Featured image of This Magnificent Roman Helmet is Entirely 3D Printed
Romanes Eunt Domus

This Magnificent Roman Helmet is Entirely 3D Printed

Picture of Matthew Mensley
by Matthew Mensley
Apr 17, 2018

Those talented folks at Custom Prototypes have done it again. Their latest project — a 1st Century Roman Helmet that is entirely 3D printed from metal and resin — has earned them the top spot in Advanced Finishing category at the AMUG Conference.

Over the course of a few months, Canadian print studio Custom Prototypes has been working on something rather special. Ahead of the AMUG Conference at the beginning of April, these makers of derring-do have turned their idle hands to fashioning an as-new 1st-Century Roman helmet. And the result is spectacular.

Custom Prototype's award-winning Roman helmet 3D print
Custom Prototype’s award-winning Roman helmet

An adventure in pushing their prowess and finishing abilities with metal 3D printing to the limit, the helmet form provided the team an organic shape that was both challenging and visually interesting.

Utilizing metal 3D printing — on a Renishaw platform, from what we can tell in the video below — the basic skeleton of the helmet took shape. Printed in seven parts, the team used 316 stainless steel as the base material.

Custom Protoypes Roman helmet
The basic “skeleton” of the helmet 3D printed in metal

Post Processing a Masterpiece

Much as we’d like the end results of metal 3D printing to be mirror-finish smooth, the reality is far from it. For the Custom Prototypes team, a huge amount of post processing was required to take the rough 316 steel and get it in parade-worthy condition.

Custom Prototypes Roman helmet
Buffed and sanded using a Dremel, the individual elements begin to look the part

To begin, the raw metal printed parts were polished to a sparkling finish. Only then were they considered ready for the next step: electroplating. Look closely at the images, and you see subtle changes in hue between the different decorative elements of the helmet. That’s because the plating for each is different.

In all Custom Prototypes used a combination of nickel, copper, chrome and 24 carat gold plating to achieve the final lavish look.

Custom Prototypes Roman helmet
With the helmet plated and polished, the SLA-printed jewels are laid out for fitting

Precious Prints

An SLA 3D printer was used for the smaller elements decorating the helmet. These heads and mosaic-like gems were printed in Somos Watershed XC11122 and Somos Evolve resins, undergoing similarly intense post-processing to the metal. Only after a drawn out process of dyeing, painting and polishing do they take on the appearance of precious gemstones.

Custom Prototypes roman helmet
SLA prints finished to look like Jade and other precious stones

Lastly, the crowning achievement is the Mohawk. No Roman helmet would be complete without one. For theirs, Custom Prototypes turned to their own super secret SLA technique to print the piece in one go, with the individual strands hand-dyed to the characteristic red hue.

Custom Prototypes roman helmet
The Mohawk, printed using Custom Prototypes secret SLA technique for supportless strands

Inspired by historical artifacts of the 1st Century Rome, to our untrained historical eye the piece looks like it has been plucked straight out of the past. We love it, and so did the panel at the AMUG Conference in St. Louis at the beginning of April. The project took the first place in the Advanced Finishing category of the conference’s Technical Competition.

You can see more imagery over on Custom Prototypes’ Imgur profile.

Source: Custom Protoypes

License: The text of "This Magnificent Roman Helmet is Entirely 3D Printed" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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