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'Tis but a Scratch

3D Printed Chainmail: 10 Best Models to Create Your Own

Picture of Benjamin Goldschmidt
by Benjamin Goldschmidt
Feb 20, 2020
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3D printed chainmail is an excellent choice for DIY armor! Fire up the furnace (ahem – 3D printer) and read on for our top 10 picks!

3D Printed Chainmail Models

Donning Plastic

This hexagonal 3D printed chainmail is one of many possible patterns using 3D printing
This hexagonal 3D printed chainmail is one of many possible patterns using 3D printing (Source: Poppy Mosbacher via YouTube)

Have you ever wanted to go back to the time of chivalry, mead, and honor? Well, get on your noble steed and ready your sword because it’s possible to 3D print your own chainmail armor!

With all the tiny pieces, it may take some patience to get an awesome sheet of this plastic fabric. Luckily, we’ve saved you some time by compiling a list of some of the best 3D printable chainmail we could find.

While we can’t say that this chainmail will protect you in battle, it does come in a very large variety of shapes and sizes, and some are even equivalent to scale mail! Conveniently, each of these models can be printed on even low-cost 3D printers and should hold up for most cosplay-related activities.

Looking to cover yourself in 3D printed glory but don’t have the means or the materials? Through Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP, a plethora of materials, finishes, and technologies awaits you!

But for now, let’s get to the list!

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

NASA Recreation

This chainmail fabric was inspired by a NASA design to protect astronauts in space
This chainmail fabric was inspired by a NASA design to protect astronauts in space (Source: yankeexray via Thingiverse)

When it comes to 3D printing chainmail, not many would think that NASA finds it useful.

But it does! What we’re talking about is the organization’s space chainmail, which is strong, light, and flexible. This fabric can be 3D printed in metal, and one day it might even be used to protect astronauts and spacecraft from harmful impacts.

Unable to find a printable version, Thingiverse user CMeehanPrint took to Fusion 360 to design his own. The resulting model has been recreated to be printed with standard FDM printers. Regardless of its potential space uses, we think it looks great and would be an awesome addition to a cosplay.

Who made it? CMeehanPrint

Who printed it? This model has been made an impressive 45 times!

Where to get it? Thingiverse

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Quick & Flexible

This quick weave design is based on a pattern for knitting
This quick weave design is based on a pattern for knitting (Source: BenE via Thingiverse)

One of the absolute worst things about making proper chainmail is the time it takes to put all the individual pieces together to get a decently-sized sheet.

This mail is based upon a knitted pattern that can be interlaced one layer at a time, allowing for a significant amount of material to be built up in minutes. Conveniently, this build can be laser-cut from EVA foam as well as printed in flexible filament.

Who made it? BenE

Who printed it? Apart from the creator, it’s hard to say. There are no Makes, but it has been downloaded over 450 times.

Where to get it? Thingiverse

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Modular Mail

Make multicolor chainmail with a single-color printer
Make multicolor chainmail with a single-color printer (Source: flowalistik via MyMiniFactory)

When it comes to 3D printed chainmail, one major advantage this model has is its ability to switch individual links so that multi-color patterns can be obtained even on a single color 3D printer.

Multiple colors can even be chained together to create a unique image. To achieve this, it’s a simple matter of positioning, twisting, and repositioning, as shown in this YouTube video. With that in mind, you should be able to create any pattern you like.

Who made it? flowalistik

Who printed it? Uncertain, but at least 250 MyMiniFactory users have added this design to their collection.

Where to get it? MyMiniFactory

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Soda Tabs

The insert and the finished product
The insert and the finished product (Source: Jeremy Ronderberg via Cults / Scrith via Instructables)

Plastic chainmail is all well and good, but what if you need something a little more, well, metal?

As luck would have it, there is a 3D printable tool attachment to make yourself pop-tab aluminum chainmail. This plastic insert for forming pliers helps keep the bend consistent for the soda can tabs so that your armor will look like it was tailor-made for the king.

Though the insert isn’t used, Instructables user Scrith shows us how to make the soda tab chainmail.

Who made it? Jeremy Ronderberg

Who printed it? While we can’t quite say the chainmail itself is 3D printed, this adapter has been downloaded 6 times.

Where to get it? Cults

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

FlexMesh 2.1

These 3D printed pieces can be easily clicked together to make patterned
These 3D printed pieces can be easily clicked together to make patterned "chainmail" (Source: neobobkrause via Thingiverse)

Let’s say you don’t want to make an entire chainmail set, but you still want to play around with something that looks like chainmail. This FlexMesh 2.1 chainmail set can be made into many different functional shapes, including a bracelet, a ball, and wavy shapes.

Conveniently, this set has individual links that can be switched out, allowing for customization of patterns and colors. The links are each connected by a simple snap-in joint for easy modification.

Who made it? neobobkrause

Who printed it? At least 25 Thingiverse users have made their own versions of FlexMesh.

Where to get it? Thingiverse

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Rectangular Grid

Useful for particular applications
Useful for particular applications (Source: Brendan Fanzone via MyMiniFactory)

This particular type of chainmail is unique in that it becomes very rigid when bent one way and very loose in the other. This can be quite helpful when a covering requires both rigid and soft/flexible pieces made from the same pattern.

The directional nature of stiffness in this model allows for many shapes that may benefit from printing in multiple materials to create a custom look.

Who made it? Brendan Fanzone

Who printed it? Based on the number of downloads, over 140 MyMiniFactory users have enjoyed this design.

Where to get it? MyMiniFactory

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Customizable H-Links

H-link chainmail
Use it for whatever you like! (Sources: GFalgiano via Thingiverse / WRonX via Thingiverse)

This particular type of chainmail works with the Thingiverse customizer. This can be particularly helpful if you don’t have access to your own modeling software but you’d like to tweak a chainmail design anyway.

The creator came up with the H-pattern after viewing other types of 3D printed chainmail. His goal was to reduce the issue of rotating links in his previous chainmail design.

Who made it? Revar

Who printed it? Owing to its customizable nature, this design has been viewed over 25,965 times, and Makes have been posted by 23 individuals.

Where to get it? Thingiverse

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Print-in-Place

The links print tilted to ensure a large sheet can be printed at a time
The links print tilted to ensure a large sheet can be printed at a time (Source: Nicholas R. Robertson via Thingiverse)

One of the limitations of 3D printing chainmail is the inability to print enough in a single piece to make it usable. But this print-in-place chainmail is angled such that a large segment can be printed on a small build plate.

Additionally, the creator claims that he had no overhang sagging, which is a typical issue when printing chainmail with more complex designs.

Who made it? nicholasrrobertson

Who printed it? Together with the designer’s version, this design has two successful Makes.

Where to get it? Thingiverse

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Hexagonal Links

Hexagonal chainmail
This pattern would make a nice decorative cover (Source: LGBU via Cults)

If you’re looking for something different from the other options, you could always try out this chainmail made of hexagonal links.

This design was originally created to demonstrate the possibilities of Autodesk’s CAD tool 123D. For this reason, the creator also offers the original 3D files so that anyone can tweak the chainmail.

Who made it? LGBU

Who printed it? That’s hard to say, but it has been downloaded 45 times and viewed over 900 times.

Where to get it? Cults

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3D Printed Chainmail Models

Spikes

Spiky chainmail is always handy in a real battle
Spiky chainmail is always handy in a real battle (Source: dfyler via Thingiverse)

Who says armor is only for defense? This spiky chainmail will make you look like a war-ravaged orc; nobody will want to mess with you.

A remix of a triangular mesh design, this chainmail features spikes on one side, scales well, and should print easily enough on FDM machines.

Alternatively, the creator suggests it could be used as an animal brush, y’know, if you’ve already slain all your archenemies. Despite its spiky appearance, the chainmail appears to conform well to very irregular surfaces.

Who made it? dfyler

Who printed it? Oooo, spiky! This chainmail model has been downloaded 260 times.

Where to get it? Thingiverse

(Lead image source: Gizmodo)

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License: The text of "3D Printed Chainmail: 10 Best Models to Create Your Own" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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