Introduction: Mandalorian Costume (Female) With Active Reticle!
As a die hard Star Wars fan and seeing a vast amount of 3D files print, it was time to fabricate a full CUSTOM Female Mandalorian Costume for a special someone. BUT this project was destined to be a little bit more unique and take it to the next level. tyhis is not a particular character - rather an original Mandalorian from the Quilter's Guild and of the Fox Totem. I also was looking for a removable Jet Pack that wasn't available until now.
- Servo Driven Reticle on Demand to Lower, Lock On Target Sighting, Firing Sequence and return to upright home. Arduino Nano #1 Program included...
- Helmet "Breathing Jewel" to show the helmet is in an environment sensing mode.
- Helmet Side LED Sensor on indicator.
- Custom Back Pack Rack with removable Jet Pack, Arduino Nano #2 Powered Rocket Launch Sequence Program Included, Removable Rocket.
- Real Red Fox Fur Highlights
- Powered Gauntlets for added interest.
- Blaster (with LED) and a real leather holster.
NOTE: There are a lot of Instructables (including one published by me) that describe in detail how to get a 3D file to printed form and then prepped and finish painted. I will mention these techniques, but will focus on other areas that enhance these cosplay costumes - namely the electronics, add ons, and fastening methods
The 3D Models are here....
Jet Pack, Reticle & Arduino Files <- My designed files.
Helmet File .... Another Guy's Very Accurate Helmet File
Gauntlet File ....A Reasonable Gauntlet File done well.
Blaster File ... Every Mandalorian Needs a BLASTER !!!
3D PLA Filament (I used Solutech) Approx 5 spools for the entire set up.
3D Files - I purchased the Helmet, Gun and Gauntlet files on CGTrader, but designed the Reticle Arm, Helmet Jewel, Helmet Ear Muffs, Jet Pack, Body Armor, and Shin Guards. You can get them from the links as listed above. These files can get pricey so I looked around and found what I consider to be great value files - accurate and not overly costly. This way you can pick and choose how far you want to go....
1 - Servo Motor 20 kg-cm torque with steel horn for the reticle arm - Here....
5 - 5 mm LEDs - 3 Red, 1 Yellow 1 Green for the reticle. 4 Blue (3mm size) and 2 orange 5 mm size for one gauntlet, and 4 red (3mm) and 1 color auto-changing RGB (5 mm) LED.
16 - 150 Ohm resisters one for each LED if using 5 vdc to power the leds (Arduino) or 10 ohms if using a 3vdc 2032 battery for the arm gauntlets.
2 - Rustoleum Auto Primer (Sandable), 2 - Red, and 1 - Gray Spray Cans.
Valejo Silicone masking paint
1 - Face Shield (Green Tinted)
Strip of WS2812b programmable LEDS for the breathing Jewel and Jet pack.
#14 AWG Copper wire and webbing (To make up links for tieing the armor together.
Step 1: Choose Your 3 D Files to Print
Search the internet for the files for a few days as there are plenty of sources, however, there seems to be less for the female characters in Star Wars - at least Mandalorians. So to save time I just bought the helmet and gauntlets and decided to modify the prints for powering them up and making them a unique character.
After deciding on what files you want, Get printing but to make it easy on you, use full rolls for the large pieces and use the small run off rolls for smaller parts to minimize seams on spool changes and it also helps keep the printers in steady state for temperatures etc. Once my CR-10 is dialed in and running well, I like to keep it running as long as possible without me touching it or allowing it to cool down. I used Solutech PLA at 208 deg C on the 0.6 mm nozzle and a bed temp of 50C. PLA is plenty rigid and unless you leave your prints in a Texas sun for 3 days straight, it is very stable. I use 20 % infill on structural parts and 10% on others like pieces that glue on to another for decoration etc.
Check on various orientations for each print to minimize support materials (save time and money) and to also get the best print quality. I like to run layers in the directions that match the design for maximum strength. if you must seam your prints reference my 2001 - A space odyssey projects where I show how to imbed copper wire across the seams to act as rebar and keep the seam really strong. Basically I use #14 AWG Copper wire cut into 2 - 3" lengths and bent in an "S" shape. I heat them up to red hot with a propane torch (or use a gas stove or heat them on a smooth top, and then I press the "S" across the seam and into the PLA so it is as flush as possible. Keep pushing down as it cools off fast but will continue inward until cold. If you didn't get it all the way flush, use a soldering iron and hold it onto the copper until it heats up and wants to melt inward again.
Step 2: 3D Print and Prep the Prints for Paint
Once printed out, I use a utility knife to cut off any "zits", support material, etc that does not belong on the print. Sometimes I'll use a soldering iron to reform an area that was a bit unsupported and looks a bit rough. After a clean up, then I will use 3M Bondo Spot / Glazing putty to get the seams and rough spots up to the same surface level for sanding.
You may want to use the soldering iron to create battle scars on the armor at this time. Run the tip in a linear direction for scrapes or radially outward from a point for direct hits. You may want to heat up a large roofing nail head and push larger dents into the armor. Use your imagination. This should be a fun step!
Bondo types have variety of harness. The epoxy resin type that you mix up get very hard and will feel a bit tacky on the surface even when fully cured. But once you sand through that tacky layer you will be fine and it sands easily. However, the Glazing or spot putty is fairly soft so when sanding it smooth, take it easy as to not go too far past level.
Once sanded, Spray Rustoleum Auto Primer - the "SANDABLE" type to fill in even more defects. I use gray but it also comes in white and black for a better base coat given the final coat you will put on. If final color is white, then use a white primer as it will take too much paint to cover a black primer. Another option to filling in print lines is to coat the print with resin used for resin printers and let that coating cure in direct sunlight. This works well but watch out for thin prints warping in the sun and the layers may take sever coats to cover bad areas that bondo can fix in one coat.
Step 3: Paint & Fatigue the Finish
The primer makes it easy to spot bad areas that will stick out like a sore thumb if not sanded or corrected for smoothness. Many times to get a great surface, you need to bondo, sand, Prime, sand, re-bondo or glaze, prime, sand and repeat about 3 times to get the surface ready for final paint. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE if you want a very smooth surface (like a metallic) or a very shiny surface like Black. Lighter colors like white, pink, etc. will be a bit more forgiving.
Take your time here it will be worth it down the road.
If you want a battle damaged look where there are gouges and scrapes, now it is the time to buy some Valejo silicone masking paint. It basically is a latex paint you ONLY brush on where you want the FINAL coat of paint to be able to be peeled off. Brush on some of this masking paint around the perimeter of a gouge or scratch - go random around the entire armor set where there are obvious wear points (like edges and corners). Let dry.
Now spray on a metallic paint directly where the scratch or gouge is on the armor. I AVOID SPRAYING THE ENTIRE ARMOR - only where you want the metal to peek through. Reason being is this metallic paint is VERY slippery and the finish paint will adhere very poorly to the metallic. Trust me on this... Only in the areas you want the metal to shine through.
Let fully dry.
NOW brush on more masking paint over the entire gouge or scratch or edge to cover the metallic and the masked off primer. Let dry.
Time for FINAL PAINT of BASE COLOR...
Spray per the directions all of your armor with the Rustoleum final color spray paint. Use the sweeping motions as they describe. LESS IS MORE !!! RESIST the temptation to cover the entire set in one spray coating effort.
Light dusting is all we want here. Let dry for 45 - 60 minutes then come back with another dusting.
Repeat per directions for recoat times until the armor is fully painted.
Not comes the fun part of peeling off the masking paint to reveal the true scratches and battle damage you created. Use a pick or tweezers to get it all out of the scratch grooves etc. You should be excited to really see the armor come to life now. but it doesn't look right does it? Nope... It looks like a new paint job that is all scratched up, but there is no dirt, grime or "used" look to the shiny paint. Time to fatigue or distress the armor.
Distressing Your Paint Scheme -
Easiest way is to use acrylic craft paints in 3 colors - Black, Brown, and a Rust color. I will water down the black and run it all over the item I want to look dirty. I then wipe it off as best as I can, but the paint will stay in the corners and dull down the surface in general. The more you do this the more grimy it will look. Use watered down brown over that in some but not all areas. Randomize this look. I then will take a fine brush and add rust dots (pinhead size) in areas near the metallic scuffed areas to show it is starting to rust or a patina is developing. If you really want to experiment try a very light green in some areas as well.
For the blaster I made the front end to look like it was heat treated and smoked up from the heat. Think of where the dirt will collect and put that grime where it belongs! The holster was made from two belts from Goodwill and some craft leather I had from a previous project but it is available in bulk at craft stores. The rivets are easily found on Amazon or Ebay. Punch the holes with a leather punch and then rivet them together (see Youtube for details).
I used an air brush to distress the gloves using a dusty tan and a black.
Lastly, I made up a stencil for the "Quilter's Guild and for the Fox Symbol for the Totem Animal. Paint was via an airbrush to minimize paint running under the stencil. t make the stencil I printed the image on a large label paper sheet, then cut it out via an Xacto knife.
Step 4: Assemble & Add Electronics
Making the Reticle Functional will require some delicate wiring and programming an Arduino Nano.
First the construction...
Use the 3d digital File for the Modified Reticle... It has a means to have the wires for the LEDS to pass through it.
Purchasing the servo motor indicated has metal gears for durability, strong enough torque to lift the reticle and still function off 5 vdc. It also comes with a metal horn that will fit into the modified reticle arm. Cut a tagboard template to fit around the motor frame so that you can accurately transfer the profile to the helmet. You want to ensure there is a good balance as to how much of the motor is inside the helmet and how much is outside so that you have a comfortable fit and a good exterior appearance.
See the wiring schematic and wire up the system as shown. Fastening the Nano to a circuit board allowed for ease of layout and organization of the components.
** Note: Add a 1000 microfarad capacitor across the LED strip lights to help protect the internal chips from a voltage spike on power up. It is wired directly across the + 5vdc and ground for the entire system. Locate it just after the power on switch from the USB power supply. **
The Arduino program also will help you see what gets connected to the correct output pins. I used a thin layer of foam between the Nano and the helmet wall and used Gaffer / Duct tape to secure it in place. The wiring was also held in place with tape.
For the Gauntlet lights I used a CR3022 type battery and a simple on off pb switch with resistors for each LED. I found that if each resistor is wired to one led you can get uniform control of the brightness of them. LEDs will draw differently by color especially if all on one power bus.
The Jet Pack has a simple LED circuit but a NANO operates the system as follows.... When the PB is switched on, the Addressable LEDs flow through the same color sequence as the Helmet jewel. Then after 20 seconds, the Green LED light flashes a warning that the boosters will fire and the red leds inside the rocket tubes will flash.
Step 5: Afterword ...
The basis for this project was to enhance what was already out there in the marketplace for such Star Wars characters. This creates a unique character and adds features not found elsewhere but certainly add a more dynamic touch to the overall look and feel of the character.
The Arduino files are here for your use. With a little effort you can create something new and different as well. Good Luck and have fun making the character you want in your own Star Wars Universe!
Participated in the