the stuff dreams are made of

I recently got a Makerbot 3D printer, and I’ve been having a whole lot of fun using it to make silly things.

Last night, though, I made my first legitimately beautiful object: The Maltese Falcon.

The Maltese Falcon The Maltese Falcon

It took about seven hours to make, and these pictures show it inside my Replicator 2 (yes, I have a Replicator in my office. No, it does not make Tea, Earl Grey, Hot … yet), after I cleaned off the supports and took it off the raft.

It turns out the supports were very important. Here’s what happened when I tried to print it without the supports:

The Maltese Failure


For those of you who are interested in specs, I did this with 5% infill, 3 shells, on high resolution.

And for those of you who are interested in all the stuff I’ve made so far, here’s most of my collection:

Wil's CollectionAll these pictures, except the Maltese Failure, can be embiggened by clicking on them.

57 thoughts on “the stuff dreams are made of”

  1. Very impressive! I just keep thinking of the gaming possibilities. Need a kobold army? Print them! You need a figure for your left-handed fighter who wields a morning star and carries a sunshield? Print it!

    1. Makerbot Replicator 2 can only do PLA. Replicator 2X can do other materials as well. The difference is really the heated build plate which makes other materials possible.

  2. I can’t believe you used “embiggened”. The last couple weeks I have been almost saturating my speech with “embiggen” and “cromulent” usage for some reason.

  3. Bahaha that’s awesome!!!
    And I guess you made the smaller TARDIS first, before deciding to see how BIG you can make one? XD That’s pretty awesome.

    I want a 3D printer now…. I might have to check one out..

  4. I am worried that my son would wait till I’m away and print $150 worth of customized smoking apparatus.

  5. Awesome! We bought a 3d printer a few months ago, too. We decided to go with a Lulzbot and love it! and since we are complete nerds we started this site –! We also print custom nerdtags – little leagues, company logos, etc. It’s so much fun! We are building our own printer too. Should be ready in a few weeks.

    We love printing our own parts for random stuff too! All my nieces and nephews got a 3d printed TARDIS or Yoda for Christmas this year! no more buying presents. I’ll just print it! :)

  6. cool I cant wait to get my kickstarter 3d printer qu-bd two-up and see what it can do :-) First thing to print mini Iron Man mask

  7. Wow love the TARDIS :-) I can’t wait to start printing with my kickstarter printer two-up when I get it!!! I feel like a little kid again knowning I can print almost anything :-) just hope the quiality of the prints is good for the cheap price.

  8. Ok, you printed 3 Tardis and you say the Maltese Falcon is “the fist legitimately beautiful object” you printed.

    I am afraid I will have to ask you to turn in your geek card. :)

  9. That’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t help but wondering though how long it’s going to take for the likes of this technology to threaten traditional model making and games businesses though. How much of Games Workshop’s trade, for example, comes from schoolkids blowing their allowance on £5 blister packs with 2 or 3 models in them – with a printer like this, all you need is the materials, which will undoubtedly become cheaper over time, a design template, and patience. Why pay £200 for a model army when you can make it yourself in a weekend for a fraction of the cost.

  10. lol seeing that video was what made me model the Falcon that Will Printed and upload it to thingiverse. Its like an infinite loop or something. Ironically or maybe not, I immediately wanted to remodel a much more accurate version after I printed this one. It’s a sickness.

  11. Sorry for posting this here, but all the book related posts appear to have the comment section closed.

    I am trying to pick up a digital copy of “Just a Geek” (not the audio book, a regular ebook) and I could not find any offers outside of Amazon. I suspect there must be some other place at which your books are available digitally because some of them were released in a Humble eBook Bundle. I can buy it on Amazon, remove the DRM and convert it, so I can read it on my reader (not a Kindle), but I think if I buy through Amazon, less of the money will actually go to you. So is there any other way to get your books?

  12. Awesome. You can start printing trophies for Tabletop. In fact you can print runner up trophies for the not-winners. I could actually do the design for you.

    No, even better you should hold a contest. Design a trophy for tabletop, bonus points if it prints without needing support, winner gets flown out to California to participate in an episode of Tabletop. ‘Cause Wil can just spring for airfare like that, right?

  13. I believe it’s also available via Google Books, which I think at least eliminates the DRM aspect, possibly (though not sure if that’s any better, in terms of amount-Wil-gets-paid).

    As for the actual post at hand – I am so jealous. I wish I could justify buying a 3d printer, but I really, *really* can’t. Yet. :)

  14. This is your model?! AWESOME! I keep trying to upload pictures to Thingiverse so you could see that I made one, but it hasn’t been working for me.

    Thanks for making such a beautiful model! You’re a talented builder.

    1. Thanks man. I’m glad you like it. I’m still sort of geeking out that a cast member of STNG made something I sculpted on their Replicator. Let me know if there’s something not on Thingiverse you’d like to print, I’m always sculpting new stuff for fun.

  15. Hey Wil. Good to see there is still much Gallifreyan in you. I love the Police Box models. I used to make balsa wood ones when I was a kid. Maybe try a Dalek?

  16. My friends and I were playing Ticket to Ride Germany on New Years Eve. We were talking about how my watching your Tabletop video started our addiction to the game. He has like 3 versions of the game and 2 expansions. I have 2 versions and 1 expansion.. Its crazy.

    Then we said how funny it would be if they had a BBT episode where Sheldon is playing Ticket to Ride since he loves trains and games with you in the episode. Then someone should at some point “Wheaton” the board. It would be funny somehow if your wife somehow could do it. all of us who have seen Tabletop would laugh for days!.

    Have a Happy New year!!


  17. Hey Wil! Awesome 3D Printing – This is Wayne, creator of the Last Supper Artwork, thats now behind the Loser’s Couch. Hope you had a great Christmas! I recently tried my hand at my very first 3D Model design and printing – a robot!

    Also, after having another quiet Christmas break, I had an idea for a new artwork to celebrate Season 2 of Tabletop. Hope you like it.

    You’re in it again:

    Happy New Year!

  18. I’m waiting for the iPad Structure Sensor to try 3D scanning some objects and then sending them off to 3D print somewhere first. If those look good, I’ll probably end getting a 3D printer at some point as well. How long did it take to print some of these? Are you planning to do any 3D scanning of stuff around your house to print?

  19. I’ve printed a d12, and it looked great (nice, sharp edges), though it was a little light. I suppose that if I made it 100% infill, so it was solid, it would be a little heavier.

    I plan to make an entire set of gaming dice soon, though, and I’ll post about it when I do.

    1. The question, and problem, with 3D printed dice is fairness. I’ve done some experimenting with 3D printed dice and discovered that the more hollow a printed dice is the more fair it tends to be, a conclusion which I just can not account for. Also, sharp corners, as opposed to round ones, helps counteract any unfairness, which is kind of a problem with a d12.

  20. cewl dude. i’m interrested in knowing where you downloaded this model. fun fact: the maltese falcon is apparently being hunted to extinction for some very popular courtship ritual in malta…okay maybe not so fun

  21. I know the printers range from $1,799USD to $3,000USD, what about the object scanners? (I really don’t have a preference between analog, laser or displacement method based scanners)

    1. Kevin, you might check out the structure sensor KS that just ended last year for an iPad compatible sensor you can use for object scanning. The KS backer sensors are set to ship out in Feb and March, but I think they are planning to keep the price around $250 after that.

  22. Do the Tardis’ (es?) nest? Inside each other, I mean, I’m not enquiring about their personal home building/sprucing habits.

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