How we 3d printed an Iron Throne!

It was a grey, March evening and we were all gathered for a viewing of the current episode of Game of Thrones. My sister (the only one of us who has read the books) was brainstorming ideas for a Game of Thrones themed family photo. As the ideas progressed, the Rostock Max was brought up and it was suggested “Hey, could you print a throne?”

Isaac looked all around Thingiverse, Cg Terminal and others and finally found a model. Then he opened it, and groaned. It was not at all in form for printing (See his technical stuff below). He envisioned endless hours in front of the computer remaking the model in 3DS Max. The next few weeks were crazy busy, he worked on it when he could. He even tried to put it on ODesk to get some help finishing it. No takers.

TECHNICAL STUFF:
The original throne mesh had an incredibly high polygon count, much too high for 3d printing or even my poor laptop to handle. It was a great quality model, but had far too many individual parts and voids to even think about 3d printing it. Each hilt, guard and blade had to be individually joined then optimized, then each of these had to be joined to a larger basic throne shape in order to reduce the overall complexity. /end TECHNICAL STUFF

All in all he must have spent more than 30 hours tweaking that model. Usually late in the evening after he had spent the day building doodaddoes.com. We were figuring out import requirements, and business school, the new theme, and what merchant gateway to use. Trial and error abounded all around. And the throne was in the middle of it all. I think he started having nightmares about it.

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So we thought we should print it in multiple pieces, partly to make the prints more manageable, but mostly to cut down on the amount of filament we were going to need. To print the seat, we would need to fill in all the space beneath unless we cut the seat off of the base. We finally settled on 10 pieces, quartering the base and building upward. More model tweaking ensued.

TECHNICAL STUFF:
For faster printing speed I went with a 0.6mm nozzle on our e3d v5 hot-end. I used 2 walls which was the least I felt I could do while maintaining the strength necessary to carry a child (which was it’s intent from the start). For almost all of the model I used a 10% infill, only increasing it to 20% for the parts that would become the seat. The size of the throne meant that we could have printed it in only 6 parts, but since lowest 4 parts which formed the base were mostly hollowed out (so that I wasn’t wasting filament filling them) I had to print the top sections of these separately. I had thought that I would put wood blocks to bear weight, but happily the final product was so strong that there was no need. I varied the speed between 30mm/s and 70mm/s depending on the section I was printing and the temp was set to 190º for the entire print.
We used Lybina Black PLA from our webstore and I was very happy with how it performed over the 100+ hours that the project ran. I never had any filament related fails and that was a great relief!
/end TECHNICAL STUFF

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I can honestly say after removing all the support from the swords on the side and front of the throne that a dual head and HIPS or PVA for the support material was the most brilliant thing anyone ever thought up. We do not have a dual head, and I am certain I removed at least half a kilo of filament with pliers and a screwdriver. I never want to do that again!

We decided to give the throne a primer coat of matte black, just to hide the scars from removing the support plastic. Then we dry brushed the edges with gold and silver paint. We felt like crazy proud parents when it was finished. And my nephew is the most adorable Baratheon ever, hands down.

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by Julie

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