Project Spotlight: Mutant Heroes explore 3D printed joints and hack action figures

3D printing is moving in some intriguing directions, like medicine, which could lead to 3D printed organs and prosthetics. We found a group you is spreading the word of the applications of 3D printing through an unlikely and awesome device, hacking action figures.

Nicolai hacking action figures

That’s right. Nicolai Hertle and his class at Fab Lab Berlin take superheroes and cartoon characters and create, new articulating joints, parts, and accessories until participants have a toy that is truly unique. On the way, they use Digital Fabrication Tools and learn a lot about joint articulation, tolerances in desktop 3D printing, and CAD modeling techniques. That sounds like a pretty hands-on and engaging way to get people excited about CAD and innovative manufacturing techniques.

Recently, the Mutant Heroes team were featured by Kobakant and in 2014 will go on tour with the MaketechX Lab. MaketechX Lab is basically a Fab Lab on wheels and contains all the tools that they’ll need for ‘Action Figure Hacking’ out in the streets.

Mutant Heroes and Fab Lab Berlin

Pictures via Fab Lab Berlin

I asked Nicolai why he chose our platform to share his work.

GrabCAD gives me the opportunity to share the output of my work worldwide. I hope that others download my hacks, print and modify, and upload them again. This would turn a lot of finished action figures into brilliant toys.- Nicolai Hertle, Fab Lab Berlin

Heman Hack on GrabCAD by Mutant Heroes

What tools does Nicolai use in his work? Rhino and Sculptris to create models.

For the handcraft that is involved in Action Figure Hacking, he suggests basic sculptor tools. Keep a Dremel and SuperSculpey Clay within reach. Read more about Fab Lab Berlin and the amazing work they’re encouraging in the community.