3D printed scale armor

Thingiverse user Krest has posted a file to help you print your own scale armor on your MakerBot or other 3D printer: "Print, paint, and tie together, that's it."

Although Krest’s shoulder scale armor uses leather cords which can be adjusted for fit, I think it would be really interesting to use an elastic cord so that the armor could bend and flex. While not nearly as authentic, it would also be interesting to use loops on the inside of each scale instead of holes which might allow for a seamless appearing exterior.

Awesome Scale Armor by Krest


  1. I was going to post a question about why 3D print when you might as well use old soup cans, spent coconuts or old football shoes.

    But then I thought why bother.

  2. Medieval swords and armour with modern materials and engineering would be pretty damn cool.

    Maybe we should come up with some new rules of war…

  3. Neat. Another way to eliminate the visible cords, and be more true to the original, would be to pierce the scale only at the top and fix them to an underlying surface instead of each other. While it may be more authentic to use leather, a tight and elastic cloth would work great. When attaching, start at the bottom row and work upwards.

    1. Agreed.  I was going to suggest the same thing.
      Cover the very top with a strip of leather or shoulder pauldrons of some kind.
      Several layered, stiff, leathery pieces, or a single metallic plate should work well.

    2. There is a type of armour called a klibanion that had the scales laced or even stapled to each other instead of to a layer beneath. It originated with Persian  heavy cavalry and was adopted by the Romans and the  Byzantines. Klibanions are fairly easy to make.You can’t go to an SCA tournament without seeing a couple variations of them.

      Variations on the scale pattern with different decorative motifs could be really cool. How strong is the sintered plastic?

  4. 3-D printing is awesome for complex shapes. Using it to make flat scales seems like a waste of the technology- you could just stamp a thousand scales out of steel or leather cheaper with better results. Now, if the scales had something like dragons embossed on each one, I could see that as more interesting, but I don’t think this example is a good use of a printer.

    1. Whoa. The end result looks simply awesome.

      I hadn’t been back to that site in years… not since ordering 35 pounds of galvanized steel rings to make a 4-in-one pattern chain shirt for a Halloween costume. Though the result was great, and I’m glad I learned to do it, I had grossly underestimated the hours it would take. By the end I had forearms like Popeye.

  5. When 3D-printed, each individual scale can have a *unique* shape
    – adjusted to follow the body shape of an individual
    – and adjusted to degree of movement of that individuals body
    – while offering maximum protection 
    – and hopefully great visual effect,
    combining the customization only true craftsmanship could offer with the cost optimization of automatized production

    Industrial designers everywhere, please join forces!
    Design and print *unique* objects only!
    (otherwise, why use a 3D printer, srsly?)

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