3D Printed Chain Mail Armor: 170×230 mm Sheet

So, with the change of two parameters, the OpenSCAD program can model a 170×230 mm sheet:

Chain Mail Armor - Full Platform Sheet

Chain Mail Armor – Full Platform Sheet

That works out to a 9×13 array of 117 armor buttons sitting amid 140 connecting links, with two threads = 0.8 mm between adjacent links.

It’s quite imposing in black PLA:

Chain Mail Armor Buttons - full sheet on platform

Chain Mail Armor Buttons – full sheet on platform

The skirt thickness varies from 0.15 mm in the X-Y+ corner to 0.25 mm at X+Y-. That’s so close I’m not even tempted to adjust the screws.

As before, all those links pop off right the cool platform without any fuss; the joints had good clearance, the bridges worked, and nothing required post-processing:

Chain Mail Armor Buttons - full sheet folded

Chain Mail Armor Buttons – full sheet folded

You can’t make this through subtractive machining. You can’t make it using molding, either, because the links have barely a sliver  of air on all sides: there’s no room for the mold and no way to extract the sheet of links. You could, I suppose, use lost-wax / lost-plastic casting, but cutting the sprue and vent off every link would get really tedious really fast.

Of course, you’re looking at a 5 MB STL file, 22 MB of G-Code, nine continuous hours of printing, and 120 grams of PLA: it’s the largest “single” object I’ve ever printed…


  1. #1 by jim oslislo on 2014-12-05 - 10:00

    Have you figured a way to connect one sheet to another?

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-12-05 - 11:24

      Yup! Watch this spot. [grin]

      Basically, split an armor link horizontally, just above where the crossbars from adjacent links pass through, which is a slight tweak to the existing link model. Then put the two bottom bars across the sheet joint and glue the button on top: done! The fiddly parts involve lining up all the links and holding them in place while gluing the buttons.

      Fortunately, the job scales linearly with the sheet size; the annoyance is the square root of fiddling with every single link in the sheet.

      I joined two big sheets freehand and decided the task obviously calls for a gluing fixture that I haven’t built… and won’t, unless somebody wants a lot of armor.

      • #3 by smellsofbikes on 2014-12-05 - 13:16

        My then-gf tried to talk me into making chainmail armor for her horse once upon a time. It was a 18H thoroughbred-arab cross, multiple square meters of mail…

        • #4 by Ed on 2014-12-05 - 14:08

          Watching a printer for a few days weeks seems infinitely moah bettah than splitting & joining steel rings… but your sheet would look a lot more convincing than mine!