Friday, 13 November 2015

DragonOff 3D Print competition 2015

The #DragonOff printing competition is now over, and we had some amazing entries.

During October 2015 a grand Dragon printing competition raged on Twitter (and G+) it was a great display of invention, skill and 3D Printing ability. The entries in this competition show that desktop 3D printing still has some way to go, and even an object as useful as a dragon... can be tricky to print.

This event did have a serious intention, and that was to share some printing experience and ideas with more people, hopefully inspire and encourage experimentation too. (and have fun! - remember to have fun with 3D Printing it's frustrating enough).

Louise even designed a very special Dragon trophy for the winners.

Quick print I did in Gold PLA to test the new dragon called 'Roark' (meaning champion)

Louise Driggers will be announcing the winners during November, and prizes are being supplied by E3D  and Colorfabb. - Thanks guys.

This blog post attempts to 'catch them all' - Apologies if I missed your entry - leave me a message and I'll add it to the post. Thank you to all who entered, and I hope you enjoy the fantastic display of 3D Printed Dragons.

The images shown below are owned and copyright by the users stated (Any errors, issues or concerns, do let me know).

- In no particular order -


Steve from Gyrobot demonstrated a very nice technique of thermo-forming Filaflex material after printing.

"Crystal Aria" Ice Dragon: Thermoformed Filaflex

With PLA you can use hot water to thermo-form any model after printing (that's also why it's a disaster to put a PLA printed model in the dishwasher!)

Filaflex on the other hand needs a little more heat, so a hot-air gun or blowtorch can be used to achieve different forms.


sphetz | 3D printing - @sphetz 

Sphetz gave us some of the smallest and most complete Aria dragons (apart from a missing head) -

"Success! 10% scale aria, It even still has little legs. ~13mm tall"

 Missing head - but still a good start -

@sphetz was one who managed a 10% Aria, that's impressive for even trying, let alone pulling off a reasonable print.

That's about the limit for Desktop 3D printing - you can still see it's Aria, and that's a 13mm tall print!


I was delighted to see more of the great Home Electroplating models made by Dizingof.

They are straightforward to do, spraying on Zinc paint, dipping in copper sulphate solution - The zinc gets a nano-copper surface allowing normal electro-plating of the part.

3D Print

Spray in Zinc paint with >92% zinc solids

Dip and electroplate

Shine them up, or even plate in other materials after the copper, you could easily make a gold plated Dragon yourself.

* - Technique - Copper plating of 3D Printed parts using the home-electroplate method by Dizingof - *


E3D Online - @E3DOnline

E3D obviously could not resist a few dragons

Small Adalinda - in their new 'Edge' material (available ~Dec 2015).

B&W for extra drama and terror - preparing to fly off and destroy some small village I bet.


Marius Breuer -@MaBreuer -  Made a rather fantastic gear model, using the head of Aria!

Surface quality looks fantastic to me - Marius can certainly slay dragons - decapitation and all.

Marius even finished the print by copper plating the dragon head - Conductive paint and traditional copper electro-plating.

* - Technique - Copper plating of 3D Printed parts - *


John J Link -

Experimented very successfully with light and translucency with his Dragon entry.

And how stunning it turned out.

* - Technique - Good photography of 3D printed parts, honestly it makes such a difference - *


@Indalo3D and Miguel Angel Salmeron

We had some totally stunning entries by Miguel at Indalo3D

The most impressive dragon print for me is not because of quality or size, but because Miguel has used a direct pellet Extruder, similar to the concept prototype I described here -

Using pellets instead of filament 'wire' is a big step towards more materials and lower cost. even if the quality suffers a little, for many parts, especially big prints, this is the future.

Indalo3D had more entries -

Such tiny dragons - Great !


Joerg's Hub - @JTorhoff 

Real wood - that's mighty impressive at that size. Wood filled filaments are tricky to use, especially with tiny models.

Great little dragons.

This was a thermo-chromic (colour change with temperature) print - cooled with spray to produce a mottled Dragon effect - It's temporary and a really nice idea for an active sculpture.

Flexy and with added flames for dramatic images above.


And while we are talking FLAMES ! - 

Batuhan Esirger @SuatBatu

"3D printed Adalinda in red PLA, an awesome design by Loubie. Just added some buthane to it :D " -

We had a spectacular butane powered Adalinda.

This image even made it into Popular Science in Turkey - That's rather cool.


Printed in NinjaFlex - Tricky material for a tall dragon model - well done.


Luke Turner @Enlightx

"My quick attempt at a tiny version for 1.75mm filament for scale !"

Luke was rocking a very small Aria - that's 1.75mm filament.


Corey did a fine Aria at 20% size - on an Ultimaker 2 - those front legs are tricky.


Another good and small 25% Aria - 

"25% scale came out better than expected!First proper print with on my v6 Prusa i3 "


RepRapPro Ltd. Showing that the Fisher 3D Printer is rather spectacular - not only for Dragons.

I also used a Fisher for some of my DragonOff prints. It's a really nice and easy to use machine.


s0up @thereals0up 

S0up gave us a very Big Aria Dragon - Printed on a rather awesome delta printer too.

 540% scale up - that's 702mm tall - wow.

The 3DPrint material was Atomic Gunmetal PLA.


We also had some stunning Jade green prints by Lukas Obermann over on Google+


And a fantastic smile by the great team at 3D Filaprint - What a perfect photo - says it all really :)

Have fun people.


If I missed you off - do let me know - and I'll add you here -


I made a few prints to stimulate the competition and ideas.

My entries included - (I always have far too many dragons in my House).

All of these above were printed out on the RepRapPro Fisher and BCN3D Sigma 3D Printers.
Full size to 25% (25% version has a missing leg)

Tiny wooden dragon - (Material is PolyMaker Polywood - not technically wood, but a really fantastic material to print with).

FilaFlex - The flexible rubber rainbow treasure dragon. (Material is FilaFlex - rainbow colours).

The rainbow dragon was printed with the new Hephestos 2 printer from BQ.

Testing out PVA support material on the Sigma 3D Printer - this is a clumsy dragon trapped in PVA - soon to be dissolved in warm water.

The light blue translucent Glitter Dragon below was printed with Easy ABS from Jo Prusa, It's great stuff, no smell, it makes me like ABS again - and it's very nice for support structure removal too.

Blue glitter sparkling ABS (Material is 'Easy ABS' by Jo Prusa) - Adlindia.

Halloween special - (Material is Glow in the Dark Colorfabb PLA/PHA and E3D PLA Silver) treasure dragon. Printed on Sigma.

Now we wait for Louise to decide who is the Dragon master for 2015...

#DragonOff will return!

Thanks for reading and taking part in the competition - remember to have some 3D Printing fun!

(Bet you are all sick of Dragons now).