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We Made a Life Size Action Figure — With TinkerCad!

Sometimes you have to go big!

The kid was pestering me to print one of those 20 foot tall skeletons for Halloween, which was a little more than I wanted to try. But life-sized?

Sure, why not.

After all, I had a lot, I mean a LOT, of white filament laying about the house. Since I test 3D printers as a freelance reviewer I often receive filament to run on the machines from the manufacturers. But if they send white, I rarely use it — white photographs HORRIBLY so it’s hard to use in reviews.

I gathered all the white filament into one pile. I had at least 10 kilos of white PLA on a number of whole, partially used up, and sample sized spools. There were also 2 spools of white ASA if I got desperate. I started to think I could pull this off.

It also helps that I was testing a large format printer at the time — an Anycubic Kobra 2 Max. This one has a 400x400mm bed plate and could pull off some decent life-sized bones. I also have a Creality K1 Max under review and it’s 300x300mm build plate could handle a few more big prints.M

Meet Skully

Our action figure is Skully, a TinkerCad creation. We first printed him to go with a Halloween catapult — his articulated joints and ability to stand upright was perfect. You can print your own catapult with files I’ve posted on Printables. (It’s really cool!)

toy skeletons launch candy pumpkins with a 3D printed catapult

Skelly is available as parts on TinkerCad — just type skeleton in the search bar and you’ll find him. Except the head — we used a more friendly noggin from Thingiverse here.

How Big Can You Print a Skeleton??

I had two limits — the size of my printers and the amount of filament I had on hand. I pieced together a full Skelly on Cura and scaled him up until he was 6 foot tall. And that would have taken way more filament than I had on hand…about 12 spools worth! But after a little math I figured I could make him about 5 feet tall. And since I’m 5’2″ he’s perfectly life-sized.

The other factor was the printer size. With my biggest printer having a 400×400 build plate, I was limited to about 14 inches for the longest bone if I put it on the diagonal. I wanted to avoid splicing the parts as much as possible.

Still, Skully’s chest is printed in two halves and 3D Glooped together.

Traveling with Skully

Skully traveled 887 miles with us to ERRF — the East Coast RepRap Festival! We had some issues with his knees not bending enough to sit properly, so he had a little hacksaw surgery. But after that he was good to go!