Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that fantasy football popularity has web 2.0. Some reporters have been tricked into thinking America’s new-found pastime is now more valuable than the NFL itself. Anyway, one of the game’s traditions is a physical trophy that gets awarded to the league champion. It’s actually become a pretty big business. So of course, when I became commissioner for a league of mine, I looked at the possibility of making a 3D printed fantasy football trophy! I figured I could make something cheaper, more fun, and more displayable than the trophies I’d seen for sale online.
What I ultimately decided to do was create two trophies. One would be larger and awarded to the league champion, while the other would be slightly less impressive and go to the individual that accrued the most side-game wins (most scored points during the week, highest scoring individual, etc.) during the season. I looked around to see if anyone had already created a fantasy trophy stl I liked, but all I found was this unfaithful duplicate of the Lombardi trophy.
Knowing that I was going to have to make something myself, I fired up SolidWorks. I won’t go into all of the modeling details since SolidWorks isn’t well-suited for these sorts of “organic” shapes; I had to use a couple of ridiculous tricks, and spent way longer than I should have figuring out the best way to duplicate a Vince Lombardi trophy.
I started off by making the football. I wanted it to have the little “bumps” on the ends, so I made a profile. Next, I revolved it it to make an eighth of the ball, then did some mirroring.
Since the surfaces intersected, I needed to trim away the interior sections and knit together what was remaining to created a single solid model. I added another fillet where the pieces joined, although that’s not included in the picture below.
The “cup” trophy was designed to not need overhangs or supports. Because of this, I used MakerBot Desktop to do the slicing and code generation. I then printed the cup in ABS at a layer height of 0.20 mm with 16% infill. The extruder and build-plate temperatures were set to 230°C and 110°C, respectively. I forgot to take pictures prior to painting, but there were a couple of slicing errors that should have been avoided. You can still see the most noticeable error in the pictures below. The cup printed with a seam line due to the gcode starting and stopping each layer’s outer shell in the same location. My printer also struggled to print the bottom of the cup smoothly. This was expected since the “overhang angle” for the first centimeter or so was far below 45°. This trophy printed flawlessly in about 4 hours.
While the “cup” trophy printed without headache, the champion’s trophy was different story. I started off trying to print it with the same settings previously mentioned. My original model was assembled such that when it was automatically oriented “flat” on the build-plate, the base was elevated a couple of centimeters. This wasn’t ideal from a support-materials or time standpoint, but I went ahead and started the print.
What that picture doesn’t show, though, is that the embossed text on the front of the base didn’t print very well. The ‘A’ in ABIDE (the name of the league) didn’t fill in correctly, and the word ‘Champions’ at the bottom pretty much completely failed. Taking another look at my model, I realized that ‘Champions’ was constructed in such a way that its embossed height was taller than the letters’ line thickness. Even if it had printed correctly, it would almost certainly look strange.
My next version was assembled such that it contacted the build plate both at the top of the football and at the base. Additionally, the centerline of the base’s front was made parallel to the build plate. The intent was to improve the the base’s appearance, and reduce the visibility of its 0.2 mm thick slices. I threw out the ‘Champions’ text completely, and embossed the text differently so that each of the letters would protrude off of the base the same height at the base’s surface centerline.
As it turned out, reorienting the base so it was was parallel to the build plate created its own problems. 7 hours into the print, I watched the printer start the first layer of the base’s outer shell. The extruder noticeably sped up as it whipped back and forth to cover the infill. It moved so quickly that it shook the printer! Eventually, the shaking became violent enough so break the print’s adhesion to the print-bed. 15 seconds later the trophy completely detached and shook off of the build plate. Catastrophe.
I stupidly printed the same model a second time in the hopes that the failure had been an anomaly. It wasn’t. The print failed at the exact same place the second time, too. It was obviously the gCode. I then decided it was time to dive into Slic3r. I won’t go into that here, but I still hadn’t produced a worthwhile trophy by the time I needed to be finishing the project, so I resorted to finishing my first draft.
This was my first time attempting to finish prints this large, and I didn’t want to spend the time hand painting them with acrylic, so I headed to the store and picked up some spray paint. I went with Krylon (are there even any other manufacturers that make spray paint??) ColorMaster primer, metallic silver, and triple-thick crystal clear glaze.
I should’ve taken pictures at each stage, but I first manually cleaned up the trophies with sandpaper and an x-acto knife. Once I was happy with the surfaces, I sprayed them with a single coat of primer, three coats of silver, and then two coats of the clear glaze. I was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out. The only thing I would have done differently is that I should have used acrylic and a brush to get some grey coloring between the base “blades” on the smaller trophy. If you look intently enough, you can still see exposed green plastic. Finally, I cut and glued black felt to the bases.