I’m fascinated with making toys that don’t exist. Since I got into 3D Printing and 3D scanning, new avenues of creativity have opened up for me. I recently joined a toy making challenge to do something to an existing Godzilla toy. Unfortunately Australia Post took a week to deliver my raw toy and I didn’t have that time to spare. But luckily my wife is a big Godzilla fan and she had a bigger version of the toy, so I decided to scan that and get started on my quest while I waited!
I wanted to make a cross between Godzilla and Grimlock from Transformers. I really only needed the body section, so I pulled off the arms and legs, sealed up the holes with masking tape and dusted the figure with dry spray shampoo before scanning it with my Pop v1 scanner. Here you can see my desk top set up, with my black felt covered scanning stage. I now know to scan in extremely low light levels to reduce noise on my mesh surfaces. The Pop 1 struggles with targets smaller than an orange, so this project was pushing hard against its technical limitations.
Once I had the mesh, I could trim it in Revo Studio and print it out on my Elegoo Mars SLA printer. Here is my clear plastic copy of the body alongside the original piece. The loss of detail that is a side effect of my Pop 1 scans was luckily minimised by printing at a smaller size than the original.
Now I could really get to work and start sculpting up a lumpy robotic version of the dinosaur, using Kleenclay that I salvaged from a Star Wars studio dumpster twenty years ago!
Being an Old School modelmaker, I’m always frustrated with problems in 3D modelling where a simple tweak in the real world could solve everything! This hybrid real/digital workflow allows me the best of both worlds!
Here are all my clay sculpted components ready to be scanned again. By this time the egregiously late postal toy had turned up, far too late for the party!
After a second round of scanning and printing, I had my finished figure ready to paint. I shared some Work In Progress pics with my fellow Toy Challengers and one of them wrote
“Everyone else: I’m running low on time, I think i’ll do a cool paint job on mine. @Lewis P Morley: I’M GOING TO 3D SCULPT A 13 POINT ARTICULATED ROBOT PRINT IT, SCULPT ON IT, SCAN IT THEN 3D PRINT IT AGAIN AND I’LL DO IT IN 4 DAYS.”
I had to chuckle, I did have four points of articulation, but because I didn’t have the time to engineer it properly, I ended up gluing everything solid! I also didn’t have time to shop for paints, so I grabbed whatever was hanging around the garage. I’d run out of clear smoke paint for the transparent neck, so I dusted black temporary hair dye on the plastic and sealed in it with clear auto lacquer.
- And believe it or not, I actually did do all of the work in the four days my pals joked about! Here’s my finished Gorimrok on the left, the original Godzilla toy in the middle and my inspiration, a vintage Transformer on the right. In the old days I’d have had to make a silicone mould and cast my parts in Urethane resin. Now I can scan a piece, adjust the mesh in RevoStudio, 3DBuilder and zBrush, then put it into my printer and go to bed. Barring disasters, next morning I will have a finished piece waiting for me to paint or modify and scan again.
Without home scanning, I could never have done this Challenge on such a tight schedule. The freedom to be able to put an object into the digital realm, any time day or night and get results within an hour for a reasonable cost outlay is still pretty jaw dropping. I’ll never have to pay someone else to do my scans again!
…and best of all, today my new Revopoint Mini arrived. This means the quality and detail of my home scans are about to go to a whole new level.
You can see more of my toy work and scanning adventures at