slide over the rod I’d added to their bases.  The main body was split in two as it would have to encompass the body of the scope, which would be printed separately.  Technically this worked, although I didn’t allow enough clearance around the rod on the side dial, so I had to snap that off to get the parts to fit.  I didn’t bother to sand or finish this part as I was just testing whether I could get it to fit together properly.  Here’s a couple of pictures of it all stuck together:

I’m going to adjust the model slightly to allow for more clearance on the side parts, as I’d like to be able to have the dials be able to be rotated if possible.  I’ll also do all the sanding, filling and other finishing before I glued it together!

The next part I have printed is the sight.  I wanted to be able to add a piece of clear acrylic with a design printed on it to the middle of the sight, so I had to cut the model up accordingly.  Below are the final parts, which have been filled, sanded and filler primer-ed.  They need to be sanded again and I may have to add some more filler in certain areas too.  I cut the piece of acrylic from a small 3mm sheet that I picked up from Hobbycraft.  The arrow indicates the top as it’s not quite square.  I’ve press-fitted it together in these photos as I’ve still got quite a lot of finishing to do…

More soon!

Part 1

3D Printing – Borderlands Sniper Rifle – Part 1

As some of you may know, I am rather a big fan of the Borderlands games, and I’ve long coveted the idea of making my own version of one of the sniper rifles from the game and now that I have a 3D printer, it seemed like as good a time as any.

Rather than go with something small and simply shaped, which would, you know, be sensible, I’ve gone for this: the Barking Volcano.

I chose this one for three reasons:

  1. It looks cool.
  2. It will give me a serious modelling challenge.
  3. My character already had it so I didn’t need to go looking for another rifle.

I took a bunch of screenshots to use as reference material and jumped into another complete unknown – Autodesk Fusion 360.  Fusion 360 is a CAD/CAM package which operates somewhat differently from the 3D software that I’m used to.  After watching a few tutorials online, I felt I was ready to jump in and start modelling.  Using the side view of the rifle as a canvas, I started with the scope, and the stock and once those were done, moved on to the more complicated shape of the body and handle.

Overall the modelling took about 6-8 hours over a number of days, with quite a few false starts and no small amount of swearing.  I’m pretty happy with the final result.

To make sure that I’d got everything scaled properly, I decided to do a test print of just the handle, as the size of the rifle depends on the size of the handle.

I exported just the handle to Simplify3D and set it up to print.  Results to follow… (part 2)

Lone Echo: This is the VR game you’ve been waiting for.

Ok, so this weekend Lone Echo was released on Oculus.  And oh man it is amazing.  There has been a lack of games in VR that have both the production values and writing of an AAA title, because for the most part developers have been testing the waters and releasing more experimental works, rather than fully fledged games.

Lone Echo changes that.  The writing, the voice acting, the graphics, the interface – everything has the polish that you’d expect from an AAA title.

In it, you play the part of a robot – the ‘Echo’ unit of the title – named (by your human colleague) Jack.  You assist the only other human resident of a mining facility in the rings of Saturn.  The entire game is in zero gravity, which lends itself to the VR medium very well, and the means of getting around – grabbing on to anything and pushing or pulling yourself along, using little hand jets, or later an EVA backpack, use all the benefits that having a head mounted display and hand controllers give you.  In fact, they’ve got the locomotion down so well that there was never a feeling of nausea that can sometimes occur when having free movement in VR.  The immersion is so good, that there were two or three occasions where I had to stop myself from falling over (even though I was standing completely still!) as my brain was totally convinced that I was in free-fall.

Gameplay-wise, the game is a comfortable play.  Probably best to be played standing, but I can see no reason (other than your available space) why it couldn’t be played sitting down.  I did find that while standing I had to adjust my position occasionally because you forget that your feet are actually touching the ground and start to hurt accordingly, as you habitually rock slightly on them in response to things happening in game.

The story is good, the writing and voice acting are all done to a high standard.  The graphics, usually a let down due to the high graphics requirements of the medium itself, are in this case beautiful, there is no stuttering, the textures are for the most part high resolution and unpixellated.

The only minor niggles I have, and they are minor, is that it is sometimes difficult to identify what your next objective is, as (not sure whether this a bug or intentional) the objective marker sometimes doesn’t appear, meaning a lot of floating around looking for something that flashes.  I found this most towards the closing sections of the game, but that could be because the developers assumed that I’d know what I was looking for by then!  Oh, and there’s a couple of bits towards the end which can make you want to throw your controllers with frustration, but even then you want to dive immediately back in and try again.

I have never played a VR game that made me feel so immersed in a fully realised and functioning world.

It also comes bundled with Echo Arena.

Well worth a purchase and I thoroughly recommend.