This is a super-nerdy post that encompasses online gaming, 3D-printing, and one awesome kick-ass summer project for one awesome kick-ass gamer.
You have been warned.
Still here? OK!
There’s a game I play on my PlayStation 4.
It’s called DESTINY.
It’s a team game and it is awesome to play online with friends. There was a gun in the previous version (aka ‘year one’/vanilla Destiny, we’re now into year two, The Taken King (which is awesome btw, you should get it)) that everybody hated.
It was called THORN.
It looks like this:
The weapon still exists in-game (but was nerfed for year two) and was, for most of the first year of Destiny, the bane of many a player. If you completed the epic quest to get said gun (and used it when playing other people online) you were not liked at all.
Why? It was a two hit kill, with a sniper-rifle-like rangeÂ and poison-laced bullets.
It was a horrid, horrid gun.
My friends hated it.
I hated it.
So, when you really want to say a proper cheeky but really massive thank you to someone you play with online for being an awesome Destiny gamer over the past year or so, what better gift to get them than the 3D-printed model of the gun they hate most?
This is how it happened.
I work at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and, fortunately for me, as part of Ogilvy Group UK, we get access to the awesome people that work at Ogilvy Labs.
Ogilvy Labs just so happen to have a 3D printer.
An Ultimaker 2, to be precise.
This one, in fact.
After chasing it down in the building (things can wander) it transpired that my mate Jon just so happened to be looking after it.
‘Could you do me a favour, Jon?’
‘Sure man, send me the files and let me have a look and we’ll see.’
Fortunately, 3D print files can be found relatively easily online (why charge for something that you need a Â£2,000 machine to print in the first place, right?) and so after a short spot of Googling, I found the files on My Mini Factory (free sign up to download but if you’re REALLY lazy, I’ve saved them for you right here).
Jon reckoned he could do it but asked that I bought my own plastic. The exact type required for our machine was 3mm PLA 100m coil. Faberdashery is a pretty good website for this kinda stuff and for Â£24, it had exactly what I needed.
A few days later, we were in business.
And Jon (and his man, Lorenzo) got to work.
A few weeks later… this appeared.
This is the barrel of the gun known as THORN.
It took a few hours and the other parts, according to the experts, were definitely going to take longer. That is, if they worked out at all. The printer was used to much smaller jobs you see and they’d never put it through its paces like this before.
But the thing about Ogilvy folk, they’re a tad determined…
Two weeks later, I had a call from Jon.
‘Can you pop down, mate. I wanna show you something.’
And he did.
The whole thing looked fantastic and, to top it off (and something I didn’t spot when I downloaded the files) you could put an elastic band inside so that the trigger would actually work with the hammer as a faux firing mechanism.
Eleven separate parts, two of which can move together, printed over several days and we were almost there.
OK, so maybe only halfway there.
The other thing that you need to create something like this is access to some artistic talent. Someone who could turn their hand to a project like this and be almost guaranteed outstanding results.
I happen to know that someone.
And this is what she did…
Step one: disassemble and spray paint the base layer.
Step two: reassemble and admire handy work.
Step three: apply black paint.
Step four: scratch black paint away (to get the rugged, worn away / grubby look the gun sports in-game).
Step five: Add a dash of green to the ‘eyes’ for the poison and…
YOUR GUN IS COMPLETE!
You may now sit back and admire your handy work.
Isn’t it gorgeous?
It made me very, very happy.
Thank you to Jon, Lorenzo, and Annabelle. You have made a gamer named Phil very, very happy indeed.
That My Mini Factory link above has this gun, fully printed and painted for $299. It cost me Â£24 and two fairly large favours [pending].
Yeah, I’d say that worked out alright.
If you have a PS4 and play Destiny, feel free to add me on PSN. ‘Whatleydude’ is the handle (of course) and you should definitely, definitely seek out the gaming clan ‘MidlifeGamer’ – a nicer bunch of gaming men and women I never did meet.