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[QUESTION] 3D printed Phase I Purge Trooper Commander Armor

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Hello! I've recently acquired a Bambulab X1C + AMS unit and would love to begin work on a Phase I Purge Trooper Commander armor build. I have some questions before I get started:

- What kind of filament should I use? I read here that ABS is usually good for armor. Is PLA also a viable option?

- What are some recommended filament brands (if any)?

- Are there any 3D files online for the body armor that are 501st approved?

NOTE: I am completely new to costuming and would be very grateful for any advice you guys could give me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for reaching out. I'll start with the files since I know the least about that.

You're essentially looking for realistic style clone trooper armor. When you start searching, you'll find a lot of options, but I would encourage you to stick to vendors that have been used by others to great success. The Galactic Armory makes good clone trooper armor that many people have been approved in. They also have a Purge Trooper helmet that looks good, but I would also encourage you to keep searching in the forum before you settle on anything.

Additionally, I do feel inclined to warn you that 3D printing isn't always the best option when it comes to "full armor" sets. When I say "full armor" I mean an armor set that covers the entirety of your body. I've 3D printed the majority of my costumes, but if it requires thighs, shin, cod and butt armor in addition to an already restrictive abdominal piece, I typically lean towards a vacuum formed kit or fiberglass. Initial thoughts regarding 3D printing is that it'll be cheaper, but when you factor in the price of filament, as well as your additional materials and time, you're really not saving a lot. The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of designers rush their files; that's why you have to really look into getting something that's been tested and confirmed to be an excellent design. Tom Campbell's Deathtrooper is a good example of a well thought out design.

Now, regarding the rest of your question (the stuff I'm an expert on); I always say "friends don't let friends print armor in PLA." PLA/ PLA+ is incredibly easy to print, but is very prone to damage, most notably heat warping. Because of it's propensity to warping in even slightly warmer temperatures, you risk too many issues when using this material. PLA is also prone to melting while sanding. PETG is an alternative that's almost as easy to print as PLA, but is much more resilient.

However, carbon fiber PLA is a good alternative. From my tests in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees f, I've found that it doesn't warp, due to it being made of 25% carbon fiber, it can be sanded smooth, and if your settings are dialed in correctly, it prints near perfect. Please see below for a picture of a chest piece I recently printed in CF PLA:


This was printed using IEMAI filament. It's about $25 per kg or 2 rolls for $40 on Amazon. I have also printed with Overture, which is a superior brand name, but their CF is prone to stringing.

Hope this helps

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