Some of the most fun amateur uses of 3D printing we’ve seen have been from gamers, who have often sought to physically replicate iconic features of their favourite virtual universes. Weapons, helmets and much more besides have been 3D printed to impressive levels of accuracy, with fans of Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series and Bungie’s Destiny games being particularly active on this front. The latest hobbyist to get involved is Youtuber Andrew Sink, who has used 3D printing to make a replica of the laser pistol from Bethesda's Fallout 3.
Sink has a Youtube channel called 3DCentral, where he has posted videos showing a whole host of different 3D printing projects that he’s carried out in the past. Cosplay seems to be a big motivation for a lot of his work, although there are a number of other videos showing 3D printed household decorations, as well as coverage of events in the 3D printing world and practical tutorials on some of the finer technical points of the technology.
The laser pistol from Fallout 3, which he demonstrates grinning from ear to ear in a photo album on his Imgur page, is far from the first gaming-based 3D printed object Sink has produced. Other notable examples include a replica of Junkrat’s Frag Launcher from Overwatch, which was made 7 months ago for New York Comic Con, and a copy of the Traveller’s Bow and Ancient Arrow from Zelda: Breath of the Wild. His latest project was based on a 3D design he got from the hugely popular sharing platform for tech hobbyists, Thingiverse. It was uploaded by a user known as Dragonator, who printed his own version back in 2013. Sink might not have come up with the design, but based on the photos available, his 3D printing expertise has made his own attempt something of an improvement.
The faithfully replicated AEP-7 laser pistol also comes with a custom-built storage case, as well as some extra energy cells which bear a striking resemblance to Duracell AA batteries. Post-printing, Sink has added some intricate stencilling to the case to replicate Army insignia, as well as the omnipresent ‘Nuka-Cola’ logo. It also lights up, thanks to a wire Sink has threaded around the frame, which can be set to pulse mode for an impressively cinematic effect.
As for the gun itself, the paint job closely matches that of the gun from the game, with pinstripes and accurate decals. He also printed the yellow paracord that runs down the side, making a strikingly realistic weapon, albeit one based on an imaginary weapon from a post-apocalyptic future. It even includes the little loading doors at the back, which can pop open in order to put in more energy cells and recharge your laser.
While Fallout 3’s violent and barren science-fiction dystopia is an undeniably appealing part of the game, impressive 3D printing projects such as this mean that the future actually looks a lot brighter than that. It’s promising to see strangers collaborating online to make their fantasies into a reality, and as 3D printing technology continues to evolve and become more accessible, more gaming enthusiasts like Sink will be able to create homemade models of their favourite props, hopefully learning a little about the design process along the way.